The Journal of Laryngology & Otology

Review Articles

‘Wind turbine syndrome’: fact or fiction?

A Farbouda1 c1, R Crunkhorna2 and A Trinidadea3

a1 Department of ENT Head and Neck Surgery, Glan Clwyd Hospital, Rhyl, Wales, UK

a2 Department of Neurosurgery, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, England, UK

a3 Department of ENT Head and Neck Surgery, James Paget Hospital, Great Yarmouth, England, UK

Abstract

Objective: Symptoms, including tinnitus, ear pain and vertigo, have been reported following exposure to wind turbine noise. This review addresses the effects of infrasound and low frequency noise and questions the existence of ‘wind turbine syndrome’.

Design: This review is based on a search for articles published within the last 10 years, conducted using the PubMed database and Google Scholar search engine, which included in their title or abstract the terms ‘wind turbine’, ‘infrasound’ or ‘low frequency noise’.

Results: There is evidence that infrasound has a physiological effect on the ear. Until this effect is fully understood, it is impossible to conclude that wind turbine noise does not cause any of the symptoms described. However, many believe that these symptoms are related largely to the stress caused by unwanted noise exposure.

Conclusion: There is some evidence of symptoms in patients exposed to wind turbine noise. The effects of infrasound require further investigation.

(Accepted November 05 2012)

(Online publication January 22 2013)

Key words

  • Noise;
  • Wind;
  • Auditory Perception;
  • Auditory Threshold

Correspondence

c1 Address for correspondence: Mr Amir Farboud, Department of ENT Head and Neck Surgery, Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan,Rhyl LL18 5UJ, Wales, UK Fax: +44 (0)1745 583 910 E-mail: amirfarboud@doctors.net.uk

Footnotes

  Mr A Farboud takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper

Competing interests: None declared