Annoyance potential of wind turbine noise compared to road traffic noise

Regular paper

Beat Schäffer


Monday 1 june, 2015, 11:00 - 11:20

0.6 Madrid (49)

The production of wind energy becomes ever more important worldwide, so that increasing parts of the population are being exposed to wind turbine noise. There is evidence that wind turbine noise has a high annoyance potential, which might be caused by specific sound characteristics such as amplitude modulation. Compared to road traffic noise, however, knowledge on the annoyance effects of wind turbine noise is still scarce. In this study, the annoyance potentials of wind turbine noise and road traffic noise were therefore investigated and compared. To that aim, listening tests were performed in the laboratory, allowing to control the noise situations and to exclude confounders like visual effects present in field surveys. For the listening tests, specific sound scenarios were generated, either by sound synthesis (wind turbine noise) or by mixing of single pass-by recordings (road traffic noise). The set of sound scenarios allowed for auralisation of variations of three factors potentially influencing annoyance, namely source type (wind turbine, road traffic), sound pressure level, and temporal level variation (no, periodic, and random variation). Subjects were exposed to these different sound scenarios, and their ratings on subjectively perceived annoyance were collected. The factorial design of the experiment allows for separating the individual contributions of the above three factors to the annoyance ratings. Here, the setup of the listening tests, the most important results and possible application in environmental legislation are presented.

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