Monday, July 13, 2015

Can Humans Really Hear the Infrasound Generated by Wind Turbines and Smart Meters?

Do Wind Turbines Really Cause Health Problems?

Even though the American Wind Energy Association has acknowledged the health effects wind turbines can cause, people who claim they can hear sounds generated by wind turbines and smart meters are generally dismissed as crazy, hypochondriacal, or overanxious. A just-released German scientific study now provides proof that humans can hear sounds that were formerly assumed to be outside the range of human hearing. Every person who participated in the study, in which all extraneous noise was removed, was able to perceive the sounds. For some, it wasn’t that they “heard” something acoustically, but that they perceived it in some other way. The scientists also discovered that the perception of these sounds stimulated areas of the brain involved in emotion, which indicates that the brain is perceiving the sound as a potential danger.

The American Wind Energy Association and Canadian Wind Energy Association acknowledge that wind turbine noise may cause health problems [23]. In a hearing before the Wisconsin Public Service Commission the wind association study's co-author testified that infrasound from wind turbines may cause “sleep disturbance, headache, tinnitus, ear pressure, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, visual blurring, tachycardia, irritability, problems with concentration and memory, and panic attack episodes associated with sensations of internal pulsation or quivering when awake or asleep…I am happy to accept these symptoms, as they have been known to me for many years as the symptoms of extreme psychological stress from environmental noise, particularly low frequency noise.” [24]

The German study, reported at Medical Press, found that humans can perceive sounds as low as 8 hertz, an octave lower than previously assumed. Sounds this low are classified as infrasound.

As with the newly discovered lymphatic system in the brain, the German research shows us that long-standing scientific truths are often felled by new research.

Christian Koch, the study’s lead author, will do a follow-up study to try to determine why some people are disturbed by these sounds, while others are not. The project is part of the European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP) and was coordinated by the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB). It involved experts in acoustics experts in biomagnetism (MEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

More Information

“Health effects due to low-frequency components in noise are estimated to be more severe than for community noises in general” - World Health Organization [1] 

Wind turbines generate a broad spectrum of noise including low frequency noise and infrasound which may be audible or inaudible. [2][3], [4],  [5]

It is widely affirmed that exposure to audible low frequency noise can cause adverse health effects in humans. [6], [7], [8], [9]

 Low frequency noise can cause “…immense suffering to those who are unfortunate to be sensitive to low frequency noise and who plead for recognition of their circumstances.” [10]

Literature reviews and peer reviewed scientific articles confirm the symptoms associated with low frequency noise exposure include annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, headaches, difficulty concentrating, irritability, fatigue, dizziness or vertigo, tinnitus, heart ailments anxiety, stitch and beating palpitation. [19], [20], [21].

This information and more can be found at the Society for Wind Vigilance.

Learn more about wind turbines in Michigan and their effects on humans and birds at the SmartMeterEducationNetwork

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