Low frequency noise conditions to be replicated for first major study on windfarms and sleep

Windfarm FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Associate Professor Peter Catcheside will examine whether the low frequency noises generated by wind farms affect sleep. Photo: Dan at Freedigitalphotos.net

Flinders University’s Associate Professor Peter Catcheside and a team of specialist researchers will replicate the low frequency noise conditions generated by wind farms in a sleep lab for the first major study of its kind on wind farms and sleep.

The five-year project, funded by the NHMRC, brings together a team of leading experts in acoustic engineering, psychology, insomnia, and physiology directly relevant to the impact of noise on sleep.

“Sleep disturbance characteristics of wind farm noise compared to other noises already known to disturb sleep have yet to be systematically studied,” said Associate Professor Catcheside.

“Windfarm noise sound energy is mostly at low frequencies, where usual dBA weightings to average hearing, and used in existing guidelines, fail to account for variable low frequency hearing acuity.

“Objective sleep, noise and other measurements will be made in individuals with and without prior windfarm noise exposure, both in field studies, and in tightly controlled laboratory experiments using specialised noise generation equipment to faithfully reproduce and vary windfarm and other noise intensities and noise characteristics.”

Associate Professor Peter Catcheside is one of Australia’s leading respiratory and sleep physiologists, with almost 20 years’ experience in the area.

He is currently an ARC Future Fellow, and heads respiratory and sleep physiology research at the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health: A Flinders Centre of Research Excellence.

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