Noise disturbance

– Explaining models for disturbance by wind turbines

Noise from wind turbines is an important environmental factor and people are increasingly disturbed by the noise they emit.

In order to smoothen development, planning and operation of wind turbines, this project intends to identify the main factors of disturbance coming from bigger wind turbines.

  • The actual noise including the sound level and character of the sound.
  • Psychological factors of different kinds that are influencing the perception of disturbance, i.e. sensitivity to noise, perceived presence of wind turbines and perceived individual control. The evaluation is also influenced by the perception of economic gains from having a wind park nearby.

Wind turbine generators

As the technical development of wind turbines proceeded, higher efficiency is reached also by means of higher towers and bigger rotors. Wind turbines are much bigger nowadays than 12-15 years ago.

This has resulted in a higher degree of amplitude modulation, where the noise is described as swishing and buzzing, plus a low-frequent thunk. Apart from this, their larger size makes wind turbines more visible in the landscape.

How do these factors influence human perception?

Ambition of the project

  • Inventory of noise levels from newer wind turbines at different locations and in different terrain.
  • Evaluation of perceived disturbance caused by character of noise and experienced visibility.
  • Evaluation of economic conditions and structure of ownership and their influence on the perception of noise from wind turbines.


  • Noise measurement conducted at silent non-windy locations at 5 to 6 wind parks.
  • Listening tests conducted in a 3rd order ambisonics lab (19 loadspeakers and 4 subwoofers).
  • Dissimilarity ratings to create multidimensional scalings.
  • Emotional response measures
  • Survey sent to individuals living nearby wind parks where noise measurements were performed. Survey includes aspects of economical gain and sound perception.


Penny Bergman

+46 10-516 57 40

Fredrik Öberg

+46 10-516 56 06