A Free-Market Energy Blog

Wind Noise: A Continuing Issue (night amplification)

By Sherri Lange -- September 13, 2021



Australia has commissioned a five-year study of the effect of noise from industrial wind turbines on the local residents. The rare investigation can only be bad news for the PR-propped industry, given the image of turbines being noiseless and in a field of green (mute and photoshopping at work).

In RENEW ECONOMY, Sophie Vorrath reported the latest:

New federally funded research investigating the association of wind farm noise with adverse effects on humans has found that the “swoosh” sound made by spinning turbine blades was likely to be more noticeable – and more annoying – to nearby residents during the night than during the day.

The research, led by Flinders University PhD candidate Duc Phuc Nguyen and acoustic expert Dr Kristy Hansen, has combined long-term monitoring of wind farm noise with machine learning to quantify and characterize the noise produced by wind turbines.

The resulting two new publications mark the latest findings in the five-year Wind Farm Noise study that was funded by the federal government’s National Health and Medical Research Council, with funding also supplied through Australian Research Council grants.

One of the study co-authors made this analogy (quoted by Vorrath):

So like if you’re in a hotel, a very cheap hotel, and there’s a noisy refrigerator in there and it’s humming and then not only is that noise annoying because it’s a hum, but then imagine if someone starts switching it on and off every second.


 Dr. Christopher Hanning, a now-retired Consultant in Sleep Disorders Medicine to the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, writes:

In the short term … deprivation of sleep results in daytime fatigue and sleepiness, poor concentration and memory function. Accident risks increase. In the longer term, sleep deprivation is linked to depression, weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

I do not pretend to be an expert in the effects of noise, but I do know that in over 30 years as a GP I have seen countless patients presenting with the effects of insomnia, and shift workers in particular suffer far more than the general population with the effects of disturbed sleep. What I find astonishing is that the noise regulations for the wind industry permit MORE noise to be generated by the turbines at night than during the day. This is completely contrary to noise pollution legislation, World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines – and common sense. [1]

It is well known and accepted worldwide that residents near wind turbines face special challenges, not the least being loss of restorative sleep. Master Resource has reported on the work of acoustician Steven Cooper, already known as an expert in “amplitude modulation,” or as he calls it, “modulation of the amplitude” (here). 

Cooper’s precision reflects his insight that sensitive people can identify inaudible “noise” as a sensation. In his words:

My work has questioned/examined what our general acoustic analysis provides and the errors in such analysis; threshold of hearing and threshold of sensation; the challenges in creating that sound; subjective assessment of mono vs. stereo; and the infrasound sound of wind turbines versus the pulsation of the wind turbine sound that is occurring at an infrasound rate.

I have also done a case study that showed sensitive people can identify the presence of an inaudible wind turbine noise,  putting the Kelley Mod-1 work (in the 1908s) with the work on fluctuation from Zwicker and Fastl, clarifying the incorrect use of Amplitude Modulation in relation to wind turbine noise, and with the assistance of a psychologist in a single case study, showing the response of the inaudible pulsating wind turbine noise was centered in the frontal lobes of the brain.

Growing Evidence ….

The recent Flinders University study on “swoosh” and “amplitude modulation,” Long-term quantification and characterisation of wind farm noise amplitude modulation,” confirms the work of Cooper and also the reports and work of highly respected Dr. Nina Pierpont. She is a front runner to explore personal accounts of loss of health and amenity from proximity to wind turbines in her book: Wind Turbine Syndrome. A Report on A Natural Experiment. The attempts to discredit Dr Pierpont are epic, and recorded in several countries.  The international pushback, such as from Senator John Madigan of AU…mirrors a heroic story, a voyage to protect people from obvious harm.

Please see this video of about 20 minutes from Dr. Pierpont’s webpages: the story of the Shineldecker family of Michigan. Unforgettable, tragic. Home life “pulverized” according to the editor of the website. (The video describes the violations of land and social contract responsibility: Mr. Shineldecker at about 16 minutes describes his family’s loss of health and amenity.)

 “In the video, Mr. Shineldecker (an engineer) painstakingly and courteously explains to the wind developer, an outfit named Consumers Energy, how it systematically violated and ultimately pulverized his family’s home and life.”

This anecdotal report, and sadly, so many more, thousands more, can be seen as deeply relevant to the Flinders University findings. Indeed, the findings of the impacts, increased nighttime impacts of even ONE audible component, the “swoosh,” and felt up to FIVE TIMES more often than daytime, AM (Amplitude Modulation), confirms again that the impacts are not in victims’ heads. See our previous post here.

See also the testimony of Dr. Sandy Reider, speaking to the VT Public Service Board, 2014.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not being paid for involvement in this issue, nor did I seek this out; rather, it found me by way of a patient I had known well for several years, and who, in late 2011, suddenly developed severe insomnia, anxiety, headaches, ringing ears, difficulty concentrating, and frequent nausea, seemingly out of the blue. This puzzled us both for a few months before we finally came to understand that he suffered from what was, then, a relatively new clinical entity known as “wind turbine syndrome”, related in his particular case to the comparatively small NPS 100 KW turbine that began generating power atop Burke Mountain in the fall of 2011.

In the course of the 2012 legislative session, I described this patient in detail in testimony for the Senate Natural Resources and Health Care Committees, as well as the Governor’s Siting Commission. Since his symptoms were so typical and similar to those described by thousands of other individuals living too close to large wind turbines all over the globe, I have attached my testimony for the Senate Health Care Committee and encourage you to review it for its very characteristic description of what it is that this board, I trust, hopes to mitigate by recommending more protective sound standards for these industrial wind installations.


Adding the night hours when wind is most active, including the SWOOSH together with vibration, infrasound and low frequency noise, various grinding of gears, whining, and whirring, depending on speed of wind, direction, landscape and so on, and you may get an unforgettable night of despair.

As F. Scott Fitzgerald noted: “The worst thing in the world is to sleep and not to.”


Appendix: Long-term quantification and characterisation of wind farm noise amplitude modulation. 

Flinders University

With wind generation one of the fastest-growing renewable energy sectors in the world, Flinders University experts are using machine learning and other signal processing techniques to characterise annoying noise features from wind farms.

Two new publications from the ongoing Wind Farm Noise Study take another step towards improving wind turbine noise assessment methods, guidelines and wind turbine design to make wind energy more acceptable to surrounding communities.

The new studies find that night-time ‘swoosh’ sound — technical (sic) referred to as ‘amplitude modulation’ (AM) — from wind turbines is likely to be heard by neighbouring residents up to five times more often than during day-light hours, depending on wind direction, season and wind farm distance.

For the first time, the research led by Flinders University PhD candidate Duc Phuc (‘Phuc’) Nguyen and acoustic expert Dr Kristy Hansen has combined long-term monitoring of wind farm noise with machine learning and available knowledge to quantify and characterise AM in wind turbine noise.

“We found that the amount of amplitude modulation present during the daytime versus night-time varies substantially occurring two to five times more often during the night-time compared to the daytime,” says Mr Nguyen.

“The noise seems to worsen after sunset when amplitude modulation can be detected for up to 60% of the night-time at distances around 1 km from a wind farm.

“At greater than 3 km, amplitude modulation also occurs for up to 30% of the night-time.”

The Wind Farm Noise Study, based at the Adelaide Institute for Sleep health at Flinders University, is investigating noise characteristics and sleep disturbances at residences located near wind farms. The association between wind turbine noise and adverse effects on humans is an ongoing debate.

Dr Hansen says the directional nature of wind turbine noise means residents living in downwind and crosswind conditions are likely to be more disturbed by wind turbines.

“We found that AM occurs most often during these wind directions,” she says. “Using these recent advances in machine learning, we have been able to develop an AM detection method that has a predictive power close to the practical limit set by a human listener.”

“This includes the noise that increases and decreases as the blades rotate, or AM, including a ‘swoosh’ sound, which further contributes to the negative effects of wind turbine noise.

“These studies advance our ability to measure and monitor the noise from wind turbines that is likely to be more annoying that other noise types at the same level.”

Journal References:

  1. Phuc D. Nguyen, Kristy L. Hansen, Bastien Lechat, Peter Catcheside, Branko Zajamsek, Colin H. Hansen. Benchmark characterisation and automated detection of wind farm noise amplitude modulationApplied Acoustics, 2021; 183: 108286 DOI: 10.1016/j.apacoust.2021.108286
  2. Phuc D. Nguyen, Kristy L. Hansen, Peter Catcheside, Colin H. Hansen, Branko Zajamsek. Long-term quantification and characterisation of wind farm noise amplitude modulationMeasurement, 2021; 182: 109678 DOI: 10.1016/j.measurement.2021.109678


  1. Richard Greene  

    Another in a series of excellent articles on windmills from Sherri Lange:

    As an audiophile since 1965, I can add some knowledge about sound in general:

    A minority of audiophiles have adverse physical effects from infrasound, far from 100%

    But of course any noise can be annoying when you are in a quiet bedroom trying to sleep.

    As audiophiles know, hearing is better in a dark room with no visual input.

    A sound ordinance using A-Weighting (for the the sound pressure level meter) will roll off the bass frequencies below 500Hz. because they are believed to be less dangerous for hearing damage. Infrasouns SPLs are sharply reduced with A-Weighting.

    Due to bass resonances between opposing walls, some bass frequencies can be louder inside a room than outside of the house.

    Sources of infrasound outdoors, such as road traffic and planes flying overhead during the day, partially mask infrasound from windmills.

    Windmills kill birds and bats, annoy and sometimes cause medical problems, and are they are intermittent, unreliable sources of power for an electric grid, where reliability is the primary goal.

    Windmills are total losers, as Donald Trump might say !


  2. Michael Spencley  

    This is a very important new finding; that IWT noise (particularly the “shoosh” component) can be felt up to FIVE TIMES more often at night than daytime, (AM Amplitude Modulation). This begs the question of revisiting and adjusting the allowable safety threshold and that it should be measured at night in order to capture a true worst-case scenario. The co-authors’ analogy of the hotel fridge to depict the suffering of local residents is most apt!

    This new long-term study should be used to develop new standards for existing IWT’s and form the basis for establishing an appropriate safety threshold for any new projects.

    Thanks to author S. Lange for covering this important development and to MasterResource for staying on top of this IWT file.


  3. Ruby Mekker  

    ALL parties of the Ontario government knew this but it is now confirmed by the Australian government which has documented, scientific, irrefutable proof of night time noise of industrial wind turbines, “the findings of the impacts, increased nighttime impacts of even ONE audible component, the “swoosh,” and felt up to FIVE TIMES more often than daytime, AM (Amplitude Modulation), confirms again that the impacts are not in victims’ heads.” “the findings of the impacts, increased nighttime impacts of even ONE audible component, the “swoosh,” and felt up to FIVE TIMES more often than daytime,” When will the Ontario government recognize and address the harm. Terminate ALL industrial wind turbines.
    “On the plus side, it seems like there might be some fairly straight-forward ways for developers to address the problem of these annoying swooshy noises. Making sure nearby households are more than 3km away from any one wind turbine is just one obvious – and already routinely implemented – solution.” NOT IN ONTARIO


  4. Alan Isselhard  

    Thanks Sherri Lang and Master Resources for this important technical information regarding wind turbine sound issues that should have been investigated or revealed long ago. These new issues should be part of the specificaltions wind factories must meet prior to building permits being issued.


  5. Sherri Lange  

    Replying first to Richard Greene. Thank you so much for your comments!

    Infrasound and low frequency noise, are impacting persons, even if they are unaware of it, and can impact health down the line, years later as an accumulation. These ILFN frequencies can travel through very dense materials, six foot walls, for example, and as you note, are felt more inside than outside homes. That is often why folks need to sequester inside basements, or outside in tents to sleep. And the distance that ILFN travels is extensive, as noted in a recent Finnish study, not attenuating until 20 km! Similarly, this new study on modulation of the amplitude, shows that impacts are serious up to 3 km. I can’t honestly imagine being inside a “factory” zone of wind turbines. Some as you note, Richard, have acute sensitivities to noise, and sub acoustic impacts. Even the fraudulent Health Canada so called, Study, reported that a NON TRIVIAL number of persons were impacted.

    I love that you comment on the variability of the wind, and the complete uselessness of this so called technology.

    Thanks again, Mr. Greene. Always good to hear your views.


  6. Sherri Lange  

    Michael Spencley, thanks for responding and commenting!

    It is easy to see from this report and multi year study, that a good deal of effort has gone into analysis of the modulation of the amplitude, and victims of the impacts, never ending really, will certainly understand that the foot note, the understory, back story, is that the study was conducted in order to mitigate harm and annoyance with forthcoming projects.

    That is where the rubber hits the road on this study. If these impacts are five times expected, and impacts felt more than any other comparable sources of “noise,” I personally would expect all projects existing to have to meet more stringent guidelines and distance requirements, immediately, and I would HOPE no more projects would be admitted, approved, without strict admonishment and independent data mining. I would think that no more projects would be allowed, given that this AM (amplitude modulation) is extremely hard to soften, dampen, and hide. It’s the blade pass, and how would you have a wind turbine, without blades passing the shaft at incredibly high speeds, up to 300 MPH. Sounds impossible, n’est ce pas?

    That being said, the importance of this study is also in the bold and fine print. Look at the DISTANCES required before the AM diminishes. Putting that restriction on developers, 3 km outside residences perimeters, well, I can’t think of many that would actually be up and running right now. It’s an ongoing source of angst for developers, that communities continue to demand longer setbacks, and different weighting of sound levels. Ordinances are being created to create zoning that is unfavorable to developers. Some back out, after years of negotiating and finagling.

    Quote from Eric Rosenbloom:

    Quote: Sound experts Rick James and George Kamperman recommend a minimum 1 km (3,280 ft) distance in rural areas. James himself suggests that 2 km is better between turbines and homes, and Kamperman proposes 2-3 km as a minimum. German consultant Retexo-RISP also has suggested that “buildings, particularly housing, should not be nearer than 2 km to the windfarm”; and that was written when turbines were half the size of today’s models.

    Both the French Academy of Medicine and the U.K. Noise Association recommend a minimum of one mile (or 1.5 km, just under a mile) between giant wind turbines and homes. Trempealeau County in Wisconsin implemented such a setback. National Wind Watch likewise advocates a minimum one-mile setback.

    Dr. Michael Nissenbaum and colleagues surveyed residents near wind turbines in Maine and found significantly worse sleep and mental health among those living 1.4 km or closer than those living farther from the machines.

    Dr. Nina Pierpont, the preeminent expert on “wind turbine syndrome”, recommends 1.25 miles (2 km). That is the minimum the Davises insist on as safe as well. In France, Marjolaine Villey-Migraine concluded that the minimum should be 5 km (3 miles). In June 2010, Ontario’s environment ministry proposed requirements that offshore wind turbines be at least 5 km from the shoreline.” UNQUOTE.

    Please note that Ontario now has a complete moratorium on offshore wind, after activists noted and fought that sub acoustic noise, ILFN, would be impacted up to 20 km or more, bouncing off the jet stream and water, and attenuating very very slowly. That was indeed one of the arguments for human safety in offshore fresh water projects that were being considered. Thanks, Dr Lombardi, for his incredible research on this.

    As the knowledge continues to expand, such as in this AU study, people and communities, and legislators continue to press for additional safety and common sense.

    After all, as Richard Greene notes, they are pretty darn useless. So why would we accept ANY inconvenience, or annoyance?

    Thanks for commenting Michael.


  7. Sherri Lange  

    Thanks, Ruby Mekker, for your comment, which admonishes the Ontario Government for its ethical laxity and incompetence. I am completely WITH You when you ask for the termination of ALL projects, immediately. Industrial wind brings nothing but misery, economic ruin on many levels, degradation of land, water, wildlife, community vibrancy, and human health. Then they call them, “green.” I guess they mean Dollars GREEN.

    World Health delineates between day time and nighttime noise, impacts, and sensibility to these.

    I am happy to see any report that focuses on the harm of nighttime disruption of sleep. As Richard Greene notes, it’s when you MOST expect quiet, that the impacts of annoyance and harm can be noted.

    A noise and sleep deprivation study from Iran (2015) quotes:

    “Solet et al. [29] said that impulsive noise causes more sleep disorder than other types of sound.”

    The study goes on to conclude:

    “The results of this study showed that exposure to the noise generated by wind turbine had a significant effect on general health.”

    For more information about the Shineldecker Family’s (Cary and Karen’s) wind woes, please see this link.


    Thank you, Ruby Mekker.


  8. Sherri Lange  

    Mr. Isselhard, thank you. Having worked alongside you and Suzanne Albright, and others, to develop knowledge about especially offshore wind and especially the potential harm to the world’s largest fresh water reserve, I can honestly say that my respect for you has no limits.

    It does seem that yearly, and more often, we hear of accumulating studies of harm and yes, this adds to the precautionary principle, one would hope, in zoning, council’s restrictions, updating requirements as you note, allowing communities input now on massive wind and solar projects. See the recent OHIO Senate Bill 52. Game changer.

    See the MR post:


    Thank you, Al Isselhard.


  9. Sommer  

    “Australia has commissioned a five-year study of the effect of noise from industrial wind turbines on the local residents.”

    Local residents being harmed are not guinea pigs to be studied for five years.

    Anyone who does not understand this yet has chosen a highly unethical approach to this egregious situation.
    Residents who are being harmed in their own homes by industrial wind turbine noise-both audible and sub audible-are innocent men, women and children who did not consent to being harmed. It’s really quite simple. The turbines need to be turned off NOW.
    Massive class action lawsuits need to be filed on behalf of the people suffering the harm.


  10. sherri lange  

    Thanks Pauli Sommer

    Absolutely true. As Steven Cooper pointed out, it is WE who should be demanding of developers that they prove there will be no harm. The cart is before the horse.

    For the stage we are now in, it seems the courts are the only avenue. And in many places, those are non starters, because court officers are appointed by the governments of the day. What a mess.

    The sad thing is: it is DONE. The turbines are IN, and this is part of the remedy. We fight back in any way we can. And this study was ironically done to “help” the industry….but in fact, it proves the harm even further.

    Thank you so much, Ms. Sommer.

    Quote: I have never encountered a single person who said: “I used to be against wind energy. Now that I have done my homework and learned as much as I can about them, I support wind energy.” Never. Not once. On the contrary, this is a one-way street. Once you learn the facts, you can only be against wind energy — and you can never, ever be won back to the other side.

    — Eric Bibler, Mass.


  11. Sandy  

    Having these monstrosities forced on us against our will and without our consent surely induced our awareness to infrasound and its impacts. It is very helpful to know those dedicated to bringing this fight and keeping it at the surface have not given up.

    Thank you to everyone who still battles the war waged on innocent civilians against their will.

    There is a kind of conundrum effect here that is very difficult to describe, but here goes:

    It is as if your ‘brain’ and audible system is hijacked and held hostage with the WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP and the pulsations that eventually sensitize you to a great state of illness. It becomes virtually impossible to ignore, no matter how hard you try. No really, you can not ignore it, it appears to be physically impossible. It creeps and penetrates thoughts in an increasing manner to the point where that voice in your head says ‘whomp whomp’ in tune with Turbine amplitude modulations – you are unable to withdraw your attention to the intrusive pulsations.

    The longer you are exposed the quicker you are triggered, the more sensitive and dare I say the more agitated you become when that WHOMP WHOMP follows you around unrelenting. You can not escape and a sense of fear and varying levels of panic set in.

    One of the worst phenomenon’s is when it is louder and felt more intensely in your home than being outside. What I refer to the ‘bouncy house effect’.

    I can speak to my experience: there is a psychological and physiological imprint that remains after the IWT environment is removed.

    My chronic exposure to the incredibly powerful infrasonic waves eventually sensitized me to become acutely aware I was being assaulted – I was able to feel the ‘waves’ hit me. The vertigo, the nausea, the pressure and pain, the skin crawling, heart palpitations and distress remains symptoms experiences to lesser exposure even being away from that environment because the biological system is now extremely sensitized.

    I am not sure those injured and adversely impacted will ever recover emotionally or physically.

    Sleeping in public parking lots or the side of a road because you just don’t believe you can take one more moment of torture … thats the life of far too many.



  12. Sherri Lange  

    Sandy, thanks for this amazing cogent and powerful statement. Personal experience. I have honestly never seen such a bang on description.

    I think folks don’t really understand how powerful that whomp, as you call it, is and how it pervades body and mind, even after leaving the “infected” area.

    Can’t thank you enough. I will ask permission to print this on another blog.

    I hope we can write about the “panic,” that you and others describe as a separate feature article.


  13. Sherri Lange  

    Just in a few days ago from Stop These Things:


    Testimony by Mr. Zakula

    QUOTE: Mr Zakula said he first noticed construction on the site, when he saw major earthmoving works taking place in late 2012 but he was frankly surprised by the size of the turbine towers when they were ultimately erected.

    “I was a little surprised at the height of these things. You can be told about them but it’s hard to scale them only when you see them up it’s a bit of a surprise.”

    But Mr Zakula said the impact, as soon as they started spinning in March 2015, was immediate.

    “I heard the roaring sound and the noise being produced by these wind turbines. They were producing a large roar,” he said.

    “After the start up, it was coming into the winter period that they were quite loud. They were louder at night.”

    Asked by counsel for the plaintiffs, Ms Costello, to describe the sound, he used a railway analogy.

    “It was just roaring. It sounded like the arrival of a train, but it never stops arriving. There’s a constant roar,” he said.

    “There’s a regular wooshing noise,” he said, making the sound for the court.

    “It comes from the combined effect of the whole thing and how they interact with each other.

    “It was like an orchestra coming over the horizon… it was just everywhere.

    “It’s at its loudest when it’s coolest. You try to go to sleep, but you can hear this woo, woo, woo. You try to roll on one side, then the other in the hope that it will be better, in the end you just want to run away. It’s extremely difficult to try to get to sleep.” UNQUOTE.

    Please read the entire graphic testimony.


  14. Michael West  


    I suggest that you read the paper called “The Industrial Wind Turbine Seismic Source” to understand the physics behind the very low frequency pulses that are created by IWTs when the blade passes the vertical column. (found at https://csegrecorder.com/articles/view/the-industrial-wind-turbine-seismic-source. Also found on http://www.west-geo.com).

    This is by far the highest amplitude noise event that the IWT creates every second of every day. The measurements of “noise levels” by the Wind Industry and Government cover up this problem by limiting the recorded noise data to a frequency range above 31 Hz. Most of the noise problem lies well below 31 Hz, in the 10 Hz range. These low frequency events are larger at certain points on the ground due to constructive interference from multiple turbines in the area, ground reflections and refraction in the air causing multiple bounces of the reflected waves.

    If your house happens to be in a constructive node when winds are above a given speed or from a particular direction, this can turn your house into a subwoofer with your head in the middle of it. The low freq. pulse events that can trigger a reaction in the ear parts making you nauseous, dizzy and affecting your nerves.

    Long term exposure can make you very nervous, paranoid and sick. This is quite terrible if you spend a lot of time in your house…. working in the home office for example. I can tell you this from experience. You can also encounter high-amplitude nodes when travelling around wind turbine farms and studying the machines. You will definitely know when this happens.

    IWTs need to be re-designed (blade geometry changed) to eliminate the very low frequency pulses. M. West, BC, Canada


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