DISCOVERY

Wind turbines: Friend or foe?
It’sadebateheardaroundtheglobe:Dothebenefitsofwindturbinesoutweighthenegatives? Hereisalookatthesciencebehindclaimsthattheconstantnoisecanimpacthealth.
Outer ear
Infrasound is sound at low frequency (20 Hz or less) that are not perceptible to the human ear.

A quiet nuisance
While infrasounds are not consciously perceived, your ear is still picking up the vibrations. According to recent studies, infrasound and vibration emitted by wind turbines could cause some disruption in the inner ear.

Middle ear
semi circular canals

Inner ear
nerves

3
ear canal

4
cochlea

2

1
Turbine blades usually range from 20-40 metres long (the length of 1-2 semi tractor trailors). The speed of rotation is about 19 rpm. Ear canal: Sound waves are collected by the outer ear and are funnelled through ough the ear canal to the eardrum.

ear drum

4,008 3,319

4,155

“Wind Turbine syndrome”
People living within 2 km of industrial wind turbines may be plagued by symptoms such as:

Sound waves cause the eardrum to vibrate. The bones in the middle ear transmit the vibrations to the inner ear.

Fluid in the inner ear stimulates nerve endings called hair cells.

Electrical impulses are sent from the hair cells along the nerves to the brain.

Installed wind capacity in Canada (MW)
444 236 322 137 198
SOURCES: IDÉ; CANADIAN WIND AND ENERGY ASSOCIATION

2,369 1,846 1,460 684

Tinnitus

Stress

Dizzine Dizziness

Fatigue

(ringing in the ears) e

Migraines s

Irritability

Trouble with

memory
Drop in motivation levels
SUSAN BATSFORD, GRAPHICS EDITOR/QMI AGENCY

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Twitter: @sbats1

Attention deficit

Sleep disorders

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