Study Objectives: Despite the global expansion of wind farms, effects of wind farm noise (WFN) on sleep remain poorly understood. This protocol details a randomized controlled trial designed to compare the sleep disruption characteristics of WFN versus road traffic noise (RTN).
Methods: This study was a prospective, seven night within-subjects randomized controlled in-laboratory polysomnography-based trial. Four groups of adults were recruited from; <10 km away from a wind farm, including those with, and another group without, noise-related complaints; an urban RTN exposed group; and a group from a quiet rural area. Following an acclimation night, participants were exposed, in random order, to two separate nights with 20-s or 3-min duration WFN and RTN noise samples reproduced at multiple sound pressure levels during established sleep. Four other nights tested for continuous WFN exposure during wake and/ or sleep on sleep outcomes.
Results: The primary analyses will assess changes in electroencephalography (EEG) assessed as micro-arousals (EEG shifts to faster frequencies lasting 3–15 s) and awakenings (>15 s events) from sleep by each noise type with acute (20-s) and more sustained (3-min) noise exposures. Secondary analyses will compare dose–response effects of sound pressure level and noise type on EEG K-complex probabilities and quantitative EEG measures, and cardiovascular activation responses. Group effects, self-reported noise sensitivity, and wake versus sleep noise exposure effects will also be examined.
Conclusions: This study will help to clarify if wind farm noise has different sleep disruption characteristics compared to road traffic noise.
- environment noise
- road traffic
- sleep disruption
- sleep disturbance
- sleep quality
- wind farm
- wind turbine