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Royal Society Shows Wind Turbines Cause Hearing Loss in New Study

Written by Camilla Turner, telegraph.co.uk

Living close to wind farms may lead to severe hearing damage or even deafness, according to new research which warns of the possible danger posed by low frequency noise. windfarm sunset

The physical composition of inner ear was “drastically” altered following exposure to low frequency noise, like that emitted by wind turbines, a study has found.

The research will delight critics of wind farms, who have long complained of their detrimental effects on the health of those who live nearby.

Published today by the Royal Society in their new journal Open Science, the research was carried out by a team of scientists from the University of Munich.

It relies on a study of 21 healthy men and women aged between 18 and 28 years. After being exposed to low frequency sound, scientists detected changes in the type of sound being emitted from the inner ear of 17 out of the 21 participants.

The changes were detected in a part of the ear called the cochlear, a spiral shaped cavity which essential for hearing and balance.

“We explored a very curious phenomenon of the human ear: the faint sounds which a healthy human ear constantly emits,” said Dr Marcus Drexl, one of the authors of the report.

“These are like a very faint constant whistling that comes out of your ear as a by-product of the hearing process. We used these as an indication of how processes in the inner ear change.”

Dr Drexl and his team measured these naturally emitted sounds before and after exposure to 90 seconds of low frequency sound.

“Usually the sound emitted from the ear stays at the same frequency,” he said. “But the interesting thing was that after exposure, these sounds changed very drastically.

“They started to oscillate slowly over a couple of minutes. This can be interpreted as a change of the mechanisms in the inner ear, produced by the low frequency sounds.

“This could be a first indication that damage might be done to the inner ear.

“We don’t know what happens if you are exposed for longer periods of time, [for example] if you live next to a wind turbine and listen to these sounds for months of years.”

Wind turbines emit a spectrum of frequencies of noise, which include the low frequency that was used in the research, Dr Drexl explained.

He said the study “might help to explain some of the symptoms that people who live near wind turbines report, such as sleep disturbance, hearing problems and high blood pressure”.

Dr Drexl explained how the low frequency noise is not perceived as being “intense or disturbing” simply because most of the time humans cannot hear it.

“The lower the frequency the you less you can hear it, and if it is very low you can’t hear it at all.

“People think if you can’t hear it then it is not a problem. But it is entering your inner ear even though it is not entering your consciousness.”

Earlier this week it was reported that bats were being lured to their deaths at wind farms because they think turbines are trees in which they can find shelter, food and sex.

Read more at www.telegraph.co.uk

PSI Editor’s Note:

There are concerns that the Telegraph misrepresents and exaggerates the findings of the study as the doses of sound energy used in this study were much higher than the levels of sound energy at 30 Hz which are reportedly being measured at wind developments.   It does however, establish the existence of the physiological mechanism in humans, and also a method of measuring the physiological impacts which could be used in the field.   There is a much better media report with some good quotes from other leading experts in the field internationally, which is here:  http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2014/09/sounds-you-cant-hear-can-still-hurt-your-ears 

(Hat tip: Christine Metcalfe)

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Comments (4)

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    @David Daly……..If you can still hear, then your hearing has not been damaged and you can leave the trees in place. When you are no longer able to hear the wind blowing through the trees….well….I guess it won’t matter whether or not the trees stay.

  • Avatar

    David Daly


    Outside my house there are a number of tall trees,when the wind blows they make a great deal of noise,should I have them chopped down?

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    Kenneth Simmons


    It sounds like the wind turbines are like houses of ill repute for the bats.

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    D o u g 


    Interesting information indeed, and just another adverse problem and cost associated with the greatest hoax of all time.

    To all lukes and warmists I say:

    The fact that planetary surface temperatures are higher than the radiating temperature of any planet with a significant atmosphere is entirely due to the gravito-thermal effect first explained by the brilliant 19th century physicist, Josef Loschmidt, and never correctly refuted, not even by Robert Brown of WUWT fame.

    There is no further warming needed. In fact, the gravitationally induced temperature gradient over-shoots the mark and mean temperatures are around 300K in dry regions. Fortunately in the more moist regions water vapour and any radiating molecules in any planetary troposphere reduce the gradient because of various radiation processes, and so we have cooler temperatures.

    But the IPCC would have you believe that water vapour does most of “33 degrees of warming” and this is absolute nonsense, not born out by any temperature data. Even the 33 degrees is grossly underestimated because only a mean of 161W/m^2 of solar radiation reaches the surface.

    What would the sensitivity be to each 1% rise in water vapour? Rain forests with 4% would be rather hot, and dry deserts at least 30 degrees colder perhaps.

    It’s all so ludicrous that I’m astonished at the lack of due diligence by those who lapped up the hoax. Of course the conjecture doesn’t work at all on other planets, but even that doesn’t seem to worry you all. To put it frankly, you have been brainwashed and one day you will be very red-faced. Radiation is not the primary determinant of planetary surface temperatures.

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