Sound Resources

Sound from wind turbines, including low-frequency noise and infrasound, is similar to noise from many other natural and human-made sources. There is no reliable or consistent evidence that proximity to wind farms directly causes health effects.

Wondering how loud a wind turbine is? It’s equivalent to a moderate rainfall.

The Prosperity Wind project would generate a sound level quieter than your window A/C unit and around the same level as your refrigerator. At the recommended setback distances for the project, the sound of the wind turbines will be nearly indistinguishable from the ambient noise of the surrounding environment. 

“At 500 meters (0.3 miles) away, [a wind turbine’s] sound pressure level drops to 38 decibels. In most places, according to Keith Longtin of GE Renewable Energy, background noise ranges from 40 to 45 decibels, meaning that a turbine’s noise would be lost amongst it.”

Read from General Electric about how to categorize the sound from turbines.


Image courtesy of GE:

Does sound from turbines cause health concerns?

The sound of wind turbine blades passing through the air is often described as a “whoosh.” If properly constructed at approved setback distances, the sound does not result in any health concerns. Scientific evidence confirms that this sound is not detrimental and that any low-frequency or infrasound waves produced are not harmful to those nearby.

“While scientifically dubious, the idea that low-frequency noises can do extreme damage to people has been popular for decades. Infrasound—sound that’s commonly (and incorrectly) thought to be below the threshold for human hearing—has often been claimed as a source of annoyance, nausea, sleep loss and anxiety, among many other symptoms. Popular media continues to sell its threatening mystique, despite the existence of a multitude of experiments that have failed to show any harm at these low frequencies.”

Read from the Atlantic about how misconceptions about turbine sound developed.

Want to dig into the research? Go to our Resources page to find over a dozen studies on this topic.