The low frequency noises from turbine blades can be picked up and can trigger a part of the brain linked to emotions, scientists have found
Living near a wind turbine could harm emotional wellbeing after scientists discovered that low frequency sounds generated by rotor blades trigger a part of the brain which senses danger.
Wind farm critics have long complained of the detrimental impact of turbines on their mental health, sleep patterns and physical wellbeing.
But now a study suggests that the brain can register low frequency sounds even below the level of normal human hearing.
Brain scans show that even infrasound as low as 8hz – a whole octave below the traditional cut off point for human hearing – is still being picked up by the primary auditory cortex, the part of the brain which translates sounds into meaning.
And a separate part of the brain, linked to emotions, also lit up when the seemingly ‘inaudible’ noises were played to volunteers in a lab.
Dr Christian Koch of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin said: “The observations showed a reaction in certain parts of the brain which play a role in emotions.
“This means that a human being has a rather diffuse perception, saying that something is there and that this might involve danger.