Effect of Wind Turbine Noise on Workers' Sleep Disorder: A Case Study of Manjil Wind Farm in Northern Iran
Noise from wind turbines is one of the most important factors affecting the health, welfare, and human sleep. This research was carried out to study the effect of wind turbine noise on workers' sleep disorder. For this, Manjil Wind Farm, because of the greater number of staff and turbines than other wind farms in Iran, was chosen as case study. A total number of 53 participants took part in this survey. They were classified into three groups of mechanics, security, and official. In this study, daytime sleepiness data of workers were gathered using Epworth Sleepiness Scales (ESS) was used to determine the level of daytime sleepiness among the workers. The 8-h equivalent sound level (LAeq,8h) was measured to determine the individuals' exposure at each occupational group. Finally, the effect of sound, age, and workers' experience on individuals' sleep disorder was analyzed through multiple regression analysis in the R software. The results showed that there was a positive and significant relationship between age, workers' experience, equivalent sound level, and the level of sleep disorder. When age is constant, sleep disorder will increase by 26% as per each 1 dB increase in equivalent sound level. In situations where equivalent sound level is constant, an increase of 17% in sleep disorder is occurred as per each year of work experience. Because of the difference in sound exposure in different occupational groups. The effect of noise in repairing group was about 6.5 times of official group and also 3.4 times of the security group. Sleep disorder effect caused by wind turbine noise in the security group is almost two times more than the official group. Unlike most studies on wind turbine noise that address the sleep disorder among inhabitants nearby wind farms, this study, for the first time in the world, examines the impact of wind turbine noise on sleep disorder of workers who are more closer to wind turbines and exposed to higher levels of noise. So despite all the good benefits of wind turbines, it can be stated that this technology has health risks for all those exposed to its sound. However, further research is needed to confirm the results of this study.