How do audio and visual characteristics of wind turbines contribute to noise annoyance?
* Presenting author
Wind farms often evoke strong annoyance reactions in residents. Literature suggests that both acoustical characteristics and the visibility of wind turbines may contribute to noise annoyance. However, studies on the mutual audio-visual effects on annoyance are still rare. The objective of this study was to investigate the short-term noise annoyance reactions to different wind turbine noise situations in a controlled laboratory experiment. A set of 24 audio-visual rural scenarios containing a single wind turbine was synthesized, i.e., visualized and auralized. Combined with the full factorial design of the experiment, this allowed separating the individual contributions of the following variables to noise annoyance: distance to the wind turbine, periodic amplitude modulation of the sound (with, without) and visual setting (landscape with visible wind turbine, landscape only, grey background). The experiment revealed that both visual and acoustical characteristics strongly affect noise annoyance. In particular, annoyance increased with periodic amplitude modulation and/or when the wind turbine was visible, but decreased when only the landscape was visible. While the acoustical effects could be reliably assessed, the visual effects were less straightforward to reveal, as they are afflicted with carryover effects. The presentation order of audio-visual stimuli may therefore be crucial for study outcomes.