Long-suffering victims might just get some relief with Gromit’s help


A fair percentage of people stuck next to giant fans end up suffering severe health impacts and annoyance – especially sleep deprivation and all the negatives that come with that over the long haul. We’ve caught some of these totally unnecessary impacts here in our Experience Page, and in our posts.

It’s a problem documented the world over – for a raft of victims’ experiences see this YouTube Channel dedicated to capturing further victim impact statements from sufferers in Ontario.

From the work by Neil Kelley & Co in the 1980s, it was shown that it was the blade passing the tower that caused pressure pulses that generated the impulsive very-low frequency noise that drives neighbours nuts. This severely annoyed some people, but not others.  The combined factors of geography, weather conditions, turbine operating speeds made some locations acoustically toxic – and there were some people who suffered more than others (see our post here).  After that research got picked up last year, Kelley made it clear that the same physics that applied to early model turbines studied applied in equal measure to so-called “modern” turbines, as did the impact on neighbours (see our post here).

Top flight American neuro-physiologists, Professors Alex Salt and Jeffrey Lichtenham have just published a cracking little paper in the Acoustics Today journal called How does wind turbine noise affect people?  In the paper, they talk about Amplitude modulation and how the impulsive, low-frequency noise generated means that using A weighted filters on data recorded from operating wind turbine noise (the basis for all wind farm noise guidelines and limits) is utterly irrelevant and should be dropped outright. They describe how the fluid accumulation condition, endolymphatic hydrops, can be induced by low frequency tones in the ear. They describe how excitation of outer hair cell afferent nerve pathways can occur. They show how wind turbine noise can exacerbate noise-induced hearing loss. They also describe how infrasound (which you can’t hear, but still feel) operates to stimulate the vestibular sense organs.

For a complete copy of the paper click here: Salt & Lichtenhan 2014.

One paragraph in their paper caught our attention:

6. Potential Protective Therapy Against Infrasound
A commonly-used clinical treatment could potentially solve the problem of clinical sensitivity to infrasound. Tympanostomy tubes are small rubber “grommets” placed in a myringotomy (small incision) in the tympanic membrane (eardrum) to keep the perforation open. They are routinely used in children to treat middle ear disease and have been used successfully to treat cases of Ménière’s disease. Placement of tympanostomy tubes is a straightforward office procedure. Although tympanostomy tubes have negligible influence on hearing in speech frequencies, they drastically attenuate sensitivity to low frequency sounds (Voss et al., 2001) by allowing pressure to equilibrate between the ear canal and the middle ear. The effective level of infrasound reaching the inner ear could be reduced by 40 dB or more by this treatment. Tympanostomy tubes are not permanent but typically extrude themselves after a period of months, or can be removed by the physician. No one has ever evaluated whether tympanostomy tubes alleviate the symptoms of those living near wind turbines. From the patient’s perspective, this may be preferable to moving out of their homes or using medical treatments for vertigo, nausea, and/or sleep disturbance. The results of such treatment, whether positive, negative, would likely have considerable scientific influence on the wind turbine noise debate.

That might sound radical, but for those hit with the worst of it – vertigo like symptoms or nausea, say – could offer a way of at least remaining in their homes without felling giddy or needing a bucket within handy reach (see our post here).

And there just might be something in it.

The impact of turbine generated infrasound was explained to us by a young mother living next to AGL’s Hallett 2 wind farm – about 2.8km from the nearest fan. To her the sensation was like a rock concert – not the noise part, but the pulsing pressure the music from the speaker stacks made as the sound pressure hits your chest. There were several young children in the community – some of who were affected – but among those that weren’t were children who – for other reasons – had grommets in their ears. Those with grommets did not complain about the pressure-pulse sensations that troubled those without.

Of course, it’s hardly fair that hard-working rural people are reduced to a life of misery in their very own homes and to be left with an option of using a significant medical intervention to, perhaps, gain some kind of relief. However, even if Gromit did come to the rescue, the long-term impacts of long-term exposure to low-frequency noise and infrasound – with sleep deprivation thrown into the “bargain” still remain – see our post on the work of Dr Mariana Alves-Pereira concluding that long term exposure to low frequency noise causes thickening of tissues in all parts of the body as a natural response to continual vibration (see our post here). The longer the exposure, the worse it gets. The simplest solution is, of course, to simply can the fans.


Can the fans – and let them rest.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. concerned resident says:

    Our son arrived at our house this morning at 8.15am. His greeting to us was ‘HELL, THOSE TURBINES ARE LOUD’.
    I said ‘well they thumped like that all night long’.

    We are all suffering sleep deprivation. We are all grumpy and disoriented as a result. Trying to live 600 metres from turbines is no joke. The incessant noise has continued all day long – it is most unnerving.


  2. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    If grommets can help should they be used? No, why subject people to unnecessary medical/surgical intervention when there is a much simpler way to stop the pain – by stopping the turbines?

    Would they allow an industry to operate next to Parliament House if those working there would need to undergo medical or surgical intervention to be able to function adequately? I very much doubt it.

    How can it even be considered morally worthy to first make people ill then tell them they may be able to be helped with medical intervention on a permanent basis? Surely they deserve the same consideration as anyone else in any other section of the community – after all the WHO and UN believes everyone is entitled to live a healthy life in places of their choosing, so why are those living in rural areas being singled out as having to accept something less than the rest of society?

    Also, I am not a doctor so I do not know at what age grommets can be inserted into children. Would babies have to suffer excruciating pain and possible damaged general health until they can have them inserted?

    If they stopped these things then there would be no problem to solve.

    Questions – what is the cost to Medicare for the doctors visits, and treatments made by IWT sufferers? What would be the increase as the number of turbines increased? Is it a justifiable cost to the Medicare system or is it one which should never have occurred anyway?

    Can it be stopped? Yes by simply shutting the turbines down.
    No grommets – No Medicare bills – NO PAIN.

  3. If there are grommets to be put anywhere, it won’t be in our ears. They will be put in the wind weasel and greentard goons, but not in their ears, but some where more private, where it won’t help their ears at all.

    The AMA are a disgrace – putting forward such a position paper in the absence of research. The weasel goons have known about these health impacts all the time. What a corrupt mob!

  4. Noel Dean says:

    Truly great work by Professors Alex Salt and Jeffery Lichtenham. I shared a poster by Professor Salt in the Senate Inquiry of 2011, that linked turbine sound to the inner ear.

    To be able to get a decrease of 40 db or more will be great. I will be going to my Doctor as soon as the crops are in. This is tremendous news. I still have trouble with balance and pain in back of the head because of sensitivity to sound, even though I have not been living at Waubra for nearly 5 years and have not even been in the area of the Waubra windfarm for 2 years.

    This information confirms the reason why Acciona would not supply the Acoustic report done on our property nearly 5 years ago. The person who picked up the measuring equipment said our health problems may be because of air pressure. This is also supported by the fact that I have had some relief by using air pressure plugs as used in aeroplanes. Further support is also found in the Dean Report, where sonograms were used to reveal the pulsing effect coming from the operation of the turbines (assessed without using filters).

    This a great step forward and confirms what the victims have been complaining about for so long and that is that we are being subjected to a tremendous amount of increased acoustic radiation that has not been assessed. The so called ‘acoustic experts’ that have been advising the developers know full well that A weighting does not measure the sound experienced and that using LA95 instead of LAeq [which is used by the EPA] makes our situation even worse than those who suffer other environmental noise. This is because the LA95 is only to be used for background noise assessment. Our complaints are not about the background noise, they are about the noise introduced by the turbines.

    The work also done by Dr Mariana Alves Pereira is also supporter by what I have observed at Waubra. There is tissue thickening around the face of those that live in the area. It is a stand out feature. It is good that the Doctor has made this conclusion too.

    The vibration coming from the turbines is a real issue and so is the amount of EMR being experienced. I believe that the constructive interference pattern coming from the turbines has been made considerably worse by not having proper earthing in place. Also, the turbines being placed in a row in line with where people live, despite a requirement that this not be done in the siting recommendation of the planning panel. A remedy, like removing the turbines is, I believe, the only solution – as these fools have had 5 years to do the right thing and have failed completely.

    Noel Dean

  5. E Griffiths says:

    Better to carry out surgery on the wind turbines – chop the torture machines down – than surgically stick tubes in our ears. Why should we have to undergo surgery for the wind powered $$$ generators to fill the coffers of the greedy bastards who invest in them … at the expense of ruining the health of people unfortunate to live near the torture machines?

  6. David Mortimer says:

    I’ll be damned if I am going to subject myself to surgery to have grommets inserted in my ears so I can’t “hear” turbine noise. Goodness only knows what other effects the infra and low frequency sound has on us.

    The only true cure is total surgical removal of the turbines.

  7. Ear, Nose and (deep wind) Throat says:

    It would truly be ironical if the acoustic abuse of citizens and communities internationally by wind industry ‘grommets’/WIGS (ie wind spin arseholes/Aus slang) had a medical ‘cure’ by the same name!

    But a surgical grommet placed in an eardrum, no matter how clinically effective, will never heal rural community and social division and destruction as a result of of industrial wind ‘divide and conquer’ subterfuge and deception. Rural neighbour has been pitted against rural neighbour, family relationships stressed or destroyed and legal process, regulatory authorities, susceptible politicians and Energy security has been structurally corrupted.

    The only remedy to the international wind industry pandemic of corruption and deceit is the curative transparency and bright antiseptic light of a Royal Commission.

  8. Old Ranga says:

    Maurice Blackburn et al will be circling soon, if they’re not already preparing class action ads to pull in the Western District sufferers.

    Soon to appear in The Weekly Times, perhaps?

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