Can the adage, "To a hammer,
everything looks like a nail" also be applied to medical or other specialists
or at least some of them?
As an example, our Board of Health has received comments that assert that wind turbine noise causes sleep disturbance that can lead to serious mental disorders. Perhaps that hypothesis about wind turbine noise, though unsubstantiated, could be considered as a significant causal factor in that hypothetical opinion, especially if one were to look at it in isolation without considering any of the other possibilities. That is to focus only on those in ones particular medical or other professional field of specialization.
For mental issues specifically, why
not also consider psychogenic causes (raising fear of unsubstantiated communicated
concerns) also known as the nocebo effect that has been prevalent in our
community? Accordingly, sleep
disturbance nevertheless continues to be an ongoing complaint in Falmouth among
a few turbine neighbors even though the turbines have been turned off at night
for well over a year.
Let's now look at a few other possibilities that could cause sleep disturbance attributed to turbine noise. Lyme Disease, highly prevalent in our community, can cause adverse health conditions called auditory and/or vestibular hyperacusis as well as tinnitus or ringing in the ears. Auditory hyperacusis is a condition that increases ones sensitivity to sound – not tolerating even the turning of pages, humming of electronic devices, etc. Vestibular hyperacusis can result in a loss of balance or even falling due to exposure to sound. See <http://tinyurl.com/lyme-symptoms> for peer reviewed medical evidence on these possibilities.
The Centers For Disease Control have also recently revised the number of Lyme Disease cases to be 10 times higher or about 300,000 cases which are mostly prevalent in the Midwest and northeast US including Cape Cod. Lyme Disease can be a direct cause of sleep disturbance, irritability, and headaches all of which are common and typical among complaints about our wind turbines.
Also, Wind 1 started operating when the impact of the economic
downturn reached its peak in 2010. Many of those complaining about increased
anxiety as a result of turbine operation may actually be anxious about their
livelihoods due to a huge drop in the building industry, real estate sales and many
other businesses in our community. According
to a September 1, 2013 Boston Globe
report, real estate values are still 10-20% below the 2005 peak in Falmouth. There is no evidence that our turbines have
had any additional impact on home value in their vicinity. [See < http://tinyurl.com/abate-denied>.]
Could the economic downturn be another
reason for sleep disturbance since the municipal wind turbines went into
There are a myriad of reasons why sleep can be disturbed within our community –
trouble at work, difficulties with relationships, dogs barking at night,
hospital helicopter traffic, etc. to name a few? Another major one is the traffic particularly
of huge 18-wheel trucks roaring down Route 28 and Palmer Avenue to Woods Hole
Road in the middle of every night on route to the ferry. Being awakened at night as we age for a
variety of reasons is yet another.
It's time to go beyond being a hammer and looking at our wind turbines as nails.
This blog first appeared as a Letter-to-the-Editor of the Falmouth Enterprise on October 4, 2013.