Outside of being a potential eyesore, wind turbines have been looked at as a no-harm way to bring energy into a community. But around the world, close neighbors of some turbines are starting to bring up what could be a major issue: an adverse reaction that some people seem to have to the turbines' low-frequency, inaudible humming. According to New York Magazine, the reaction has been unofficially dubbed "wind-turbine syndrome" and usually takes the form of headaches, fatigue, and trouble sleeping.
But while there seem to be at least a few people near each turbine who have reported health issues, the numbers are inconsistent. The syndrome still isn't formally recognized, and some have suggested that it's merely an anxiety related to the turbine — not a direct effect of its presence. In a look at the debate over whether there's anything substantial to wind-turbine syndrome, New York Magazine visited one town in Massachusetts where residents have been complaining of its symptoms since 2010. One resident tells the magazine that he started getting headaches just weeks after a nearby turbine was turned on, "I came back and started talking to my wife about it: ‘What’s new in the neighborhood? The wind turbine.'"