This paper proposes an implementation of the Rapid Distortion Theory, for the prediction of the noise resulting from the interaction of an airfoil with incoming turbulence. In the framework of the semi-analytical modeling strategy known as Amiet׳s theory, this interaction mechanism is treated in a linearized form where the airfoil thickness, camber and angle of attack are assumed negligible, leading to a frozen turbulence description of the incident gust. Important semi-analytical developments have been proposed in the literature to improve the modeling of the gust–airfoil interaction accounting for parallel and skewed gusts, non-rectangular linearized airfoil shapes or blade tip effects. This work is rather focused on the investigation of the distortion of turbulence that occurs in the vicinity of the airfoil leading edge, compared with Rapid Distortion Theory, where main results are briefly reminded in this paper. The main contribution of this work is a detailed experimental investigation of the evolution of turbulent quantities relevant to noise production, performed in the close vicinity of the airfoil leading edge subjected to grid turbulence, by means of stereoscopic Particle Image Velocimetry measurements. The results indicate that the distortion effects are concentrated in a narrow region close to the stagnation point of the leading edge, with dimension of the order of its radius of curvature. Additionally, it is shown that the turbulence intensity grows significantly as the flow approaches the airfoil leading-edge. Based on those results, a modified turbulence spectrum is proposed to describe the incoming turbulence in Amiet׳s theory. The sound predictions show a significantly better match with acoustic measurements than using the original turbulence model.