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7 Types of Noises

  • Yashoda Gandhi
  • Mar 20, 2022
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The process by which people convey ideas or information to one another is known as communication. Whether a message is transmitted directly from one person to another, among a group of people in a large presentation, or via mass media on the news or the internet, it is critical to clearly communicate your thoughts. 


Misunderstood messages can cause confusion, panic, errors, and hurt feelings. Feedback loops can help improve communication. Receiving feedback is a good indicator that your message was received and understood, that it cut through the "noise."


Any impediment to effective communication is referred to as communication noise. Noise makes it difficult for senders and receivers to communicate effectively. The various types of noise in communication are physical, physiological, psychological, semantic, and cultural noise. 


Because noise interferes with the effectiveness of communication, it is also referred to as a communication barrier. Communication noises occur in all communication contexts, including face-to-face communication, group communication, organizational communication, and mediated communication. 


According to researchers, business organizations in the United States of America are losing billions of dollars as a result of communication noise.


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What is Noise in Communication?


In communication studies and information theory, noise is defined as anything that interferes with the communication process between a speaker and an audience. It's also referred to as interference. Noise can be external (a physical sound) or internal (a mental disturbance), and it can interfere with communication at any point.


Noise in communication is defined broadly as anything that prevents a receiver from fully comprehending a message. Noise can take many forms. Distractions can prevent a person from giving you his undivided attention and may prevent him from fully comprehending what you're trying to say. These interruptions ensure that the receiver will either misinterpret your message or will not understand it at all.


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Types of Noise in Communication


Even communications written with a meticulous process approach can go awry in terms of your audience understanding your message in the way you intended. Interference in communication is commonly referred to as "noise." 


Physical sources of noise, such as a loud hallway conversation, can cause noise, but it can also be caused by a variety of other factors. The following types of noise can disrupt communication and draw your audience's attention away from your message:


  1. Physical Noise


The external and unnecessary sound that impedes effective communication is referred to as physical noise. It is also a communication interruption caused by the environment. Everyday environmental noise can be a major impediment to clear communication.


Passers-by who are talking loudly, music (imagine talking over a band at a concert), traffic, or children playing are all examples of this. As a result, physical noise is also referred to as environmental noise in the communication process.




A simple phone ringing can distract a listener, causing her to lose focus on a conversation. During a lecture, annoying whispering and classroom sidebar conversations can interfere with the ability of the instructor and other students to focus on the material. 


Physical illness, hearing impairments, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or being tired are all examples of physical conditions that can impede communication. 



  1. Semantic Noise


Semantic noise is a communication barrier caused by misunderstandings about the meaning of words. It results from complex, technical, autochthonous, or grammatical communication errors. 


Semantic noise occurred as a result of the message's different meanings between the sender and receiver. It also refers to a grammatical error that causes the receiver to be unable to understand the meaning. It is referred to as a syntactical barrier or noise by academics.


Syntactical noise is a grammatically incorrect sentence in the receiver that is unable to convey the intended meaning. Syntactical noise can be seen in the use of difficult language during computer programming. It also contrasts with syntactic sugar.




A patient who is unfamiliar with medical terminology may be unable to understand what the doctor is saying. In other words, they approach the problem from various angles, such as different vocabularies, primary languages, or dialects. 


When pedantical vocabulary or regional colloquialisms stymie communication, noise can occur. Misinterpretations of voice tone, eye contact, and body language can all contribute to cross-cultural communication noise.



  1. Physiological Noise


Physiological noise is concerned with your ability to see and hear, your health, whether you are tired or hungry at the time of communication, or any of a number of other physiological issues that can interfere with paying attention to a message.


While you cannot do much to reduce other people's physiological noise as a communicator, you can pick up visual cues during in-person, real-time communications and adjust your message accordingly. Be aware of physiological noise and be ready to adjust to the communication situation and the needs of your audience.




Ela is suffering from headaches, and as a result, she is unable to concentrate in class. In this context, a headache is a physical illness that interferes with the listening process of communication. 


Aside from that, deafness and blindness are physical limitations or physiological noise that prevents people from listening. Talking too fast or too slowly, as well as the room's high or low temperature, generate physiological noise.


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  1. Psychological Noise


Personal attitudes, assumptions, and biases all contribute to psychological noise. People have diverse worldviews and perspectives; communication noise occurs when the communicator's content, language, and perceived attitudes do not match those of the audience.


As a communicator dealing with psychological noise, it is your responsibility to recognise that people will interpret your message differently depending on their own perspectives, just as they do with cultural noise. 


Reduce psychological noise by communicating clearly and directly, using inclusive and objective language, and responding to questions and issues raised calmly and thoughtfully.




Daydreaming or having your thoughts elsewhere while someone is speaking to you are examples of psychological noise. Hunger, fatigue, headaches, medication, and other factors that affect how we feel and think cause physiological noise.



  1. Cultural Noise


Cultural noise is a communication barrier caused by the incorrect interpretation of another person's behavior. Cultural noise is generated, in particular, by the nonverbal communication of people from various cultural backgrounds. Nonverbal cues do not have the same meaning in every culture and society. 


One of the cultural noises is a conflicting message in communication. Ethnocentrism, prejudices, stereotypes, and discrimination are also examples of cultural noises. These factors obstruct effective group or team communication. Ethnocentrism, prejudices, stereotypes, and discrimination are the four noises in group communication.




Jon is a Russian student at the University Putra Malaysia. He extends a handshake to his Malaysian female friend, but she declines. Jon is humiliated as a result. 


Later, he realized that women in Malaysia do not like to handshake men, which is a cultural norm. Aside from the basic five types of noises, there are also noises in the communication process, electrical noise, organizational noise, and noise in group conversations.



  1. Technical Noise


Technical issues with your equipment can prevent your audience from receiving and comprehending your message. It is possible that not all users will have access to online or video conferencing equipment, that connectivity will be slow, or that servers will fail. 


To reduce technical noise, practise with the equipment you'll be using and have a backup plan in place for communicating lengthy or critical messages in a less-technical format.




The slam of a door, the slap of a hand on a table, or the clap of a hand are all examples of one-impulse sounds. Sounds such as a telephone ringing, birds chirping, sirens, or a computer humming are also examples.



  1. Organizational Noise


Organizational noise can occur when you are unaware of, or ignore, expected communication channels in your organization. Some organizations structure their communication channels so that employees at different levels only communicate with others at their level, whereas others are less structured. 


As a communicator, you should learn everything you can about the culture of your organization. Don't be afraid to consult with peers or supervisors about appropriate communication channels so that others can focus on your message rather than the route or people to whom it was sent.



Unnecessary complexity across all domains of the organization (structure, process, policies, etc.), a lack of role clarity, non-alignment on key tools or processes, uncertainty, and a lack of interpersonal trust among employees are all examples of noise that exists frequently within large organizations.


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Noise reduction


Every form of communication contains noise. You can't eliminate the noise for everyone who listens to you. You can, however, work to reduce the noise. Here are three options.


  1. Improve the precision of your language: Choose words that you know your audience will understand.


  1. Exercising : Practice your public speaking. Experiment with articulation. Experiment with your recording and editing software.


  1. Solicit feedback: Listeners may hesitate before responding. So solicit feedback. Often. Once you begin to receive feedback from your listeners, you can begin to refine your message so that it is clearer and more easily understood.


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If there are no distractions, the communication process will be more effective, productive, and interactive. Many academics are working to find a solution to overcome noise in communication.

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    Nov 23, 2022

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