Communication Noise- 5 Types of Noise Barriers in Communication

Communication Noise: 5 types of noise in communication are physical noise, physiological noise, psychological noise, Semantic noise & cultural noise. Definition and Examples of physical noise, physiological noise, psychological noise, Semantic noise & cultural noise.

Communication Noise

Communication noise means any type of barrier to the effective communication process. There are different types of noise in communication that bars the effective process of communication between senders and receivers. The basic 5 types of noise in communication are physical noise, physiological noise, psychological noise, Semantic noise & cultural noise. These noises distract the sender and receiver of the communication process to listen to the message effectively. Noise bars the effectiveness of the communication process therefore it is also known as the barrier to communication. Noise is one of the elements of the 9 elements of the communication process such as Context, Sender, Encoder,  Message, Channel, Decoder, Receiver,  Feedback, and Barriers or Noise

Actually, communication noises are present in all types of the communication process, for example, face-to-face communication, group or team communication, organizational communication, and mediated communication.

The communication process will be more effective, productive, and interactive if there are no noises present. Many scholars are researching to find out the solution to overcome noises in communication. In fact, researchers have identified that in the U.S.A, business organizations are losing billions of dollars due to noise in communication.

Example of noise in communication

Ela is very sick and she is having rest at home. She calls her husband to bring some medicines and they are interacting on a mobile phone. At the same time, her daughter Elon is watching television with high volume. Therefore, Ela could not understand exactly what her husband says to her. So, she asks her husband again to be confirmed.

Television sounds are physical noise and her sickness is an example of physiological noise.

5 Types of Noise in Communication

The most basic 5 types of noise in communication are physical noise, physiological noise, psychological noise, Semantic noise, and cultural noise. Although there are some additional noises in the communication process such as syntactical, emotional, medium noises, encoding and decoding noises, etc. 

Communication Noise: 5 types of noise in communication are physical noise, physiological noise, psychological noise, Semantic noise & cultural noise.
Figure 1: 5 Types of Noises in Communication
Five Types of noises in communication are:
  1. Physical Noise
  2. Physiological Noise
  3. Psychological Noise
  4. Cultural Noise
  5. Cultural Noise
1. Physical Noise in Communication

Physical noise is the external and unnecessary sound that obstacle to effective communication. It is also a communication disturbance created by the environment. Therefore, physical noise is also known as environmental noise in the communication process

Example of Physical Noise

The outside sound in communication created from the environment. For example, raining sounds, thunderstorms, horns, outside building’s sounds, sounds from fans, lights, and windows are the best example of physical or environmental noise. Apart from that, loud music, barking dogs, noisy conflict nearby, vehicle sounds are also examples of physical noise. 

2. Physiological Noise in Communication

Physiological noise is a communication barrier created from the communicator’s physical condition. Usually, physical illness and weakness produce physical noise, and this noise obstacle to effective communication. 

Example of Physiological Noise

For example, Ela is having headaches therefore she can not concentrate in class. Here, headache is a physical illness that barriers to the listening process of communication.  Apart from that, deafness and blindness are the physical weakness or physiological noise that barriers to listening. Talking too fast or slow and the high or low temperature in the room also generate physiological noise. 

3. Psychological Noise in Communication

Psychological noise is a communication barrier created from the communicator’s psychological factors for example values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. This type of noise interrupts our minds to concentrate on listening. People don’t like to listen or talk about those topics that make them down or not interesting. 

Example of Psychological Noise

For example, Ela is a Muslim girl, and she does not like to listen to any criticism of Islam. Therefore, she became distracted when her lecturer was talking about anti-Islam issues. Any type of sensitive issues like religious, ethnic, and political are examples of Psychological Noise. Apart from that,  financial crisis, missing a beloved person, the exhausting schedule may originate the psychological noise. 

4.Semantic Noise in Communication

Semantic noise is a communication barrier created from the confusion over the meaning of words. Semantic noise occurred because of different meanings of the message between the sender and receiver. It also refers to the grammatical wrong sentence that makes the receiver unable to understand the meaning. It is called a syntactical barrier or noise.

Syntactical noise is a grammatically wrong sentence that the receiver unable to accomplish the proper meaning. Using difficult language during computer programming is an example of syntactical noise. It is also in contrast to syntactic sugar.

Example of Semantic Noise

Ela is an international student who studies at University Putra Malaysia. She is listening lecture from her Malaysian lecturer. In the meantime, her lecturer says ” I believe SEMUA understand this topic”. SEMUA is a Malaysian word that means everyone. Ela does not understand the meaning of SEMUA as she is not a Malaysian student. It is an example of semantic noise.

Additionally, jargon words, mispronunciations, special words, and the grammatical wrong sentences are also the example of Semantic Noise.

5. Cultural Noise

Cultural noise is a communication barrier created from the wrong explanation of another person’s behaviors. Actually, cultural noise produced due to the wrong meaning of messages, therefore, it is little similar to semantic noise. Especially, cultural noise is created from the nonverbal communication cues for example posture, gesture, eye contact, space, touch, and dress-up. The meaning of nonverbal cues is not the same in every culture and society. Conflicting messages are part of the cultural noises in communication. 

Apart from that, ethnocentrism, prejudices, stereotypes, and discrimination are also examples of cultural noises. These factors bar effective communication in a group or team. The four noises in group communication are ethnocentrism, prejudices, stereotypes, and discrimination.

Example of Cultural Noise

Jon is a Russian citizen who is studying at University Putra Malaysia. He offers his Malaysian woman friend to handshake, but she denied it. He felt very embarrassed. Later, he understood that in Malaysia women do not like to handshake men, and it is a cultural norm.

Additional noises in Communication

Apart from these basic noises in communication, there are many additional noises in different types of the communication process. For example, the most common two types of noises or barriers in organizational communication are encoding-decoding noises and transmitting noises. The encoding-decoding noises in organizational communication are lack of sensitivity to the receiver, lack of basic communication skills, not enough knowledge of the subject, information overload, emotional interference, and so on. Additionally, the transmitting noises in organizational communication are the bad connection of transmitting lines and channel barriers. 

Difference between Noise and Barrier in Communication

Noise and Barrier in communication denote the same meaning, although people use them in different types of context in communications. For example, people use the word noise when they encounter obstacles in face-to-face or group communications. On the other hand, people use the word barrier when they face obstacles in corporate communication or mediated communication. Noise and barrier in communication refer to the obstacle during the interaction between sender and receiver. However, many people including scholars described them as noise barriers. Apart from that, people also term them a distraction, distortion, disturbance, and so on.

In conclusion, in order to make communication more effective, productive, and efficient, communicators need to reduce noises as much as possible.

Communication Elements- 9 Elements of Communication Process

Communication Elements, the 9 Elements of Communication are Context, Sender, Encoder,  Messages, Channel, Decoder, Receiver,  Feedback, and Noise or Barrier. Additionally, Definition and Examples of the 9 Elements or Components of Communication.

Communication Elements

Elements of communication refer to essential tools of communication on which the communication process is conducted. Communication elements initiate and conduct the full process of sharing information between the sender and receiver. Therefore, elements of communication are very important and interconnected parts of the communication process. The 9 elements of communication (Context, Sender, Encoder,  Message, Channel, Decoder, Receiver,  Feedback, and Noise) are necessary tools or components to conduct an effective communication between sender and receiver.

Communication Process

The communication process refers to the way of sharing information verbally or non-verbally between the sender and receiver. Verbal communication means communication through spoken words. Nonverbal communication refers to nonverbal communication cues such as tone of voice, facial expression, movement, eye contact, body language, etc. Communication is the process of conveying the message via written text, speech, signals, visuals, or behavior. It also a process of exchanging opinions and imparting knowledge between speaker and audience through elements of communication.

The 9 Elements of Communication

 The 9 basic elements of the communication process are;

  1. Context
  2. Sender
  3. Encoder
  4. Message
  5. Channel
  6. Decoder
  7. Receiver
  8. Feedback
  9. Noise
Communication elements, 9 elements of communication process are Context, Sender, Receiver, Encoder, Decoder, Channel, Message, Noise, Feedback. 9 elements of communication process with examples. Process of communication. Elements or components of communication process.
Figure 1: The 9 Elements of Communication Process
 Examples of 9 Elements of Communication

Ela was talking to her husband on a smartphone and she requested her husband to deposit $100 for the electricity bill. At the same time, her son was watching a cartoon video on Television with the volume on high. Therefore, her husband could not understand exactly how much needs to pay for the electricity bill. So, she repeated the same words to confirm him. Consequently, her husband asked about the due date of paying the electricity bill, and she replied that today is the last date to pay the electricity bill without penalty. In the meantime, she showed her angry face to her son to reduce TV volume. Instantly, her son reduced the volume.

Based on the example, the context is social context, Ela is the sender and encoder at the same time receiver and decoder. In similar, her husband is also a sender and encoder at the same time receiver and decoder. Turning the thought into the message is the act of encoding. In contrast, transferring the message into thought is the process of decoding. The smartphone is the medium or channel of the communication process. TV volume is the environmental noise that bars the communication process.

1. Communication Element- Context

Firstly, context is the prime element of every communication process. Context represents the environment in which communication happens or takes place. This context may be physical, historical, psychological, social, chronological, or cultural. For example, you feel comfortable sharing your personal information with close friends rather than colleagues. This is an example of a social context that influences communication.

Example of context in communication

For example, Ela is talking to her husband informally, so she feels very comfortable. Therefore, the social-context has been designed from this communication process. The context would be physical-context if they communicate face to face.

2. Communication Element- Sender/ Source

A sender is a person who sends the message to the receiver. The sender is also known as the encoder of the message. The sender is the initiator of the communication process who starts the procedure via sending a message or information. A sender makes and uses symbols (words or graphic or visual aids) to convey the message and produce the required response. A sender is a speaker or writer or a person who convey the information with the intention of sharing opinion, ideas, and message.

Example of Sender in communication

For example, Ela is the sender and encoder who sends messages to communicate with her husband. The sender is the person who sends the message to communicate with others. So, Ela is the sender also an element of the communication process.

3. Communication Element- Encoding

Encoding is the process of transforming abstract opinions and ideas into symbols such as words, pictures, signs, and marks. A symbol might represent or indicate opinions, ideas, and actions. In contrast, decoding is the process of transforming the symbol into opinion or thought. Literally,  encoding is the process of transformation of the subject into symbols. The process of encoding is connected to the sender and receiver. The message of any communication is always abstract and intangible. Transmission of the message requires the use of certain symbols.

Example of encoding in communication

For example, Ela has converted his thought into words to convey the message to her husband that is called encoding. Here, converting the thought into words is the process of encoding. Words are serving as the spoken communication symbol. She called her husband and uttered some words to share an opinion as well as send the message.

4. Communication Element- Message/ Information

The message seems like a key element of any communication process. Any communication might happen to convey the message that is also known as the process of sharing ideas, opinions, thoughts, and information. Always, the sender wants to convey the message to communicate with the receiver. So, senders need to ensure that the main objective of the message is clear and understandable. Messages may convey through verbal and nonverbal cues. Verbal cues are the spoken language of the speaker, for instance, spoken words. On the other hand, nonverbal communication cues are facial expression, eye contact, physical appearance, posture, gesture, etc.

Example of Message in communication

For example, Ela was speaking to convey the message that indicates verbal communication.  She also showed her angry face to her son to reduce the volume of TV that is called non-verbal communication.

5. Communication Element- Channel/ Medium

Channel is the way of transmitting the message. It is also known as a medium in communication that conveys the message from sender to receiver. In the face to face communication, the sender’s senses, for example, hearing, seeing, smelling, touching, and tasting are the channel of transferring the information. On the other hand, organizations use Television, Newspapers, Radio as a channel to disseminate information. People use the computer and mobile phone to communicate with a person who lives far away from the sender. For instance, a small group of people chooses a written medium to convey the message, while people choose an oral medium when spontaneous feedback is required from the recipient as misunderstandings are cleared then and there.

Example of Channel or Medium in communication

For example, Ela has transmitted the message through a smartphone so the smartphone is the channel of the communication process. She uses technology to convey messages therefore it is called mediated communication.

6. Communication Element- Decoding

Decoding is the process of translation of an encoded symbol into the ordinary understandable language in contrast to the encoder. In this process, the receiver converts the symbols into thoughts received from the sender.  Decoding is the opposite process of encoding to get the meaning of the message.

Example of Decoding in communication

For example, Ela has transformed his thought into words to convey the message to her husband that is called encoding. Whereas, her husband converts those words into thought to understand the message that is the process of decoding.

7. Communication Element- Receiver/ Audience

A receiver or decoder is a person for whom the message is targeted in contrast to the sender. Therefore, the receiver is the audience of the communication process. The sender surely sends a message aimed at the receiver. Receivers can be one person or a group of people or a big amount of population. The degree to which the decoder understands the message is dependent upon various factors such as knowledge of the recipient, their responsiveness to the message, and the reliance of the encoder on the decoder.

Example of Receiver in communication

For example, Ela has sent the message targeted at her husband to whom she wants to communicate. Hence, her husband is the receiver in this context of the communication.

8. Communication Element- Feedback / Response

Feedback is one of the main elements of the effective communication process as it allows the sender to analyze the efficacy of the message. It also helps the sender in confirming the correct interpretation of the message by the decoder. Feedback may be verbal (through words) or non-verbal (in the form of smiles, sighs, etc.).  It may take written form also in the form of memos, reports, etc.

Example of Feedback in communication

Feedback differentiates the linear and transitional model of communication. The model of communication is linear if the author does not add feedback to the model, for example, Lasswell’s Model of Communication. On the other hand, the communication model will be identified as interactive and transitional if the feedback is presented, for example, the Osgood-Schramm Model of Communication.

For example, Ela’s husband asked about the due date of paying the electricity bill.

9. Communication Element-Noise/ Barrier

Finally, Noise is a communication barrier or distraction to effective communication. Noise in communication is any type of barrier that obstacles the effectiveness of the communication process. Actually, communication noises exist in all types of the communication process such as noise in face-to-face communication, noise in group communication, noise in mediated communication, etc. Communication will be more effective and interactive if there is no noise. Actually, noise is an unnecessary element in communication that distracts receivers to receive the message.

Example of Noise in communication

For example, Ela’s son was watching a cartoon video on Television with the volume on high when she was talking to her husband. The sound of the cartoon video bars Ela to listen to her husband’s speech so it is an example of a communication barrier or communication noise or communication distraction.

In conclusion, these 9 important elements (context, sender, encoder,  message, channel, decoder, receiver, feedback, and noise) are the essential component of the basic communication process. The communication process might get faulty without any of these elements except noise.

Citation for this Article (APA 7th Edition)

Kobiruzzaman, M. M. (2021, February 3). Communication Elements- 9 Elements of Communication Process. Educational Website For Online Learning. https://newsmoor.com/communication-elements-9-components-of-basic-communication-process/

M M Kobiruzzaman on ResearchGate

Reference
Lunenburg, F. C. (2010). Communication: The process, barriers, and improving effectiveness. Schooling1(1), 1-10.