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 Different Types of Noises in Communication

Communication Noise

Communication noise means any barrier to the effective communication process. Noises bar the effective communication process between senders and receivers. The different types of noise in communication are physical, physiological, psychological, semantic, and cultural noise. These noises distract the sender and receiver of the communication process from listening 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 communication followed by Context, Sender, Encoder,  Message, Channel, Decoder, Receiver, and Feedback.

Actually, communication noises are presented in all communication contexts, such as face-to-face communication, group communication, organizational communication, and mediated communication. The researchers have mentioned the noise in the three models of communication, for example, linear, interactive, and transactional models of 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. Researchers have identified that in the U.S.A, business organizations are losing billions of dollars due to noises in communication.

Example of noises in communication

Ela is very sick, and she is taking a rest at home. She calls her husband to bring some medicines, and they interact on a mobile phone. At the same time, her daughter Elon is watching television at a high volume. Therefore, Ela could not understand what her husband said to her precisely. 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 five types of noise in communication are physical, physiological, psychological, semantic, and cultural noises. However, some additional noises in the communication process include syntactic, emotional, medium, encoding, decoding noises, etc. 

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Types of Noise in Communication

Five Types of noises in communication are:
  1. Physical Noise
  2. Physiological Noise
  3. Psychological Noise
  4. Syntactical 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

For example, raining sounds, thunderstorms, horns, outside building sounds, sounds from fans, lights, and windows are the best example of physical or environmental noise. Besides loud music, barking dogs, noisy conflict nearby, vehicle sounds are also examples of physical noise. 

2. Physiological Noise in Communication

Physiological noise is a barrier created by 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 barrier to the listening process of communication.  Apart from that, deafness and blindness are 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 behaviours. 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 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 confusion over the meaning of words. It comes from complex, technical, autochthonous, or grammatical errors in communication. Semantic noise occurred because of different meanings of the message between the sender and receiver. It also refers to the wrong grammatical sentence that makes the receiver unable to understand the meaning. Scholars term it as a syntactical barrier or noise.

Syntactical noise is a grammatically wrong sentence in 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 to lectures 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.

Similarly, a lecturer says natural causes of climate change and global warming are distinguished. However, a few students are confused about the lecturer’s statement. The confusion has come from semantic noise. These students believe that climate change and global warming is same phenomenon. Finally, the lecturer describes that global warming refers to only raising the temperature of the environment. On the other hand, climate change denotes the both increasing and decrising the global temperature. It is also an example of semantic noise.

Additionally, jargon words, mispronunciations, unique words, and grammatically wrong sentences are Semantic Noise examples.

5. Cultural Noise in Communication

Cultural noise is a communication barrier created from the wrong explanation of another person’s behaviours. Actually, cultural noise is produced due to the wrong meaning of messages; therefore, it is a little similar to semantic noise. Especially, cultural noise is created from the nonverbal communication of people from different cultural backgrounds. The basic kinds of nonverbal communication cues are posture, gesture, eye contact, space, touch, and dress-up. The meaning of nonverbal cues is not the same in every culture and society. The conflicting message in communication is one of the cultural noises. 

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 denies it. It makes Jon feel very embarrassed. Later, he understood that women do not like to handshake men in Malaysia, which is a cultural norm.

Additional Noises in Communication Process

Apart from these basic five types of noises, the additional noises in the communication process, electrical noise, organizational noise, and noise in the group conversation. 

 Organizational Noise

Organizational communication noise refers to the encoding-decoding noises and transmitting noises. The encoding-decoding noises in corporate communication lack sensitivity to the receiver, basic communication skills, insufficient knowledge of the subject, information overload, emotional interference, etc. Additionally, the transmitting noises in organizational communication are the faulty connection of transmitting lines and channel barriers. 

Noise in Group Communication

Barriers in Group Communication are disturbances that are obstacles to interactive communication among group members. The barrier in group communication usually hiders to understand other members in the group or team. The four types of barriers in group communication are Ethnocentrism, Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination. The group discussion has many stages, tensions, conflicts, and so more. According to Tuckman’s Theory, the five stages of group discussion are Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. Members must need to overcome all these stages to achieve the independent and interdependent goal.

Difference Between Noise and Barrier

Noise and Barrier in conversation denote the same meaning, although people use them in different interaction contexts. 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 facing corporate communication or mediated communication obstacles. Noise refers to the hindrance during the interaction between sender and receiver. However, many people, including scholars, described them as noise barriers. People also term them a distraction, distortion, disturbance, and so on.

In conclusion, communicators need to reduce noises as much as possible to make communication more effective, productive, and efficient. These noises in communication are prevalent in every context of the communication process, such as barriers in face-to-face communication, barriers in mediated communication, barriers in corporate communication, and barriers in group communication. Noises are the unwanted element of the communication process. The transactional model of communication is more preferable to reduce noise in communication rather than a linear process.

Citation for this Article (APA 7th Edition)
Kobiruzzaman, M. M. (2021, November 20). Communication Noise- 5 Types of Noises Barriers in Communication. Newsmoor- Best Online Learning Platform. https://newsmoor.com/communication-noise-5-types-of-noise-in-communication-barriers/

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