Communication Noise- 5 Types of Noises in Communication

Types of Noise in Communication are Physical, Physiological, Psychological, Semantic, and Cultural.

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. 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 a barrier to communication. Noise is one of the communication elements, followed by Context, Sender, Encoder,  Message, Channel, Decoder, Receiver, and Feedback.

Communication noises are presented in all communication contexts, such as face-to-face, group, organizational, and mediated communication. The researchers have mentioned the noise in the three communication models, for example, linear, interactive, and transactional communication models.

Shannon and Weaver’s communication model introduced noise initially in the linear communication model in 1949. Later, many researchers include the noise in their model.

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 noise in communication. Researchers have identified that in the U.S.A., business organizations are losing billions of dollars due to noise 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. 


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 is an obstacle to effective communication. It is also a communication disturbance created by the environment. Therefore, physical noise is also known as environmental noise in communication

Example of Physical Noise

For example, rain, thunderstorms, horns, outside building sounds, and sounds from fans, lights, and windows are the best examples of physical or environmental noise. Besides loud music, barking dogs, and noisy conflict nearby, vehicle sounds are 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 is an obstacle to effective communication. 

Example of Physiological Noise

For example, Ela is having headaches; therefore, she can not concentrate in class. Here, a headache is a physical illness that hinders the listening process of communication.  Also, deafness and blindness are physical weaknesses or physiological noises that hinder 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 by the communicator’s psychological factors, for example, values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. This type of noise interrupts our minds from concentrating on listening. People don’t like to listen or talk about those topics that make them down or not enjoyable. 

Example of Psychological Noise

For example, Ela is a Muslim girl who 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, and an exhausting schedule may originate psychological noise. 

4. Semantic Noise in Communication

Semantic noise is a communication barrier created by confusion over the meaning of words. It comes from complex, technical, autochthonous, or grammatical errors in communication. Semantic noise occurs because of different message definitions 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 which the receiver cannot accomplish the proper meaning. Using complex 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 the University of 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 the natural causes of climate change and global warming are different facts. 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 are the same phenomena. Finally, the lecturer describes global warming as raising the environment’s temperature. On the other hand, climate change points to both increasing and decreasing 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 by incorrectly explaining another person’s behaviors. This 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 the University of 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 five basic types of noises, the additional noises in the communication process are electrical noise, organizational noise, and noise in group conversation. 

 Organizational Noise

Organizational noise refers to 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 to Group Communication are disturbances that hinder interactive communication among group members. The barrier in group communication usually hinders understanding other members of 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, etc. According to Tuckman’s Theory, the five stages of group discussion are Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. Members must overcome all these stages to achieve the independent and interdependent goal.

Difference Between Noise and Barrier

Noise and Barriers in conversation denote the same meaning, although people use them in different interaction contexts. For example, people use the word noise when encountering face-to-face or group communication obstacles. 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, etc.

In conclusion, communicators need to reduce noise as much as possible to make communication more effective, productive, and efficient. These communication noises are prevalent in every context of the communication process, such as barriers in face-to-face communication, mediated communication, corporate communication, and group communication. Noises are an unwanted element of the communication process.

Disadvantages of Communication Noise

Firstly, noises make people exhausted, tense, angry, and sick. Babies and ill people cannot sleep on environmental noise.

People can become deaf if they stay with a loud noise for a long time. Noise above 70 dB damages the eardrum.

Noise hampers organizations financially by reducing employees’ productivity. The workers cannot concentrate appropriately due to noise. The organizational noise occurs due to a faulty communication channel.

In 2022, researchers at HARVARD Medical School identify that people encounter autonomic stress reactions when they wake up from a loud sound. It might cause cardiac arrest.

Semantic noise spreads misleading information among people. Sometimes, it creates communal violence if the message comes from political or social leaders.

Citation for this Article (APA 7th Edition)
Kobiruzzaman, M. M. (2023). Communication Noise- 5 Types of Noises Barriers in Communication. Newsmoor- Best Online Learning Platform.

Small Group Communication Advantages and Disadvantages

Small-Group Communication Advantages and Disadvantages. Six Benefits or Advantages of Small Group Communication. Also, Disadvantages of Small Group Communication.

Small-Group Communication

Small group communication refers to the intercommunication among a small number of people who communicate regularly to achieve a shared goal. It is also known as a small group discussion or team interaction. Small group communication is essential for group learning. The vital features of group communication are Goals, Members, Interaction, Interdependence, and Working. These elements are inevitable to conduct small group communication. The members are the primary elements of the group communication who form the small group to achieve a common goal. For example, a small group of students communicates regularly to complete group assignments.

Definition of Small Group Communication 

The definitions of small group communication by different scholars are as follows:

A small group is an interaction between two or more individuals who interact over time to achieve common group goals or achieve individual goals valued by each member who believes that this group can help them achieve them (Bormann and Bormann, 1980).

A limited number of people who communicate face-to-face share a common understanding of an interdependent goal, influence one another, and express a sense of belongings to the group (Schultz, 1996).

Two or more persons interact with one another so that each person influences another person (Jones, George, and Hill, 2000).

According to David and Chris (2009), a small group as a few people engaged in communication interaction over time, in a face-to-face or computer-mediated environment with common goals and norms and has developed a communication pattern for meeting their goals in an Interdependent manner.

Small group members encounter a few stages and barriers to achieving the individual and group goals. According to Tuckman’s theory of group discussion, the five steps of small group communication are forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Additionally, the four barriers in group communication are ethnocentrism, stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination.

Examples of Small Group Communication

The ten examples of small group communication are nuclear family group communication, assignment small group communication,  co-worker group communication, self-help group communication, educational group communication, learning group communication, service group communication, work group communication, virtual group communication, sports team Communication, and political group communication. These groups are also known as the example of Social Groups.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual communication has become very prevalent in our society. Politicians, students, employees, and businessmen create a virtual group to communicate via virtual meeting platforms. The employees create meeting minutes to keep a record of the meeting discussion. People also build small groups to achieve personal, educational, and professional goals. Students conduct a virtual meeting for group study.

Characteristics of Small Group Communication

The five characteristics of small group communication are members, goals, interactions, working, and interdependence.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Small Group Communication

Every group communication is intended to achieve a common goal. Thus, group members communicate to achieve their individual and shared goals. However, every group discussion or communication has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, the benefits of Small Group communication are superior performance, Greater member satisfaction, Greater civic engagement, More learning, More creativity, Enhanced cultural understanding, and so on. In contrast, the disadvantages of small group communication are more time, energy, and resources, conflict, social loafing, blaming for shared errors, sleeping members, and scheduling problem.

Based on the study, the author has outlined a list of the advantages and disadvantages of Small Group Communication.

Firstly, the author will discuss six advantages of a small group or team communication or discussion. After that, discuss six disadvantages of a small group or team communication or discussion.

Small Group Communication Advantages and Disadvantages
Small-Group Communication Advantages and Disadvantages

Six Advantages of Small Group Communication

  1. Superior performance
  2. Greater member satisfaction
  3. Greater civic engagement
  4. More learning
  5. More creativity
  6. Enhanced cultural understanding
1. Superior Performance

According to MIT Management Professor Peter Senge: “If you want something really creative done, you ask a team to do it, instead of sending one person off to do it on his her own.” Groups make better decisions also solve problems incredibly complex and unclear problems. Finally, groups share the workload among group members.

2. Greater Member Satisfaction

Social benefits – the opportunity to make friends, socialize, receive peer support, and feel part of a unified and successful team or group. The more opportunities group members have to communicate with one another, the more satisfied they are with the group experience.

3. Greater Civic Engagement

You can apply theories, methods, and tools to better engage in service to the community you learn in a group communication course. 

4. More Learning
  • A group provides many resources to work on a problem
  • “Synergistic” effect (Buckminster Fuller, the architect of the geodesic)
  • Synergy = the sum is more significant than its parts
  • Members can also learn from other members
  • New members learn from veterans; similar amateurs learn from experts.
  • They also learn more about how to work as a group in contrast to just merely topics they discuss.
  • It also helps in the decision-making process.
  • It is the product of interacting individuals stimulating one another so that what emerges is a product that no one member could accomplish working alone.
  • Additionally, it allows group members to share collective information, stimulate critical thinking, challenge assumptions, and raise achievement standards.
  • In the academic context, collaborative learning promotes higher individual achievement in knowledge acquisition, retention, accuracy, creativity in problem-solving, and higher-level reasoning.
5. More Creativity

The key to creativity is the mental flexibility required to mix thoughts from our many experiences. Groups provide a creative multiplier effect by tapping more information, brainpower, and insights.

6. Enhanced Cultural Understanding

Members differ in characteristics, life experiences, cultures, interests, and attitudes. Therefore, group members get a chance to enhance their cultural understanding of others. Working effectively = understanding, respecting, and adapting to differences in members’ skills, experiences, opinions, behavior, and differences in gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, religion, race, status, and worldviews.

Six Disadvantages of Small Group Communication
  1. More time, energy, and resources
  2. Conflict
  3. Social Loafing
  4. Blaming for shared errors
  5. Sleeping Member
  6. Scheduling
1. More Time, Energy, and Resources
  • A group needs more time, energy, and resources to discuss issues and analyze and resolve problems. In contrast, less time, energy, and resources are required when an individual works alone.
  •  A group does not have a long attention span; instead, it has a short attention span (David Berg, 1967). However, a long attention span is inevitable to complete a task within the period.
  • In group communication, there tend to get side-tracked.
  • Similarly, topics that do not pertain to the discussion at hand may be brought up.
2. Conflict
  • Disagreement = aggressive also disruptive
  • Group members are often confronted with an individual who wants to take over; therefore, conflict exists in group communication.
3. Social Loafing

Social loafing refers to the idle activity of a person or group member who pays less effort than other members to achieve a goal. They work very well alone to complete their tasks but spend less effort working in a group. Therefore, sometimes, social loafing stimulates to makes a group less productive.

4. Blaming for shared errors

A proverb says that to err is human. Errors come from personal and group activities; therefore, it is essential to identify the root cause of errors and the person who creates them. Sometimes, group members do not acknowledge shared mistakes; instead, they blame each other. Therefore, blaming for shared mistakes might increase conflict among group members which reduce productivity.

5. Sleeping Member

Sleeping members are always barriers to reducing production in Small groups because they do not achieve the goal.

6. Scheduling Problem

Scheduling a group or team meeting is a great challenge that the group faces regularly. Usually, all group members are not available to join the meeting simultaneously for their busyness. Hence, it reduces group productivity not for scheduling regular meetings among members. Therefore, scheduling group meetings is essential in increasing group members’ commitment.


The advantages and disadvantages of small group communication have been discussed elaborately in this article so that readers get an idea about small group or team communication. Of course, the group or team must take the necessary steps to communicate effectively among group members. However, reducing the disadvantages of small-group communication will surely increase productivity.

The Rationale for Studying Small Group Communication

Firstly, we live among many small groups; for example, your family group and groups of close friends. Additionally, colleagues at work, social and recreational clubs, athletic teams, and many more. In addition, The world of work—government, politics, health, a business group. The work reliance on small groups of experts to gather, interpret and present data to the decision-makers in their organizations. Similarly, Learning how to act and react in a group can help you overcome anxiety and uncertainty. Finally, Help you diagnose and improve your performance.

Citation for this Article (APA 7th Edition)
Kobiruzzaman, M. M. (2023). Small-Group Communication Advantages and Disadvantages. Best Online Learning Platform.

Berg, D. M. (1967). A thematic approach to the analysis of the task‐oriented, small group. Communication Studies18(4), 285-291.