Defining Noise in the Communication Process

Noise is anything that interferes with the transmission of signal.

It also refers to the unwanted signals of messages, which interfere and disturb the reception of the wanted signal, usually in the form of sounds.

Noise prevents the receiver from clearly receiving the information and causes distortion in the entire communication process Opens in new window and ultimately yields to miscommunication.

It can be in visual, audio-visual, written, physical or psychological forms.

Technical or physical noise refers to all kinds of physical interference, like illegible handwriting, blemished copies of typescripts, poor telephone connections, slow internet connections, loud noise of the machines or blaring noise of the stereo, and such other noises, which interfere in the listener's chances to understand the message clearly.

Visual noise can be experienced, for example, when a committee member arrives late at the meeting hall and all the committee members are distracted by his arrival.

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Poor telephone connection which interrupts conversations, smudged typescripts and bad handwriting are also some examples of technical noise.

Understanding and then trying to minimize the element of noise is extremely important in any kind of communication.

The sender and the receiver must both ensure that the place chosen for communication is congenial for the proper dissemination of messages.

For instance, in factories, oral communication is rendered difficult as the loud noise of machines, blaring sirens, etc., may interfere with a face-to-face conversation or communication over the telephone or the public address system.