Types of Noise in Communication

by Kimberly Dyke, studioD

Communication is the way that people convey ideas or information to each other. 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 Internet, it is important to clearly communicate your thoughts. Receiving feedback is a positive indicator that a person received and understood your message, that it broke through any "noise."

What is Noise in Communication?

A broad definition of noise in communication is something that keeps a receiver from completely comprehending a message. Distractions can inhibit a person from offering his undivided attention and may keep him from fully grasping what you are trying to say. These disturbances guarantee that the receiver will either misinterpret your information or not understand it at all.

Physical Noise

Sometimes the biggest impediment to clear communication is everyday environmental noise. This can include loud passersby, music (think talking over a band at a concert), traffic or children playing. Even a simple phone ringing can distract a listener so that she cannot fully focus on a conversation. Other physical conditions that can hinder communication are physical illness, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or being tired.

Semantic Noise

Semantic noise affects communication when people communicate from different playing fields. In other words, they are working from different understandings, such as different primary languages, dialects or basic cultural characteristics. Poor handwriting and using slang can also be semantic noises that complicate effective communication.

Psychological Noise

Psychological noise can be more difficult to define in a particular situation, as the mental makeup of every person is different. This type of noise includes concepts like prejudices, narrow-mindedness and personal bias. Communication can also be difficult if a person is feeling very emotional -- anger, sadness and even joy can affect how much someone can pay attention to a conversation or lecture.

About the Author

Kimberly Dyke is a Spanish interpreter with a B.A. in language and international trade from Clemson University. She began writing professionally in 2010, specializing in education, parenting and culture. Currently residing in South Carolina, Dyke has received certificates in photography and medical interpretation.

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