Cosma Home > Communication > System > Noise


This is a series of videos done by Seeker for Noise Action Week.


Pages and Subpages

Cosma provides access to content resources organized around these basic elements of a Communication System: Media (channel), Knowledge (message), Human (sender/receiver) and Noise (interference). See also Outline (Site Map)


These are organized by a classification scheme developed exclusively for Cosma. More…



Noise : irrelevant or meaningless data or output occurring along with desired information — Webster See also OneLook, Free Dictionary, Wiktionary, Urban Dictionary


Roget’s II (, Merriam-Webster Thesaurus, Visuwords


Noise means any unwanted sound. In both analog and digital electronics, noise is an unwanted perturbation to a wanted signal; it is called noise as a generalisation of the audible noise heard when listening to a weak radio transmission. Signal noise is heard as acoustic noise if played through a loudspeaker; it manifests as ‘snow’ on a television or video image. Noise can block, distort, change or interfere with the meaning of a message in human, animal and electronic communication. — Wikipedia



Communication Noise In any communication model, noise is interference with the decoding of messages sent over a channel by an encoder. There are many examples of noise:

Environmental Noise Noise that physically disrupts communication, such as standing next to loud speakers at a party, or the noise from a construction site next to a classroom making it difficult to hear the professor.

Physiological-Impairment Noise Physical maladies that prevent effective communication, such as actual deafness or blindness preventing messages from being received as they were intended.

Semantic Noise Different interpretations of the meanings of certain words. For example, the word “weed” can be interpreted as an undesirable plant in your yard, or as a euphemism for marijuana.

Syntactical Noise Mistakes in grammar can disrupt communication, such as abrupt changes in verb tense during a sentence.

Organizational Noise Poorly structured communication can prevent the receiver from accurate interpretation. For example, unclear and badly stated directions can make the receiver even more lost.

Cultural Noise Stereotypical assumptions can cause misunderstandings, such as unintentionally offending a non-Christian person by wishing them a “Merry Christmas”.

Psychological Noise Certain attitudes can also make communication difficult. For instance, great anger or sadness may cause someone to lose focus on the present moment. Disorders such as Autism may also severely hamper effective communication. — Wikipedia



Fundamental noise theory (CalTech Notes)




Radio Berkman 161: A Brief History of Noise (Berkman Center for Internet & Society)


Quotations Page


Museum of Endangered Sounds (Brendan Chilcutt)


WorldCat, Library of Congress, UPenn Online Books, Open Library




Noise Training Courses (Noise Academy)
Open Education Consortium



Acoustic Ecology Institute


Noise research summaries (Acoustic Ecology Institute)
NPR Archives








OEDILF: The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form


Song Lyrics


More… sound-related environmental new, science, policy

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    by aeinews on January 6, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    An AEI big-picture commentary Once again, a Presidential announcement about offshore oil development has sent the media and environmental advocates into a spasm of headlines and press releases that presumes the words being uttered in DC actually reflect on-the-ground (or in this case, under-the-waves) reality. In late 2016, there was effusive praise for an effectively symbolic Obama decision to not offer leases […]

  • More evidence of fish being affected by shipping,...
    by aeinews on January 4, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    A couple of recent studies have added to the increasing evidence that anthropogenic ocean noise can have deleterious effects on fish. As the years go by, it’s becoming clear that it’s not just whales and dolphins that are struggling with human noise in the sea. A lab-based study of European sea bass found that recordings […]

  • BC ship-quieting study stymied by lack of orcas
    by aeinews on January 4, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Last fall’s innovative 2-month voluntary slow-down of ships traveling to and from the Port of Vancouver was successful on one count—average overall shipping noise was reduced by 44%—but a stark absence of the normally abundant resident orcas stymied the equally important second line of inquiry: how would reducing the noise level, but spreading more moderate noise over longer time periods, […]

  • Australia launches world’s first...
    by aeinews on December 11, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    The burgeoning field of soundscape ecology (also dubbed ecoacoustics) is poised to take a remarkable leap forward during the just-beginning Australian summer  of 2018.  By mid-year, researchers plan to install 400 microphones in 100 locations spanning the continent’s seven diverse ecoregions. At each location in this Australian Acoustic Observatory (A20), two acoustic recorders will be placed in […]

  • Oysters and scallops: no ears, but they still...
    by aeinews on November 30, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    A recent line of research ups the ante on how widespread the impacts of human noise in the ocean may be. Oysters appear to suddenly and dramatically close up in response to low frequency noise at intensities that are relatively common—beginning at sound as levels as low as 120dB, and ramping up rapidly above 140dB. The figure at […]