What are the Differences Between Sound and Noise?

What are the differences between sound and noise?

Noise and sound, are both about what we hear. But what is the difference between sound and noise? Is the distinction the same for everyone, or are there some discrepancies from people to people? Today our topic will be about these two terms. First, we will talk about their definition, and then the simple difference between them.

What is sound

What is Sound?

We hear about sound all the time. So, what is the definition of sound? We can make their definition differently according to physics and psychology or physiology. From the view of physics; the sound is a kind of vibration. This vibration propagates as a wave through a transmission environment. The three types of transmission environment or mediums are;

  • Solid,
  • Liquid,
  • Gas.

The important thing is, these sound waves can propagate only in these environments. It is impossible to radiate without medium, like space.

On the other hand, according to human psychology or physiology; the sound is receiving of these waves from an organ (ear), and the way our brain defines is called sound.

So, the sound is a wave and for humans, if you can’t hear it or define it, you will not call it sound. This is very important because we may not want to hear or get disturbed by them. Actually, this disturbance is related to noise. So, how we don’t hear a sound? It is all about the level of frequency. The human can receive, or actually define sound levels between 20 Hz to 20 kHz.

The measuring unit of the sound level is the decibel (dB). There is a big difference between 1 dB and 10 dB. If a sound level decrease from 10 to 1 dB, the decrease level of sound will be 50%. These are important knowledge about preventing high-level or disturbing sound.

What is noise

What is Noise?

The most general definition of noise is; unwanted sound. So yes, noise is a sound. But, to define a sound as noise is about a disturbance. If someone or something gets disturbed by a sound, we can define it as noise. Also, noise is about the level of sound. In most cases, the sound level should be very high to be classified as noise. And the important issue about noise is the harm that it could give to the living forms.

Noise has two types of harms; psychological and physiological. Physiological hazards can be hearing loss or in some severe cases, losing totally the ability of hearing. These are very serious problems and people should be very careful about them. On the other hand, psychological hazards are also very important. Because long endurance to high noise levels or even constant noise in daily city life may cause some mental problems. Stress is defined as the modern world’s disease and one of the biggest causes of it is noise.

So, we can understand that noise is a big problem and should be considered seriously.

Differences Between Sound and Noise

As we can understand from the definitions, noise and sound are almost the same things. In fact, noise is also a type of sound. But noise is a little bit more about perspective. Because while some sounds can be noise for someone, some others may not define them as noise. Even though, they may like it. For example, some people like high-sound rock music, while some others who don’t like it can call it noise. So, most of the time, the difference is about disturbance and perspective.

Noise is a modern problem of not only individuals but also officials of management. Most of the time, government-level precautions are implemented to prevent it. If the source of noise is small or temporary, you can prevent it with individual decisions. But if the source is high; like highways, railways, or airports, these require bigger actions. And the most efficient way to prevent high-level noise is noise barriers.

At Hatko Company, we are producing high-technology highway soundproof walls for many years. You can see our different solutions for different cases on our website. For more assistance, you can always contact us.


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