Sound is a type of energy that travels through the air, or any other medium, as a vibration of pressure waves. Noise is an unwanted sound considered unpleasant, loud, or disruptive. But what is the difference between them both?
According to the report of the world health organization, noise is an increasing problem in our society. Because of industrialization, and other factors such as transportation and construction, noise pollution has become one of the most significant environmental problems.
The negative effects of noise pollution are many and varied. It can cause hearing loss, high blood pressure, sleep disturbance, and other health problems. In some cases, it can even be deadly.
That’s why you need to completely read this article. Because in this article, I have shared the difference between sound and noise in detail. It will be very helpful for you.
Also, I have covered why we need soundproofing. If you are looking for the best soundproofing materials, then this article is for you.
So, Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
What is Sound?
The sound is generated due to the vibrations of particles in a medium like air. Where the vibration causes the pressure or displacement created in the air particles which in result at some places low pressure while other higher pressure.
This air pressure continues to the air medium and travels further by maintaining the same pressure to all upcoming air particles until it found any barrier to stop that flow.
Once this air particle-wave pressure reaches to the eardrum will create the same pressure and at the same time sensed by the brain and finally, it confirms that as the sound waves. In such a way sound generated due to the vibrations of the particles.
To learn more about sound better to learn first about the frequency, it defines the pitch of the sound waves and Hertz is the unit to measure the frequency of any sound waves, the higher the frequency the higher will be the pitch of the sound.
A human ear can only hear the sound frequency in the range of 20-20,000 Hz and the higher frequencies are greatly affect hearing loss.
In general, the audio frequency which is pleasant to hear and easy to differentiate and reproduce is sound. Usually, the sound that comes off a specific frequency or from one source is known as a pleasant sound.
What is Noise?
The human ear can hear the sound from different sources and differentiate according to their taste, which one he likes the most and which one annoying him, and based on this noise vs sound decided for anyone.
Noise is nothing different that sound, imagines a person listening to louder music, which may be unpleasant for you if so then that music or sound considers noise for you but not for the person who is enjoying music.
This is the one part where you can differentiate the sound from the noise but let me give you another example in terms of the science of sound engineering.
Earlier we have heard if you hear any sound of a specific frequency than probably you will enjoy the same but what if multiple frequencies of soundwaves come together to you?
You won’t be able to enjoy any of them as it is a mixture of frequencies that has no defined sound to hear and enjoy and so this will be considered noise.
For example, Why do we call the noise coming from highway traffic as noise you won’t know the actual source of the sound as it is a mixture of many things which is not easy to differentiate.
Noise can further have amplification because of reflection from various sources and that is now called echos, here is the best guide to learning noise vs Echos.
Well, until this point you got an overview of sound and noise so let discuss the difference between sound and noise.
What is the Difference Between Sound and Noise?
Well, we have already learned what is sound and what is noise, now let me explain to you the major differences in between sound and noise and how you can differentiate in real-life use cases.
Imagine you are seating with two other people in a group where both of them are sharing their ideas, which means your ear can easily understand or differentiate the actual person speaking to you.
Why because the human ear is capable of differentiating a couple of frequencies of sounds but what if you have been joined by any fourth person in the room then even you can understand who speaks what and you can easily identify the difference of new voice added to the existing conversation.
But what if you are seating with a group of people where more than 100 people already chatting with each other and if any new people added to the group and start the conversation, you won’t able to differentiate.
Why because before his joining everyone is chatting with each other and it was already a mixture of lot many frequencies by adding one it does not make any difference. This means noise is something that is not easy to differentiate.
In sound engineering two things to remember one is the frequency and other is the decibel, do you know what are those?
The Difference Between Hertz VS decibel?
Well, you already got an idea about the frequency which is the measure of the pitch of any soundwaves or in scientific term number of times waves to pass through any point in a second.
The unit to measure the frequency of soundwaves is hertz, the human ear can hear in between 20-20,000 Hz of frequencies. Frequencies lower than 20 Hz can only be felt.
There are different frequencies of soundwaves generated from different sources if you are willing to understand than better to check the Wikipedia.
Now let focus on a decibel (dB), it is a unit to measure the power of sound waves. It is measured on a logarithmic scale to identify the power or intensity of any sound waves. The higher the score in dB the powerful will be the sound source or louder the sound.
While referring to the loudness of any sound here are few examples.
- 20 dB by a ticking watch
- 30 dB quiet whisper around 3ft
- 60 dB Normal conversation at 3ft
- 110 dB Rock music or child screaming
- 120 dB Ambulance Siren
- 140 dB Jet Engine
- 160 dB Fire Crackers
The human ear is more sensitive to hear in between 2000-5000 Hz frequency of soundwaves and if considering the loudness in dB scale than the minimum 0 dB and up to 85 dB is good enough for comfort hearing but with continuous exposure to higher dB noise can really damage your hearing.
In simple term, I would say a sound is a form of mechanical energy which is easy to reproduce and pleasant to listen but noise is a mixture of lot many other frequencies which are not easy to reproduce and annoying in listening.
Let me conclude the differences between sound and noise.
- Pleasant In Nature: Well, sound is pleasant in nature and everyone likes to hear as long as possible however noise is something that is irrelevant and annoying in nature.
- Reproducible In Nature: A sound is a form of mechanical energy which is easy to reproduce however, noise is not easy to reproduce or in other word. Sound follow the specific pattern of the mechanical wave, however, noise is a combination of different wave patterns which are not easy to differentiate and not able to reproduce in the exact wave pattern.
- Power Level Or Pitch: Usually, Noise is something which is annoying in nature, which means more probably louder in power and higher in pitch that’s why the noise louder than 85dB is most of the time annoying in nature. However, the sound is always in the range of 20 Hz-5k Hz and less than 85 dB in loudness which will be easy to sense and pleasant in hearing.
Use of Sound and Noise
Sound is very useful in many ways even human communicate with soundwaves, people do recording of music or many more other reasons but conventional noise is useless in nature.
Now if you will ask what is this conventional noise than it is the noise generated from random sources like traffic etc.
But, not every noise is annoying in nature, there are different colors of noise such as white noise, pink noise, blue noise, etc which help to overcome the unwanted conventional noise, how it works, better to check detail guide on types of noises.
Till this point, you got an idea about the differences between noise and sound and how both are different from each other now let me highlight the effect of noise on health.
Effect of noise on Health?
If you under consistent exposure of higher-level noise than it is going to impact physical and psychological health consequences, here are few listed which collected from various sources.
1. Hearing Loss
That means the human ear threshold is set in between 2000-5000 Hz but due to high exposure of louder sound, cause the very shift of up to 3000-6000 Hz or even in some cases up to 4000 Hz.
This in result tinnitus, which is a hearing problem where you feel a sound like clicking, hiss or roaring even when an external sound not present.
2. The psychological impact of noise
Due to continuous exposure of louder noise cause depression and anxiety and with the more intense level of sound interaction continuously cause the personal nature change to violent reactions.
Even due to the louder hearing all the time you may probably addiction to the louder noise can cause hearing loss as explained earlier.
3. Sleeping Disorder
If your house is close to the railway track or any high traffic area it definitely going to annoy your night sleeping and ultimately stress your whole day due to uncomplete enough sleep.
As per science, a human mind should sleep at least 7 hours a day to get a healthy lifecycle but in a noisy area, it won’t be possible.
Let me brief you on how to overcome noise if you are struggling at any place in your life.
How do Overcome noise?
Well, these days everyone is concerned about overcoming unwanted soundwaves no matter you are in the office, house or private room.
Because it has been proved from research that an environment free from noise gives more productivity as compared to the one which has noise.
Hence the very best thing people thing about overcoming noise is soundproofing?
Why we need soundproofing
Soundproofing is a concept of blocking this unwanted noise to comes to your private room or house or offices. There are few things responsible for noise to come into your house.
Once you learned the difference between sound and noise than better to check the differences between soundproofing vs sound absorbing on how these can help you to minimize the noise.
How To Minimize The Noise Effect?
There are many ways to minimize the noise effect has on health. But, the most common and effective way to reduce noise pollution health is by using soundproofing materials.
1. Use Earplugs
Probably the use of earplugs would be the best and easiest solution to overcome the noise even while you are sleeping. In most cases, people suffered from the noise caused by roommates then even prefer to use Earplug.
But do you really think the use of Earplugs is safe? My view is no, it is not safe so what are the alternatives of Earplugs to overcome noise? Make sure to check the detailed guide on this.
2. Wear Noise-canceling sound-generating devices
As I said earlier not every noise is annoying in nature, right now it becomes very big industries to manufacture devices that generating noise to overlap or overcome the existing conventional noise.
So you can have noise generation machine-like white noise generator, pink noise generator, etc.
Wrap Up On The Difference Between Sound And Noise
Well, both sound and noise are part of soundwaves so when you said, I heard something pleasant which is audible in nature means you heard the sound but if you say you heard something annoying that will be a noise for you.
Always try to avoid the use of earphones or headphones all over the day as it could permanently shift the threshold frequency of hearing and if struggling with noise in the house than better to check how to soundproof using soundproofing materials.
If you have any queries left with the guide than better to comment and let us know we hope to answer back very quickly.
FAQ: Difference Between Sound And Noise
There are different types of questions in the minds of people regarding sound and noise. Here I am answering some important questions.
Q1. Is there any way to block out noise and only listen to the sound?
Ans: There is no surefire way to block out noise and only listen to the sound, but there are a few methods that may help reduce the amount of noise you hear. One method is to use earplugs or earmuffs to physically block out the noise.
Q2. How can you tell if a sound is harmful or not?
Ans: To find out if a sound is harmful, we need to know how loud it is. The louder the sound, the more damage it can cause to our hearing. We also need to know how long we are exposed to the sound. The longer we are exposed to a loud sound, the more damage it can cause.
Q3. How can you protect yourself from hearing loss?
Ans: The best way to protect your hearing is to avoid loud noise. It’s also important to wear earplugs or earmuffs when you’re around loud noise. If you can’t avoid loud noise, you should take breaks often to give your ears a rest.