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Difference between Sound and Noise

Difference between Sound and Noise

Sound vs. Noise

What is Difference between Sound and Noise? Sound and noise are two words that “sound” us, since we use them in a daily way in many contexts. However, the problem with these concepts comes when we use them indistinctly to refer to the same thing.

Difference between Sound and Noise

You must know that noise and sound is not the same, for this reason, then we clarify what is the difference between sound and noise.


In physics speaking of sound is the same as talking of mechanical pressure waves that are transmitted through matter or fluids that allow their propagation. The matter that allows such transmission is known as medium, for this reason, the sound does not propagate in the vacuum (requires the existence of matter).

Not all sounds are perceptible to the human ear, in addition, our age plays an important role regarding the perception of them; since as we get older, and we are less likely to hear certain frequencies. In the general sense, humans can perceive frequencies between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz (20 kHz), but as we said earlier; this can vary depending on each one.

Other species such as dogs have the ability to hear higher frequencies compared to humans. People hear sounds when vibrations pass through the ear and resonate in their eardrums. It is these vibrations that are responsible and those that determine the sound we hear. Inside the sounds include the noises, the music, and the speech. The word is derived from the Latin sonitus. Sounds are measured in decibels and the larger the sound, the greater its value in decibels.

Other Sound definitions

  • It is the sensation produced by the stimulation produced by the vibrations in the organs of the hearing, transmitted by the air or any other means.
  • They are mechanical vibrations that are transmitted through elastic means, traveling in the air at a speed of approximately 1087 feet (331 meters) per second above sea level.
  • It is the particular auditory effect produced by a particular cause.

Examples in which the word sound is used

  • The battle began with the sound of trumpets.
  • I already activated the sound on the phone.
  • The sound of the forest conveys much peace.

In a general sense, we use the word sound mostly when we refer to an auditory effect that is not annoying (this does not necessarily mean that we use that term just to refer to auditory effects that enlarge us, but also to describe those who simply do not annoy.


Noise is a type of sound, but this term is generally used to refer to loud and unwanted sounds (which are often very annoying). In physics and analog electronics, noise is an unwanted perception about a given signal, for example; as happens to many people with static on a radio station.

As you can understand, noises are sounds; but annoying, unpleasant and unwanted. They can include the horns of cars, airplanes, babies when they cry, certain types of music, among others. The noises are often of an irregular quality and can be provoked by musical instruments that by their bad condition sound horrible.

The word noise derives from the Latin rugitus which means roar or roar. Some noises can even cause nausea and headaches for certain people. Noise depends not on the frequency but on the intensity and level of the sounds.

Other definitions of Noise

  • It is a type of sound, especially strong, rough and irregular.
  • Unpleasant sounds due to their irregularity and little harmony.
  • It is a kind of discordant and intense sound.

Examples in which the word noise is used

  • My neighbor’s noises keep me from falling asleep.
  • Vehicle noise is becoming a problem.
  • That’s not music, its noise.
  • Tenants complain about noises at night.

When sounds exceed 65 decibels are considered unbearable. Above 80 decibels, the human ear can suffer serious damage. Finally, the excess noise that is observed especially in the cities is what is known as noise pollution.

Key differences between Sound and Noise

  • Sound is a more general category in which noise is included.
  • Generally, we use the term sound to refer to acoustic perceptions that do not annoy us, while the word noise is used mostly to refer to annoying and unpleasant sounds.

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