Path: EDN Asia >> Design Ideas >> Power/Smart Energy >> Signal to noise ratio in verbal communications
Power/Smart Energy Share print

Signal to noise ratio in verbal communications

30 Mar 2016  | John Dunn

Share this page with your friends

There are two verbal communication issues I sometimes encounter which some folks just DON'T seem to understand. I write this in the first person, but I submit that these problems are commonplace.

If you and I happen to be in the same place at the same time and you are trying to say something to me but I haven't noticed it yet, then you will be talking at me instead of to me, in which case you might as well be telling things to the nearest table lamp. Be sure you really do have my attention before you lay down any important words. That's the non-technical part. Now for the technological stuff.

If we're near to some ambient noise source such as a room air conditioner or maybe there is noise coming from passing traffic and you try to talk to me at a voice level which at your own ears is of equal signal level with the ambient noise around you, a signal to noise ratio of zero decibels where you are, I will be experiencing the same noise level as you yourself and so, when your voice comes to my ears, it will have been attenuated to a sound level lower than that ambient noise, thus yielding a signal to noise ratio of less than zero decibels at my ears and what you're saying will not be intelligible. The farther away I am from you, the worse that situation will be.



In such a case, you will not succeed in getting your message through to me because the zero decibel signal to noise ratio at your ears will have degraded to less than zero decibels by the time your sounds get to my ears, which will be too low for intelligibility and maybe even too low for simple detection and getting noticed.

In other words, please speak up so you can actually be heard. I really do want to hear what you want to tell me.


About the author
John Dunn contributed this article.





Want to more of this to be delivered to you for FREE?

Subscribe to EDN Asia alerts and receive the latest design ideas and product news in your inbox.

Got to make sure you're not a robot. Please enter the code displayed on the right.

Time to activate your subscription - it's easy!

We have sent an activate request to your registerd e-email. Simply click on the link to activate your subscription.

We're doing this to protect your privacy and ensure you successfully receive your e-mail alerts.


Add New Comment
Visitor (To avoid code verification, simply login or register with us. It is fast and free!)
*Verify code:
Tech Impact

Regional Roundup
Control this smart glass with the blink of an eye
K-Glass 2 detects users' eye movements to point the cursor to recognise computer icons or objects in the Internet, and uses winks for commands. The researchers call this interface the "i-Mouse."

GlobalFoundries extends grants to Singapore students
ARM, Tencent Games team up to improve mobile gaming


News | Products | Design Features | Regional Roundup | Tech Impact