Abstract Occupational noise exposure has been linked with a range of negative health effects, with recent research emphasizing the need to understand the full context of sound events in explaining these relationships. An emerging theme within environmental psychology argues that physical features of the environment might work both directly on outcomes and interactively with either psychosocial work elements. In the present study, the interaction of noise with psychosocial job stress was explored for 128 office workers employed by a government agency in a city in the Midlands region of the UK. The results showed no direct effect of ambient noise levels upon job satisfaction, well-being or organizational commitment. However, lower levels of ambient noise were found to buffer the negative impact of psychosocial job stress upon these same three outcomes. Psychosocial job stress is, therefore, seen as a valuable heuristic in operationazing the context of sound events at work.