According to the Framework for Understanding Effortful Listening (FUEL), adverse listening conditions deplete the cognitive resources available for other tasks. For example, in a noisy classroom, students may not be able to devote their full cognitive capacity to learning. This may be a particular problem for second language learners. In an experiment, 20 international exchange students, performed a Swedish visual rhyme task in quiet and in noise. The rhyme task required the activation of phonological representations of Swedish but on average the exchange students had been learning Swedish as a second language in Sweden for only 3 months. T-testing showed that the exchange students had poorer Swedish vocabulary and lexical access skills than a Swedish comparison group but similar cognitive skills. Unexpectedly, repeated measures ANOVA showed no statistically significant effect of noise on visual Swedish rhyme judgment and no significant interaction between noise condition and group. This suggests that phonological processing based on pre-existing representations is protected from the deleterious effects of adverse listening conditions, even when those representations are incompletely established in second language learners.