What is Sound Masking? The Best Noise Control System Debunked
You know when you walk into a busy restaurant and you hear everyone enjoying themselves? You can tell that people are talking and laughing, but you can’t make out what they are saying or which person is is leading the conversation. That’s basically what sound masking does… you know there are voices but you can’t tell exactly what they are saying or who is speaking.
We are all familiar with systems used to decrease sound- an office fan or white noise machine are pretty common. However, these traditional white and pink noise controls are just that, noise. They simply add sound on top of sound instead of actually diminishing the base issue of noise. Sound masking is specifically engineered to match the frequencies of human speech and to sound comfortable to the human ear. Instead of just adding to the sounds of the day, sound masking increases acoustic privacy, protects communication, and reduces noise-related distractions.
More effective than walls, sound masking was actually first developed in the 1960’s and is recognized as a viable and safe technology for reducing noise.Technological advances have allowed sound masking designs to become more sophisticated and effective; but the basic approach has not changed. The system uses specialized electronics and speakers that distribute a broadband sound throughout a space. While sound-reducing panels and walls can also help with sound control, they don’t decrease a lot of people’s speech since most commercial businesses have ceiling tiles that only cover the electrical and ventilation and don’t go all the way to the top. That space is completely open and is why voices can travel so easily in a office building. This is a big reason why conference rooms and offices actually tend to be the least secure places… the doors and walls give a false sense of privacy.
Research shows people can become more stressed when exposed to certain noises (like office sounds) repeatedly over time. We all have that one person who clearly wants everyone to know when they’re on the phone and doesn’t seem to care about what the rest of the office is doing. Sound masking fixes that which is why is used in so many places… from homes, commercial offices, medical facilities, courtrooms, and anywhere else that needs to be secured or just quite. Not feeling frustrated at work or that you must move in order to find a quite area also improves motivation and and productivity when sound masking is used in work environments.
Noise-control is definitely something all businesses should look into… let us know if you have more questions or if you think sound masking is right for you and your company.