Sound Masking

What is Sound Masking?

Sound masking is the process of adding a low level, unobtrusive background sounds to an environment to reduce the intelligibility of human speech and reduce noise distractions in that environment. It is a key tool to help solve the speech privacy problem.

Why Do You Need Sound Masking?

Sound masking is a critical component of acoustic design. When designing an optimal acoustic environment, a variety of elements should be considered to address noise control and speech privacy. Elements added either Absorb, Block, or Cover sound.

  • Absorb - (Acoustic wall panels, carpets, and ceiling tiles help absorb excess sound) 
  • Block   - (Solid barriers, partitions, and walls help block excess sound) 
  • Cover  - (Sound masking helps cover up excess sound) 

How Does Sound Masking Work?

  • Sound masking is barely noticeable and sounds similar to airflow, but it’s specifically tuned to the frequency and amplitude of human speech to make speech less intelligible.
  • The sound is introduced through speakers installed in the ceiling, creating a blanket of sound.
  • Sound masking typically reduces the area where speech is intelligible and distracting from upwards of 50 feet to around 15 feet.
  • Workers can still collaborate with their neighbors but are no longer being distracted by conversations on the other side of the office. 

Noise Distractions Cost Money

Researchers found that on average, employees wasted 21.5 minutes (4%) per day due to conversational distractions². Some studies found that this number can be as high as 86 minutes a day! Even using conservative estimates, this loss of productivity adds up to big monetary losses for companies.​

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