Can’t focus on work when there’s too much noise? Noise doesn’t only decrease productivity, it can also have adverse health effects due to added stress!
Sound masking is the best way to keep your focus and concentration on the task at hand.
It is a specially engineered sound that cancels out noises. It reduces interruptions and helps lower the stress levels of employees by creating a more relaxed environment for them to work in.
Considering sound masking in your office? Read on to learn more about how it works and what it can do for you.
How Does Sound Masking Work?
Sound masking works by introducing background noise that is louder than the target sound. This can be achieved by playing white noise, which is a sound with equal energy per octave, or by using background music with low volume.
The target sound, such as human speech, will then be masked by the background noise and will not be heard as clearly as it would if there was no background noise present.
For example, if you are in an office environment and you want to mask your conversation with your colleague from other people’s ears, you can use sound masking techniques like playing white noise or lowering the volume of your music player so that they cannot hear what you are talking about.
Sound masking can also be used to block out environmental noise. If your office environment is near a busy highway or train track, you can use masking to decrease the noise coming from these sources.
Masking can be as simple as an ambient white or pink noise machine in an office. If you need an office-wide solution, a specialized sound masking system is your best bet.
Types of Sound Masking
There are different types of sound masking. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks. Before you decide on the best type of sound masking for you, consult with an audio-visual professional.
The most common type of masking noise is white noise, which is a random signal with equal energy per octave. This type of noise has been shown to be more effective in reducing unwanted speech sounds than pink noise. Human speech frequencies are in the mid and upper frequencies.
Pink noise is similar to white noise. It is a broadband noise that covers 20-20000 hertz. However, while white noise frequencies are equally divided across that spectrum, pink noise is louder in the low frequencies and softer in the highs.
This makes pink noise a better solution for office environments that need to block outside noises. These noises, such as vehicle traffic, are more prevalent in the low end of the frequency spectrum.
Other Ambient Sounds
If the idea of playing static white or pink noise does not appeal to you, don’t worry! Sound masking systems can also play other ambient sounds such as beach noises, rain, forest sounds, and more.
These ambient sound backgrounds function just like white or pink noise. However, they are a lot more pleasant and natural to listen to.
Sound Masking Versus Acoustic Treatment
Sound masking is often used in open offices to help block out noise and create a more productive work environment. Acoustic treatment, on the other hand, is used to control the sound within a room.
Keep in mind that sound masking is not the same as acoustic treatment. If you are dealing with a noisy environment and want to reduce the overall amount of noise, you might want to consider treating your space for acoustics.
Acoustic treatment is the process of reducing the amount of sound that reverberates in a room. Acoustic treatment is often used to control noise and sound, as well as to improve speech intelligibility.
The acoustic treatment can be done by using different materials, such as acoustical panels, curtains, and carpeting, that absorb sound waves. By absorbing sound waves, acoustic solutions help to reduce the overall noise in a space.
You can combine acoustic treatments and sound masking solutions. In fact, this is often preferable. Acoustic treatment can make private conversations easier to hear, while sound masking can contribute to overall noise and reflections in a space.
By combining the two solutions, you can tailor your sound masking system to the needs of your office environment.
What are the Benefits of Sound Masking Solutions?
Sound masking is an effective way to keep your employees more focused and productive. Many people get distracted by conversations and general office bustle, so reducing the intelligibility of speech is a great way to increase focus.
Reducing noise from an unideal office environment location is another benefit of sound masking. Noisy trains, transit, and street noise can be just as distracting as the sounds coming from inside the office.
Another huge benefit of sound masking is increasing privacy. If you have a meeting or conference that you would rather people outside of the room not hear, sound masking can help to cover it up. By making speech unintelligible, you can ensure more privacy for sensitive meetings.
How To Choose The Right Sound Masking Solution
Is your office environment struggling with distracting noise or privacy concerns? Sound masking may be the solution for you.
While you could go out and buy a white noise machine, the most effective sound masking solutions come from a reputable and knowledgeable professional company.
Communications Solutions offers a wide range of audio and visual solutions for your office, including sound masking. Our sound masking systems come from Lencore, a trusted name in audio.