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Sound masking is the process of adding a low level of unobtrusive background sound to an environment, engineered to protect confidentiality and reduce distractions by reducing the intelligibility of speech, thus making the acoustical environment more comfortable.
When designing an optimal acoustic environment, architects consider a variety of elements to address noise control and speech privacy. These elements either absorb, block or cover sound, and are collectively called the ABC’s of acoustic design.
All of the ABC’s of acoustic design can be used together or individually to achieve the desired acoustic environment, but absorbing and blocking materials are costly and underused.
Sound masking, on the other hand, is a low-cost option for creating acoustical environments that both reduce noise distractions and increase speech privacy.
Furniture & construction trends
Modern trends in construction and office furniture design mean many of the traditional absorbing and blocking features have been reduced.
Open office environments have become desirable, employee density has increased resulting in more people within an employees’ radius of distraction.
Additionally, partition heights have been lowered, or removed all together, and more reflective surfaces like glass are typically used. Even enclosed offices have greater challenges with the use of demountable walls, fewer walls extending to the ceiling deck and the use of glass walls.
These trends have created acoustic challenges that are most successfully and cost-effectively met using sound masking solutions.
How does sound masking work?
Signal to noise ratio
The greater the ratio between the signal (the source of distracting sound) and the noise (the background ambient sound), the clearer the signal will be. A sound masking system works by raising the ambient sound and reducing the ratio.
4 elements to sound masking
There are four elements to the design of a sound masking system; uniformity, zoning, sound spectrum and sound level. Call 01438 940717 to discuss the details of your requirement today.