Sound masking is the addition of natural or artificial sound (white noise) into an environment to cover up or hide unwanted sounds using auditory masking. Sound masking reduces or eliminates the awareness of pre-existing sounds and can make work environments more comfortable, while creating speech privacy.
Sound masking is used anywhere speech privacy or speech confidentiality is desired and in any workspace to reduce distractions and improve productivity. The most typical installations are open office plans, private offices, public spaces, and institutional settings such as medical facilities where HIPAA and GLBA regulations are of concern.
When an office space is too quiet, hearing a pin drop can break concentration. Conversely, when an office is too noisy the conversations of co-workers are distracting and affect productivity. Installing a sound masking system is the first and most cost-effective step to improving speech privacy – rendering private conversations unintelligible by nearby listeners – and creating an environment with fewer distractions.
Axiom Solutions provides dynamic sound masking systems that can
adjust to intruding sound levels. Masking can vary from location to
location as well as time of day and adapt to changing environmental
conditions. The result is a more comfortable, secure, and productive
work environment with reduced distractions and increased speech privacy.
Private offices and other enclosed spaces, while appearing to provide
privacy, often do not. Frequently the walls are of lightweight
materials or extend only to the ceiling tiles and not all the way to the
ceiling deck. Often these decisions are made for cost reasons and for
flexibility of reconfiguring the office space. Adding a system to a
private office greatly improves speech privacy by rendering private
conversations completely unintelligible to listeners in the adjacent
office, hallway or at the water cooler.
Sound masking can be explained by analogy with light. Imagine a dark room where someone is turning a flashlight on and off. The light is very obvious and distracting. Now imagine that room with the lights turned on. The flashlight is still being turned on and off, but is no longer noticeable because it has been “masked.”
Sound masking is a similar process of covering a distracting sound with a more soothing or less intrusive sound.