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The Importance of COMFORT in Sound Masking Systems

by David Smith

All sound masking companies have the ability to create speech privacy. By producing a sound greater than the ambient background noise, typically around 47 decibels, you have the ability to mask indirect speech. So what is the most defining criteria when selecting a sound masking system? The consumable – what you are truly paying for, is the sound itself. Therefore, it is the quality of COMFORT that should weigh the most in the decision factors of a masking system.

Lencore has produced two short videos, the first on the impact of Experiencing the Comfort of a quality sound masking system and the second on Lencore’s Green Sound and how it differentiates us from others in the same space.

And, Lencore has taken it a step further to help define the criteria that needs exist in order to generate a comfortable sound. These criteria are:

  • Full Broad Band Sound – the origin of the sound should cover the full spectrum from 65 hz to 13 Khz. Systems that only deliver a portion of the  spectrum cause fatigue and discomfort. Comfort quality comes from a full broad band spectrum.
  • Wrap Around – Sound masking should be non-repetitive. If something has a pattern or a repeat, like a flickering light, our brains pick it up as information which in turn fatigues us.
  • Multiple Noise Sources – multiple noise sources create randomness which, in turn, creates comfort to our minds and bodies.
  • Uniformity – a sound must be consistent and level throughout a space. Hot and cold spots make sound masking noticeable and distracting. A sound masking system must have a tolerance of +/- 1 dB.
  • Tuning Flexibility – a sound masking system should allow you the flexibility to adjust it in order to meet the criteria of privacy and comfort. Individuals have preferences and therefore a system should allow both volume and contour adjustments to be made easily

As you think about your space and the comfort of the environment, take into account the key criteria and the true consumables that you are purchasing. Know that the productivity of the people that fill the space is the most important factor for the organization. But, it is the comfort of the employee which will help to retain them and allow them to excel.