Sound Masking is the process of adding unobtrusive background sound to reduce noise distractions, protect speech privacy and increase comfort within the environment to allow collaborative and individual work spaces to co-exist.
You may have experienced something like the sound masking effect when running water at the kitchen sink while trying to talk to someone in the next room or while at the beach and trying to listen to a conversation on the next blanket. You can tell the other person is speaking, but it’s difficult to comprehend what they’re saying because the running water and crashing waves have raised the background sound level in your area.
Distractions in the workplace can come in a variety of forms. Loud phone conversations, collaborative talk, an impromptu call for a meeting –– all of these things can break an employee’s focus.
However, some environments are so silent, so devoid of distraction that even the smallest disturbance can become a big issue. Loud, noisy environments aren’t ideal, but neither are library-quiet workspaces that make people feel self conscious.
Sound Masking is specifically engineered to cover up the frequency of human speech and make conversations less distracting. Simply put, sound masking reduces how far away conversations can be heard and understood by others. It helps achieve the right “signal to noise” ratio by raising the ambient background sound to a level called “speech privacy”. If implemented properly, sound masking should also provide comfort, improving overall concentration and boosting productivity.