Understanding the Importance of Sound Masking


You can’t operate your business in a space that’s as quiet as a library, or as noisy as a restaurant. You must add a little sound to get the right “signal to sound” ratio.

With the ability to hide noise, sound masking may be the solution that you’re seeking.  Sound masking is frequently used by law offices and doctors to protect the interest of their clients, and also in work places with high ambient noise.

How Does Sound Masking Work?

Sound masking smothers ambient and intrusive sounds with specific sound frequencies that produce the effect of less noise.  We may say that sound masking is all about the perception of the sounds we hear in any given environment. In short, sound masking fools the mind by flooding the ear.

Sound masking is used by architects, designers, and on site managerial personnel in environments where the sound levels are variable and essentially non-controllable. Classic examples of this would be offices (both public and private) following either an open or closed floor plan, or outdoor semi-enclosed public spaces subject to both natural and manufactured sounds.

Unlike active sound control, which focuses on neutralizing or minimizing physically and mentally harmful levels of excessive workplace noise from a specific source such as a heavy-duty industrial tool, sound masking is confronted by an entirely subjective problem:  What is sound and what is noise?

Sound vs. Noise

Noise and sound are different things to different people, depending on the environment they find themselves.  Therefore sound masking strategies and their technologies need to be highly specific to their location and mission, and yet general enough in their effects to affectively reduce noise perception for the greatest number of people, and to do so without them being consciously aware of it.

An artificial waterfall is useful to block the sounds of a nearby freeway, but can’t be installed in a working office to mask the sounds of a professional-sized copier.  It would be too excessive and too general, so people would talk louder to counteract it.

A Better Work Environment with Privacy Controls

This is the essential problem of sound masking: How can you add sound without making things louder?  The best masking systems are able to manage this problem with advanced technology, which prevents conversations from being overheard, and produces a quieter working environment at the same time.

MCC’s Audio Visual Solutions team can help your organization with any sound and noise problems you may currently be experiencing. Contact us today for a consult and demonstration.

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