Acoustical Sound Masking

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Sound Masking Technology

Sound masking systems generate background sound frequencies that neutralize noise so it does not distract workers. Typically these distractions are nearby:

  • office conversations
  • beeping fax machines
  • computer alerts
  • printer and postage meter noises
  • ringing phones
  • speaker phone conversations
  • blaring radios and CD players
  • other noises that interrupt concentration

Nearly 8 out of 10 employees believe they could be more productive in a quieter environment. Noise reduction reduces stress and improves employee morale. In addition, sound masking prevents private information from being overheard by the wrong person.

While many offices utilize fabrics, flooring, and ceiling tiles to absorb sound, this often is undermined by furnishings and workers who personalize their offices with reflective materials. Sound masking systems utilize speakers in the ceiling plenum or open space that are designed and tuned to eliminate specific types of noise when it is traveling in the air.

Rather than drowning out the unwanted noise, sound masking literally creates a contoured, consistent broadband, low-level background sound that neutralize the distracting sounds. Systems are typically set at a sound level of NC 40, which corresponds to 48 decibels (dBA) +/- 2db. Zone output is controllable in nominal levels such as 1.5 dB increments.

Good sound masking systems assure the maximum degree of speech privacy at the lowest possible background sound. Unlike a fixed sound masking spectrum for all applications, our installations precisely fill in one-third octave band attenuation deficiencies for the specific application, and generate and contour a precise computer generated sound masking spectrum for optimum performance. Acoustical privacy is accomplished by a combination of voice levels, sound attenuation, and background levels. The sound attenuation factor is a property of the building structure and cannot be changed, once installed. The background sound levels are set with a masking sound spectrum that is designed to complement the sound attenuating factors such that a specific degree of privacy is obtained.