What Is Sound Masking?
While most enterprises aim to create a quiet and private environment, it’s often not possible. In many office settings, the number of employees often expands faster than the physical space. In medical facilities, open floor plans prevent patient privacy. And in hotels, tightly spaced rooms amplify noise, irritating guests.
Fortunately, a cost-effective solution is available for these common scenarios. Sound masking is the addition of sound (often white noise) to cover up, or “mask,” undesired noise; the desired effect is accomplished by increasing ambient background sounds close to the level of disruptive ones. While it seems counterintuitive, adding sound to a space actually makes the area seem quieter. By deploying sound-masking techniques, enterprises can create peaceful surroundings without relocation, expensive construction or the installation of sound-blocking material.
What Is White Noise?
White noise is more than just turning on a fan or a recording of rain in the background. White noise is produced by combining equal amounts of audible sound frequencies together. When you hear thousands of frequencies all at once at a low and equal volume, your brain doesn’t notice individual noises, thus limiting distractions.
Why Do I Need Sound Masking for My Business?
- Reduces noise distractions
- Increases focus
- Enhances speech privacy
One of the most recent fads in office spaces is the open floor plan — intended to encourage collaboration and communication among employees. However, many workers find open floor plans —and their accompanying noise — to be highly distracting.
Studies show that sudden and unexpected noises are particularly jarring in the workplace. In addition, workers surrounded by distinguishable speech can experience increased stress and lowered productivity; after all, the brain automatically works hard to translate detectable words into meaning, even when it’s trying to focus on a different task. However, when ambient sound designed to be on the same frequency of human speech is added, the brain simply perceives the combined sounds as being normal and continuous instead of transient. Distant speech suddenly becomes three times more unintelligible — and therefore less disruptive.
Sound masking can be used to make up for weaknesses in the acoustical infrastructure of office buildings. If you’ve ever heard conversations in a neighboring office even with your door shut, you would benefit from artificially generated background noise.
Conference rooms are often meant to be confidential but may suffer from lightweight walls. Sound masking in conference rooms ensures your conversations are secure.
If your office has open space or cubicles, sound masking is essential. Have you ever called a customer-service department and heard the conversations of neighboring representatives in addition to your own? A white-noise machine helps eliminate this problem.
Hotels are in the business of sleep. As competition grows and profit margins shrink, hotels must take advantage of today’s technology to provide what patrons want most: a good night’s rest.
Undoubtedly, white-noise machines will make all the difference to your guests. With sound-masking technology, sensitive sleepers will rest peacefully — no longer needing to set the air conditioner on high to drown out loud televisions and conversations from nearby rooms. After all, five-star service means predicting your patrons’ needs.
White noise can create one more layer of security for your patient’s medical data, helping you meet HIPAA requirements. Sound masking makes it difficult for other individuals to eavesdrop on your private conversations that may contain sensitive information.
By adding sound masking in healthcare settings, patients are also able
to sleep better, resulting in an improvement of medical outcomes.
Sound masking and white noise can also help reduce distractions in educational settings, such as libraries, student centers, classrooms and other study spaces. You may not have even noticed that your local library is using sound masking to maintain a distraction-free setting.
Instead of using indistinguishable frequencies, many stores use background music as a type of sound masking. The goal is similar — to produce a background noise to distract you from all the other noises and conversations around you.
The right music has been proven to drive customer-buying behavior and enhance the customer experience. At TelWare, we won’t help you pick the music, but we’ll install the infrastructure needed for overhead music, white noise, and paging.