The VoiceArrest™ Sound Masking System by Speech Privacy Systems is one of the most effective sound masking systems available on the market today. VoiceArrest™ has the flexibility to provide privacy in offices as small as 50 sq. ft. to multi-story facilities with custom configurations to match your acoustic environment.
Sound masking is the process of introducing ambient background noise to an office or facility in order to decrease the clarity of traveling sounds. Ideally, if you can hear a colleague talking from down the hall, your office is a good candidate for a sound masking system.
Introducing sound masking to your facility can accomplish two primary objectives:
- Privacy is increased due to the lack of traveling voices and sounds
- Comfort and focus levels can increase as a result of the white noise produced
The Science Behind It
Sound masking works on the principle that when background noise is added to an environment, speech is less intelligible. In technical terms, the Articulation Index – a measurement of how intelligible speech is – has been lowered by this change in the signal-to-noise ratio. The signal would be, for example, the person speaking, and the noise would be the sound masking. A high signal-to-noise ratio means that speech is very intelligible – an amphitheater would have a very high Articulation Index. This is what a white noise system does to mask sound. It basically fills in the sound spectrum around you with barely perceptible, unstructured noise. Structured noise is the sound of speech or music that have recognizable patterns and convey information. Unstructured noise is quite the opposite, it’s noise that we cannot decipher and so our brains automatically don’t focus on it in favor of searching for more structured noise. For example, when you turn on your computer you hear the cooling fan begin to spin. A few minutes, or even seconds later it no longer sounds like the fan is spinning. That’s because your brain tuned it out since it wasn’t of any importance.
The goal of any speech privacy system is to add enough sound to an area to cover up speech, yet still be quiet enough to be almost imperceptible. Quality sound masking systems will produce sound that your mind naturally tunes out. The more uniformly the sound masking system accomplishes this throughout the treated area, the more invisible the unstructured noise becomes.
Uniform Sound Masking
If your facility has a specific area requiring sound masking (i.e. hallway, conference rooms, lobby, etc.) we can treat the trouble areas.
Zoned Sound Masking
If your facility requires sound masking and there are different areas needing treatment (i.e. offices and hallway, conference room and lobby, etc.) then we can adapt the sound masking system to treat each area accordingly.
Sound Masking versus Sound Cancellation
Sound cancellation is a form of active noise control where incoming sound waves are electronically altered. It is an involved process that is much easier to implement via noise cancelling headphones on an airplane or in a library than it is in an office. A sound cancellation system would be incredibly expensive to adapt to an open office setting.
Since sound masking covers the sound rather than cancelling it, sound masking systems treat the destination rather than the source of the sound. For instance, if you were concerned that sound was traveling out of an HR conference room to an adjacent office area, you would treat that office area (the destination) rather than the conference room (the source). Ultimately, you treat the place where the sound is heard rather than the place where it originates, which is the primary distinction between sound masking and sound cancellation.
For more information on sound masking or VoiceArrest™ feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 800.943.7675