Soft dB Sound Masking System for Open and Closed Offices

An office space is a dynamic environment where background sound and noise distractions fluctuate throughout the day. Office noise is disruptive and causes employee dissatisfaction. On busy days, noise from speech builds up, so employees talk louder and louder to be heard, making the problem worse.

And it's not just too much noise that causes problems for office workers. An over-quiet workplace with low background sound reduces speech privacy and acoustic comfort. When a room's ambient sound level is too low, human voices and incidental noises travel unhindered across the space. Private conversations and phone calls are clearly overheard by everyone. At your desk, you get interrupted by chatter from neighboring workstations. You can even hear clearly through closed doors. Some offices are so quiet that a dropped pencil on a hard floor becomes a source of distraction... Meanwhile, as distractions increase, concentration decreases, and productivity declines.

Fortunately, the problems created by too much distracting noise and not enough ambient sound can be solved with sound masking. Sound masking is a neutral, virtually inaudible sound introduced in the work environment. A carefully engineered, low background sound layer is produced by speakers, typically installed in the plenum space, above the ceiling tiles. Subtly raising the background sound level with sound masking covers most sound distractions. Employees are not aware of the sound masking, except for the relief it provides. Distractions are muffled out, speech privacy is increased and acoustic comfort is significantly enhanced.

In an open plan office, employees can be distracted by conversations happening as far as 45 feet away. Sound masking greatly reduces that radius of distraction, by muffling conversations and reducing the intelligibility of speech. It becomes much easier to concentrate so productivity increases.

In closed offices, sound masking makes it possible to reduce construction costs. Achieving desired level of confidentiality between private offices typically requires that the walls be built up to the deck, which is very expensive. Meanwhile, if the walls only extend to the suspended ceiling, in an attempt of save money, speech will still travel from one office to the other through the plenum space. Sound masking makes it possible to have the walls extend only up to the suspended ceiling while achieving appropriate confidentiality between offices. This makes the retroffiting of existing office spaces easier and definitely cheaper.

It should be noted that more and more office spaces do not have suspended ceilings as open ceilings are gaining popularity in almost every field. In the absence of drop ceiling tiles, the speakers are gracefully integrated into the exposed ceiling design and the masking sound they generate remains equally as effective.

In any given office space, the noise level changes throughout the day. Background sound and peak sound levels fluctuate constantly based on how busy or quiet things get. Each channel of our sound masking controllers is equipped with an independent active volume control allowing connection with specially engineered noise sensors. These noise sensors can be installed in each covered zone where independent adaptive volume adjustment is desired. Each sensor measures the ambient disturbing noise and the corresponding controller unit automatically adjusts its masking sound volume accordingly. Our sound masking system is the only one on the market to feature real-time adaptive adjustment of masking sound volume, thereby providing an optimum speech privacy level and unequalled acoustic comfort throughout the day, regardldess of how loud or quiet the work environment gets.