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Should You Use Sound Masking in Your AV Installation?

Should You Use Sound Masking in Your AV Installation?


Do you remember the movie “Wall Street?” The first one, of course, from 1987. You might recall the noisy bullpen scene with the frenzy of stockbrokers cold calling for clients. Who wants to work in that noisy environment?

As it turns out – this pandemic notwithstanding – many people work in relatively noisy if not quite as frenzied environments. Open office concepts have surged in popularity since the 1980s debut of Wall Street. And while today’s open offices feature many workers at computers and not working the phones, voice calls still happen, people still talk in walkways and at desks, and ambient noise is a factor in open office distraction. 

Fortunately, since the 1980s – the decade that gave us the Walkman – we have advanced audio acoustic technology well beyond the cassette that can be integrated into your Arizona workplace's existing AV systemIt’s called sound masking, and you might say it can make your office as calm as a night in the Sonoran Desert outside the lights of Scottsdale. 

SEE ALSO: Downtown Phoenix Audiovisual Installation at ASU Beus School of Law

What is Sound Masking? 

Like noise-canceling headphones, sound masking is a way of introducing a layer of background sound to reduce distraction from ambient noise, allow for small private conversations, and increase worker comfort when working quietly at an open desk. 

While it sounds like white noise, sound masking adds sound closely matched to the frequencies of human speech, which surprisingly has the effect of making your office space seem quieter. The added sound makes the speech around you less intelligible, and this is much easier to tune out. 

Is Sound Masking Like White Noise? 

To some extent, it is, but it's more sophisticated than that. Unlike other noise cancelation techniques, sound masking targets speech frequencies, making them blur into a background that reduces the brain's focus. On an airplane, the jet engine drone is distracting but does not impede concentration on other things as it becomes part of the background. Sound masking takes speech to that same background level without masking other sounds to reduce distraction. Not every space is the same, and an experienced audio-visual installer can tune sound masking equipment to reduce ambient conversations to a low hum, much like the airflow sound from an HVAC system.

How Should Sound Masking Be Used? 

Rock and roll may not be noise pollution (or so AC/DC self-servingly claimed in 1980), but too much conversation in an open office can be. Distracting noise has an impact on productivity. Chances are that post-pandemic office workers returning from the relative quiet of home offices might start hearing more noise pollution at their open desks. Sound masking can help to enable a more productive office. As an added plus, it can also aid in workplaces where confidentiality of information is important to safeguard, making it easier to have private conversations in offices that deal with financial and medical information.

Should We Just Issue Everyone Apple Airpods Pros and Call it A Day? 

It’s a tempting solution, but no. Have you noticed how many open office workers already use earphones for privacy and to avoid distraction? People tend to talk less when using earphones. Encourage your employees to interact more face-to-face with sophisticated solutions like sound masking and save the Airpods for holiday bonus presents. 

Ready to boost your workplace productivity with the latest audio and video technologyTo get startedreach out to us here or click the chatbox below to connect instantly. We look forward to working with you.  

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