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Managing Noise Distractions in the Workplace

The modern day work environment is full of distractions that can tempt even the most focused employees away from their daily tasks. According to The Cost of Interrupted Work: More Speed and Stress conference paper, the average employee is interrupted by speech every 11 minutes and wastes approximately 21.5 minutes of each working day as a result of such distractions.
Reducing office noise and noise exposure has a number of benefits for the workers within. Fewer distractions don’t just mean better productivity but increased office comfort company-wide, but how can a work environment with reduced noise and noise exposure be realised?
Sound masking is fast becoming a popular technique adopted by employers looking to reduce noise within their own workplaces and architects designing new buildings destined for commercial use. As a leading provider of AV technology, we thought we’d take a closer look at the facts behind this increasingly popular noise management tactic.

What exactly is sound masking?

Sound masking involves the addition of ambient background sounds to improve office acoustics. This background sound is created by special digital generators, which carefully engineer audio to complement the frequency of human speech. After being created by the generator, the background sound is distributed via a network of unseen speakers positioned throughout the office area.
There is a special art to sound masking and acoustic design. Generally, the background sound can be utilised to either Absorb, Block or Cover to unlock a range of advantages for commercial clients.

How can sound masking improve work life?

Sound masking delivers a cost effective and efficient way of limiting noise distractions within open and closed office spaces, particularly when compared with more traditional sound masking methods such as the use of absorbing materials and blocking structures. In addition to creating working conditions that enhance productivity and improve morale, sound masking can be used to boost privacy. With the right acoustic design, sound masking can be specially engineered to protect private conversations as well as cover sound.
By utilising sound masking, clients can enjoy quieter working spaces thanks to the increase of ambient noise within the environment. Whilst sound masking technology does not cancel sound or speech noise completely it does limit how far away both can be heard and understood thus reducing the radius of distraction significantly.

Is sound masking loud?

In short – no! If used correctly, sound masking isn’t noticeable and sounds very much like the gentle flow of air. The ambient background sounds produced using sound masking techniques are specially engineered to be in tune with your workplace, and as a result blend in to contribute to the general ambience while unlocking the benefits mentioned above.

How does sound masking differ from white noise?

Sound masking is often mentioned in the same breath as white noise, but the two are very different. Unlike white noise, which once amplified would be incredibly difficult and unpleasant to listen to, sound masking works with, not against, the frequencies of human speech. The result is sound that improves office comfort and is pleasant to human ears.
Finding out more about sound masking couldn’t be easier, contact our specialist team for guidance on 01442 620 078 or email