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Sound Masking 101: What’s The Difference Between Sound Masking And White Noise?

Posted 9 months ago

Sound masking is all the rage in today’s open concept offices. Maybe you’re not even aware that one has been installed in your office. After all, that’s the beauty of the technology, to be almost invisible. But what exactly is sound masking, and how is it different from white noise?

Sound Masking vs. White Noise

Sound masking and white noise are two very different approaches to the same problem. Audible distractions can be a pain in the workplace. Whether its speech, typing, air conditioning or other environmental noise, these distractions can cost employers thousands when it comes to workplace productivity.

Some people’s first thought when it comes to canceling out unwanted sound is to add background noise. It’s a simple prospect: Add unstructured sound over the definitive profiles of speech or other distractions to drown them out. The problem with white noise, however, is that it functions linearly. White noise has a sound profile all its own, so at a volume loud enough to drown out other noises it can become distracting itself. Think of how grating the sound of radio static is when it’s played at a considerable volume. If your office is already fraught with noise distractions, adding the appropriate amount of white noise to try and cancel them out can actually make for more noise.

Sound masking is a much more intelligent solution compared to white noise. Just like your noise-canceling headphones, a sound masking system takes in ambient sound, analyzes the frequency, and counters it by adding an opposing frequency of sound to effectively flatten it. Unlike white noise, sound masking has no inherent sound of its own as it’s meant to correspond with the more structured sound in a space.

Sound masking systems are also a comprehensive solution. They can be hidden in ceilings or floors, and when properly installed, the entire space will have a constant sound field to reduce noise pollution. To get the same effects with white noise, each noise source would need a separate white noise generator. Not only is white noise less efficient than sound masking, but it can also be costly to get the same results as a comprehensive sound masking system.

Discover What Sound Masking Can Do For You

If you’re in the market for a sound masking system for your business, or you just want to know how to make your office less prone to noise distractions, contact C1C today to explore your options.

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