Noise is distracting.

Companies want to foster communication, collaboration, and community. But the confines of the building cause problems. The sounds of one team charging ahead on a project often slow down the progress of another. What’s the solution for this ongoing tug-of-war?

A sound masking system for offices.


What Is Sound Masking?

Sound masking is a solution that helps control the acoustics of a space. 

Hard surfaces, open areas, and high ceilings are all common elements of an office that help sound travel much further than anticipated. Private conversations quickly become public.

A sound masking system limits those conversations and other unwanted noises from carrying throughout the room. Coworkers can discuss, socialize, and talk on the phone without distracting others nearby.

This is especially valuable in industries that prioritize privacy. Topics like finances and healthcare shouldn’t reach unintended ears.


What Does Sound Masking Sound Like?

When sound masking is done well, you can truly hear the difference.

Simple Sound Masking Systems For Offices

There’s no one, singular approach to sound masking. At a basic level, the addition of carpet and other plush surfaces can help dampen sound. 

Another solution is to pump extra noise into a space. Sound machines, white noise, and pink noise are all common examples. Instead of removing or lessening unwanted sound, the goal is to prevent noise from carrying by drowning it out.

However, these sorts of solutions have limitations. Sound machines are not equally effective throughout a room. The further you move away from it, the less sound it masks. They’re also less effective at masking the sound of people who speak in a lower tone compared to people who speak in a higher tone.

Simple sound masking may also have unintended consequences. Consider a doctor’s office. Just walking into that building is enough to fill some people with anxiety. Their heart rate increases. Hissing white noise then adds an extra layer of agitation. When the time comes to measure that individual’s heart rate, it could be higher than normal.

Custom Sound Masking Systems For Offices

A custom sound masking system takes a more comprehensive approach. 

Audio visual experts like CSD take time to understand you, your space, and your goals. With that foundation in mind, tools like emitters, panels, and specific frequencies work together to achieve the desired result. Coworkers are free to collaborate without distracting others.

The sign of a great system is when people forget just how well it’s working.

In office spaces, a sound masking system will both absorb sound and emit ambient noise. The sound is similar to an HVAC system. You may notice it at first, but that background noise quickly fades from your mind.

In any large project, it’s not just about acoustics. The aesthetics matter, too. Instead of clashing with the existing design, a well-crafted system can blend in with or even enhance a space. The last thing you want is to fix an audio issue only to create a visual one.

Sound Masking In Action

Recently, CSD had the opportunity to design and install a custom sound masking system for a large, converted office space.

When Do It Best, a hardware, lumber, and building materials cooperative headquartered in Fort Wayne, moved into their office, they knew sound would be an issue. The brick and concrete building featured plenty of high ceilings. Sound would bounce and carry further than anyone wanted.

“One of the biggest apprehensions that our team had coming from our old space to this space was it’s going to be too loud. It’s going to be too noisy,” said Randy Rusk, Communications Director at Do It Best.

CSD pieced together a sound masking system that included nearly 800 emitters and a scientifically-derived set of frequencies that were structured to mute the human voice. The results were truly impressive. Effective sound masking allowed Do It Best to retain talent and literally break down walls to encourage collaboration.

“At the end of the day, this technology allows us to do it best,” said Rusk.


If you have any questions about sound masking for offices, contact CSD.

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