The concept of the “open office” has taken off in recent years, promising companies’ easier collaboration and improved communication and camaraderie. However, according to data cited by NBC News, “noise pollution in offices has reached ‘epidemic levels,’ with 63% of employees stating that they lack quiet space for work.”
Whether in an office environment with an open floor plan, a school office, or in a hospital ward, individuals requiring one-to-one conversations in their facilities often lack sufficient speech privacy. Furthermore, excessive noise has been linked to increased medical errors and burnout among healthcare employees, as well as increased recovery time for patients and poor ratings on patient satisfaction surveys.
Sound masking involves the use of a series of digital sound generators (similar to white noise generators) that interferes with the transmission of sound over a large area. Unlike white noise generators, however, the sound waves made by sound masking digital generators will go virtually unnoticed by employees, yet dramatically decrease how far audible speech will travel. This is because masking systems are designed to match human speech frequencies, whereas white noise pushes sounds at all frequencies, which can be distracting.
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