To answer this question, you must first understand the ABC’s of masking sound which are explained in a previous blog that can be read HERE.
Once you understand the differences between Absorbing (A), Blocking (B), and Covering (C) sound, we can get into the differences in more detail. For example, methods of absorbing sound such as acoustic ceiling tiles, acoustic wall panels, and carpet are 73% effective in increasing the privacy index. Blocking methods such as cubicle partitions and constructing walls are 81% effective. But covering sound with a sound masking system is the most effective at 87%.
Now, you might think that combining methods would further increase privacy and you’d be correct. But at what cost?
Adding physical materials to absorb sound (acoustical tiles, wall panels, carpet, etc…) generally costs between $2 and $4 per square foot. Cubicles and walls not only create visually unappealing obstructions, they are an expensive method of creating speech privacy at $3 - $5 per square foot. So even if you were to use both methods as a hybrid solution, it is a fair assumption that your overall privacy index may average out to around 77%.
In comparison, with a privacy index of 87%, an AtlasIED sound masking system costs around $1 - $2 per square foot.
Sound masking systems are the most effective, most affordable, and most versatile solution for creating speech privacy, reducing noise distractions, increasing productivity, and improving employee comfort and satisfaction.
The CBA Method
So while we talk about the ABC’s of sound masking, CBA may be a better approach. First, cover the sound with the most effective and least expensive method, a sound masking system. Then use physical blocking and absorbing methods to further enhance workplace acoustics where needed. Best practice when creating optimal office acoustics includes prudent use of all three methods.
For other sound masking related blog articles, CLICK HERE.