Does Sound Masking Have a Color?


Sound masking system with colorful waves and words

Pink, white, green, blue…brown? It may be the case that when sound is used to increase speech privacy and reduce distractions, that we simply call it sound masking. Sound masking is the introduction of a low level, unobtrusive sound that is delivered through a grid of speakers throughout the workspace. These speakers can be hidden or visible, depending on the ceiling type.

While pink noise and white noise are more common terms, neither of them in their raw form are pleasant. Most listeners refer to them as annoying. The sound masking sound, or spectra is designed to target the speech octave bands such that speech becomes unintelligible. Decades of experience and millions upon million of square footage covered prove that there is one sound that is not only most accepted by building occupants, but most effective.

The recent push to introduce the sounds of nature, or biophilic sounds is one that introduces the risk of subjective reactions of individual building occupants. While birds chirping may be soothing, they may also be annoying, or for individuals on the autism spectrum, troubling. It is the case that while the novelty of biophilic sounds is inviting, the implementation comes with risk. One safe option would entail the installation of the tried and proven solution that sound masking offers, and then to simply add the desired bird chirping or waterflow atop the masking signal. AtlasIED systems offer this option.

AtlasIED sound masking systems are all designed to fill each functional space in the workplace including lobbies, corridors, and both open and private offices. While color may help conceptualize, physics and human nature tell us that sound masking done right is simply sound masking.

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