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Sometimes referred to as a "White Noise System", a sound masking system emits low-level, non-distracting masking noise designed to reduce speech intelligibility and thereby improve speech privacy as well as improve on lowering the amount of distractive noises that reduce our concentration and productivity.

A typical sound masking (white noise) system consists of a masking noise generator, an equalizer, one or more power amplifiers and a group of special loudspeakers installed above a drop ceiling.  Well designed room acoustics are an important component of a successful masking system.
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Atlas Sound's
Guide to Sound Masking
  (download PDF)

sound masking
Benefits of Sound Masking

The economic benefits of sound masking vary with each application but can be very significant.

Consider a large insurance company selling life insurance over the telephone.  Many times each day, an agent will ask a prospective client for financial and health information.  The insurance companies must maintain a reasonable degree of confidentiality for this kind of information. Another application and the most common, is the open office plan, aka the 'cubicle' environment. 
In both applications, not only is privacy an issue, but concentration is more difficult due in large part to the surrounding noise.  The conversations of others, telephones ringing, office machinery and other audible distractions can cause an increase in mistakes, less productivity, job stress and more.  How this may affect a company is obvious.

One solution is to construct a private office for each person.  Not a low cost option.

A lower cost solution is an open plan office with well designed acoustics and a sound masking system.  This kind of environment can achieve normal privacy, yet still maintain the flexibility of the open plan office. 
Open Office EnvironmentsConference RoomsExam RoomsCourt RoomsDoctors OfficesLaw OfficesGovernment Offices

Military FacilitiesLaw Enforcement OfficesClassified & Confidential AreasCounselorsFinancial Institutions

What is Sound Masking?