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What is speech privacy? Simply put, it’s the inability of an unintended listener to understand outside conversations. So, someone with a lack of speech privacy is overhearing lots of conversations they shouldn’t be and is also concerned that their conversation is being overheard by others.
Most workplaces use open plan desks to allow staff to work collaboratively, reserving only a small number of cellular offices and meeting rooms for private working. Add to this, less sound absorptive materials are being used such as lower or non-existent partitions, hard or glass surfaces, and thinner walls and doors. This creates acoustical challenges that negatively impact workplace satisfaction, productivity, and speech privacy.
Sound Masking is the process of adding a low level of unobtrusive background sound to an environment. This is engineered to protect confidentiality and reduce distractions by dipping the intelligibility of speech, thus making the acoustical environment more comfortable.
How does Sound Masking work?
Adding Sound Makes Speech Less Intelligible
Adding sound to a space makes the space seem quieter. This is because the added sound reduces the intelligibility of human speech. When you can’t understand what someone is saying, their words are less distracting. By adding sound to an environment (such as professionally engineered sounds that sound similar to water flowing or airflow) you help mask the other noises in the environment, making them less distracting. Once masking is added, it becomes more challenging to understand conversations from across the room, and thus makes it less likely that conversations will distract you.