Sound masking vs. white noise

Sound Masking, White Noise & Pink Noise

Sound masking is a technique used to introduce ambient noise into an environment to cover up or “mask” unwanted sounds, making them less noticeable and improving overall acoustical comfort. This is particularly useful in open office spaces or other areas where conversations and background noise can be distracting or impact privacy.

A Sound Masking Spectrum: The sound masking spectrum refers to the range of frequencies used for sound masking. These frequencies are carefully chosen to provide an optimal balance between masking effectiveness and acoustic comfort. A typical sound masking system uses frequencies between 100 Hz and 5,000 Hz, with a concentration in the 1,000 Hz to 4,000 Hz range, as these are most effective at masking human speech.

How does sound masking help offices? Sound masking is beneficial in offices for the following reasons:

Improved privacy: By reducing the intelligibility of conversations, sound masking can help maintain privacy in open office spaces.

Increased concentration: Masking distracting noises can help employees focus better on their tasks.

Reduced stress: Sound masking can create a more comfortable acoustic environment, leading to reduced stress levels for employees.

Enhanced productivity: By minimizing distractions, sound masking can lead to increased productivity among employees.

Sound masking vs. white noise

While both sound masking and white noise can be used to minimize distractions, they are not the same. White noise is a random signal with equal intensity across all frequencies, while sound masking employs a specific frequency range tailored to mask human speech. Sound masking is generally more effective and pleasant than white noise in office environments.



White Noise vs. Pink Noise

White noise and pink noise are different types of noise signals. White noise has equal energy at each frequency, resulting in a flat frequency response. Pink noise, on the other hand, has equal energy per octave, meaning it decreases in intensity as frequency increases. Pink noise often sounds more natural and is less fatiguing to the human ear, making it more suitable for sound masking purposes in some situations.



Locations where sound masking can be very effective:

  1. Open offices: To reduce distractions and improve privacy among employees.
  2. Meeting rooms and conference rooms: To prevent conversations from being overheard outside the room.
  3. Healthcare facilities: To maintain patient privacy and create a calming environment.
  4. Libraries and study spaces: To minimize distractions and create a quiet environment.
  5. Call centers: To reduce noise levels and increase employee focus.
  6. Hotels and hospitality environments: To ensure guest privacy and comfort.



Sound masking is an effective technique used to improve acoustical comfort and privacy in various environments. By using a tailored frequency range, sound masking systems are more effective and pleasant than simple white noise, making them an ideal solution for a wide range of applications.