Sound Masking Systems FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Sound Masking Systems

Sound masking systems have been used successfully in work spaces in the U.S. since the 1960s. Thanks to advances in technology, sound masking systems are more sophisticated and effective than ever before, yet the basic concept has not changed: specialized technologies are used to control speakers, which transmit a broadband sound throughout a space.

Building Systems Solutions has been in the sound masking industry since 2003, so we understand that for some people, sound masking sounds too good (and kind of weird) to be true! If you’d like to experience an on-site demonstration, please reach out to us via phone or email.

What is sound masking?

Sound masking is a technology that involves adding ambient background sound to an office or space to reduce or mask noise distractions, protect private conversations, and create a more comfortable environment. Sound masking does not “cancel out” other sounds. It is an inconspicuous sound that is engineered to match the frequencies of human speech.

Who Needs Sound Masking?

Our large and growing customer base is made up of clients in a diverse range of industries. Industries and offices that can benefit from sound masking include:

  • Financial Services
  • Health Care
  • Insurance
  • Hotels
  • Governments
  • Institutions
  • Call Centers
  • Architects and Designers
  • General Contractors
  • Professional Services
  • Offices

To receive more information on our speech privacy testing services or to book a testing, please give us a call at 763-502-1515, or fill out our contact form here.

Does sound masking work?

Yes! While it sounds counterintuitive, adding background sound to a space actually makes the room seem quieter. The added ambient sound makes human speech hard or even impossible to understand, so you can’t hear conversations from 15 or 20 feet away. When you can’t make out what people are saying, their words become less distracting. In fact, most people won’t even notice outside conversations when a sound masking system is present.

How is sound masking different than white noise?

Although sound masking is often referred to as “white noise,” the sounds are quite different, scientifically speaking. Sound masking systems are engineered to produce sound that matches the frequencies of human speech. When done properly, sound masking is basically unnoticeable; it fades into the background sounds of the space.

White noise combines sounds of all different frequencies together. If you took all of the possible tones that the human ear can hear and combined them, you’d get white noise.

Because sound masking matches the frequencies of human speech only, most people find it to be more comfortable and effective than white noise for eliminating distractions.

Wait, so what is pink noise?

The colors attributed to noise refer to the different frequencies audible to the human ear that make up that noise. Just like white light is made up of all the colors of the rainbow we can see, white noise is made up of all the tones that the human ear can hear. A good example of white noise is the static you hear on a fuzzy television channel.

Pink noise is white noise, but it doesn’t have equal power across all frequencies audible to the human ear. Instead, pink noise has reduced higher frequencies. Think of the sound of rainfall or wind. For most people, it’s a bit more soothing than white noise.

There are other colors of sound, including blue, gray, and brown, and they all affect listeners in different ways. The sound emitted from our sound masking systems is not strictly white noise or pink noise – it is a spectrum of sound that matches the frequencies of human speech, and it is presented at an unobtrusive volume to mask distracting speech sounds and to protect speech privacy.

Is sound masking safe?

Sound masking does not have any adverse health effects. OSHA, FGI, and ASTM are among several organizations that recognize sound masking as a safe technology for reducing speech intelligibility and noise-related distractions.

When you work with Building Systems Solutions to add a sound masking system to your facility, we can actually make your workplace safer by incorporating an emergency warning and paging system into the installation. In the event of an emergency, the emergency warning and paging system utilizes the same speakers used for sound masking to transmit alerts.

What is the proper sound spectrum for a sound masking system?

We believe the Soft dB Sound Masking System is the best sound masking technology on the market due to its adaptive capabilities. By monitoring the sound levels within a space, the system is able to achieve an optimum sound spectrum that strikes a balance between acoustics that are pleasing to the ear and effective at sound masking.

Schedule a Demo

It’s true – adding sound to your office actually makes the space seem quieter, because when you can’t understand what people are saying, their words are less distracting or even unnoticeable. Need to hear it to believe it? Call us at 763-502-1515 or fill out the contact form to schedule a demo at our office in Blaine.

Words From Satisified Customers

We have worked with BSS on several sound masking projects for our clients with successful results. The process begins with a well-designed layout and an accurate budget. That way the client knows exactly what they are getting and can adjust as needed. Their team is responsive and great to work with during the install process. After install BSS schedules a tutorial with the client on how to use their new sound masking system. Because BSS is a leader in product and design the client receives an intuitive system thus another satisfied client.

Heather Weerheim
Greiner Construction