Soundmasking

Measuring Speech Privacy with Privacy Index


Privacy Index is used to rate speech intelligibility. A Privacy Index of 95 to 100 provides confidential speech privacy. A Privacy Index below 95 allows conversations to be understood.

The following Privacy Index example is typical of an open office environment having furniture panels (62 inches tall), standard mineral tile ceilings (NRC .55) and soundmasking (47 dBA).

Soundmasking, Office Privacy Solutions, Batavia, Geneva, Aurora, St Charles, Elgin, West Chicago, Naperville, IL
Confidential Privacy is defined as a Privacy Index of 95 to 100 and is the goal for closed offices. Confidential privacy occurs when there is no intelligible speech, even though some speech may be audible.

Normal Privacy is defined as a Privacy Index of 80 to 94 and is the goal for most open office workstations. Normal privacy occurs when speech at a distance is no longer understood and conversations from adjacent workstations are no longer distracting.

Transitional Privacy is defined as a Privacy Index of 70 to 79 and is the goal for teaming and collaborative areas were workers are very interactive.

No Privacy is defined as a Privacy Index of 0 to 69 and is the goal for rooms designed for communication, such as training rooms, conference rooms, or auditoriums. This level of privacy is common in open plan office environments lacking soundmasking.

Distracting speech noise is the #1 facilities problem in open and closed plans.

It's easy to spot; disruption of “head down” concentration by other’s speech noise, overhearing sensitive conversations by a passerby, employee lack of focus negatively affecting productivity. They are common and costly nuisances in today’s office environment. Onsite testing and computer modeling can quantify the problem. Problems include:
  • Inability to concentrate and disruption of concentration
  • Loss of productivity and employee distraction
  • Reduced Profits

What is Soundmasking?

Soundmasking is electronically generated, unobtrusive ambient sound that is tuned to work in harmony with other acoustical factors such as ceilings, furniture panels and walls.

Soundmasking, Office Privacy Solutions, Batavia, Geneva, Aurora, St Charles, Elgin, West Chicago, Naperville, IL


Covering conversational distractions with soundmasking has the effect of “acoustically tripling” the distance between workers.

Solutions to distracting speech noise

There are three ways to control sound in an office: Absorb, Block and Cover it. Speech privacy will be limited by the weakest of these three elements, regardless of how well the other two perform.

The ABCs – Absorb, Block and Cover

Absorb sound with lay-in acoustical ceilings with high Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC = .70 minimum). Avoid the use of acoustically reflective lighting fixtures. Open-structure facilities, having no suspended acoustical ceiling, can provide acoustical privacy if the structure has sufficient height to reduce reflective paths.

Block sound with systems furniture panels having a height of 60” or greater. Panels should have a STC (Sound Transmission Class) of 20 or greater.

Cover distracting conversations by slightly increasing the building’s background sound level by incorporating a soundmasking system by Dynasound. Soundmasking, when properly designed and tuned, will perform the critical task of cover or “masking” speech intelligibility.

Dynasound


Soundmasking, Office Privacy Solutions, Batavia, Geneva, Aurora, St Charles, Elgin, West Chicago, Naperville, IL Dynasound network addressable soundmasking systems deliver as promised. The fact is, other networked sound masking systems are really only partially addressable. While other systems address groups of three to eight speakers, our systems truly provide individual speaker control for volume and audio channel. In fact, every speaker has access to eight audio channels and four soundmasking generators.

   

Call us at 630-632-2720 or tim@amdinteriorsinc.com for more information.

AMD Interiors

AMD Interiors provides raised floors and sound masking to Batavia, Aurora, Chicago, Naperville, Joliet, Northbrook, Oakbrook, Geneva, St Charles, Elgin, and West Chicago, IL as well as the surrounding areas.