I just published an article called “Modernized Silence: Tailoring sound masking for each environment” in the December issue of Sound & Communications magazine.
Because we spend so much time indoors, there’s a lot of interest in how the built environment affects us – from the type of materials used, to the ways in which it impacts our senses. Many research projects have been undertaken, not only to analyze the effects of current trends, but to assess the potential influence that improvements to Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) can have on our health, productivity, workplace satisfaction and overall sense of well-being.
One area of interest is, of course, acoustics. In this vein, numerous studies have been conducted that demonstrate the benefits of sound masking for occupants in a wide variety of environments. For example, it’s been found to help patients in Intensive Care Units to sleep, to improve cognitive performance children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and to decrease stress and agitation in elderly dementia patients in long-term care facilities. The technology has also been added to several building guidelines, such as the Facility Guideline Institute’s Guidelines for the Design and Construction of Healthcare Facilities, and included in the LEED® program’s pilot credit for acoustics.
At the same time, sound masking technology has greatly evolved, opening the door to designs that can better serve applications both new and old, as well as the specific needs of each client.
The Sound & Communication article allows me to share a few of the many exciting developments that have happened in the field since our company launched the first networked-decentralized sound masking system in 2003. While I cover the core elements to which each system design should adhere, regardless of application, I also talk about how this networked architecture allows one to increasingly tailor each system’s design and function to specialized applications such as hospitals, bank branches and high-security facilities.
As I mention in the article, it’s a very exciting time to be involved in this field and, undoubtedly, there are many more innovations on the immediate horizon.