What is Sound Masking?

Sound masking is the process of adding ambient noise to a space to make it seem quieter, reduce distractions, and ensure the privacy of communications within the room.

The process utilizes a specifically engineered sound that matches the frequency of human speech. Often mistakenly referred to as “white” or “pink” noise, sound masking is more subtle and unobtrusive – like the flow of air – and can be tailored to fit a client’s unique requirements.

Sound masking has many applications and is frequently found in office spaces, banks, and healthcare environments to eliminate noise pollution and increase productivity. The process is also widely leveraged by government agencies for use in SCIFs and closed rooms. Here, it has proved invaluable as an added layer of security to safeguard sensitive information and classified communications. Professional installation helps to prevent unauthorized personnel from eavesdropping and/or stealing Top Secret intelligence.

The Benefits of Sound Masking

Sound masking solutions have proven to be:

  • Comprehensive: Today’s sound masking solutions for military applications are designed to eliminate eavesdropping from unauthorized individuals and/or recording devices. All sound transmission points in a secure room or SCIF can be treated, including:
    • Air ducts
    • Walls
    • Windows
    • Doors
    • Air space above drop tiles
  • Compliant: SCIFs, and the Facility Security Officers charged with their operation, must maintain meticulous acoustic safeguards as outlined in ICD 705 (Intelligence Community Directive 705-01 Physical and Technical Security Standards for Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities). Masking solutions ensure such criteria are consistently achieved.
  • Cost-effective: Implementing other high sound attenuation solutions is expensive, and occasionally even prohibitive. Sound masking helps to limit the need for excess insulation, costly ceiling tiles, and the construction of additional walls and partitions while offering optimal protection.
  • Quieting: Office distractions can lead to a significant loss of productivity. Sound masking can cause conversations and other commotion occurring at a distance of 15 feet or more to fade into obscurity, providing maximum calm and comfort for employees.
  • Discreet: Non-portable sound masking systems operate using hidden speakers. The low-level white noise created can drown out listening devices and foil espionage attempts, while not impacting a facility’s sound quality in any way. In fact, sound masking helps to create a more balanced acoustic environment that is not too quiet or loud.

Under ICD 705, all sounds within a SCIF must be barely audible by human standards from the facility’s exterior. Components including vents, doors, walls, windows, floors, and other potential sources of vulnerability must achieve a Sound Transmission Class of either 45 or 50. Sound masking makes this possible.

What is Sound Masking?


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