Acoustical Equity & Sound Privacy for Buildings

Room with Acoustical Equity

Last Updated on November 9, 2022 by Josh Mahan

The need for acoustical equity and sound privacy in the workplace is paramount. Research shows that even low noise levels contribute to higher stress rates and lower levels of motivation in employees. 

Large buildings create a unique challenge for providing acoustical equity and sound privacy. There’s a lot of space to cover and more people to consider when trying to limit the noise your employees can overhear.

However, plenty of methods will help you accomplish this goal. You just need to find the right technology for your business. Once you do, your employees will feel more valued when their privacy is taken seriously, and productivity in your building will benefit as well.

Related: What is Meeting Equity – And Why Does it Matter Now?

What is Acoustical Equity & Sound Privacy?

Acoustical equity and sound privacy are similar terms, but they aren’t the same. When talking about acoustical equity, think of it in terms of the simplest definition of equity. 

Equity is considered a solution for addressing imbalanced systems. Acoustical equity in the context of workplace buildings refers to ensuring each employee has the same acoustic experience- i.e., they each experience the same levels of noise (or, preferably, the absence of noise) and feel they have the same amount of sound privacy.

Sound privacy refers to the ability for conversations to be kept private. Employees should feel that no one else can overhear their conversations and that they can’t overhear what’s happening in the office next to them.

So, acoustical equity and sound privacy in workplace buildings refers to employees being able to have conversations that aren’t overheard through equitable acoustical solutions. 

Are you dedicated to finding the best technology for your business? Visit us at C&C Technology Group to learn how we can help!

Prioritizing acoustical equity

Why is Acoustical Equity & Sound Privacy Important?

Before we begin to explain why you need to enact measures and find the right technology to ensure acoustical equity and sound privacy in your building, it’s important for you to understand why this is necessary. It may seem like something only necessary for certain fields, such as healthcare or law offices, but its benefits are crucial for every field. 

Comply With Laws

The first and most important reason that acoustical equity and sound privacy is necessary for the workplace is to ensure your practice complies with federal or local laws. This only applies to certain fields, but it can’t be understated. 

Healthcare buildings must comply with HIPPA laws, which protect sensitive patient information from being disclosed. If someone can easily walk by your office and overhear sensitive information, then this could be a HIPAA violation, which can result in large fines, closure of the practice, and other legal ramifications.

Law offices, military workers, and employees in other fields also have certain privacy laws they must comply with. Ensuring your building provides employees with acoustical equity and sound privacy keeps your business safe from costly legal problems.

Promote Feelings Of Trust

Trust needs to work both ways in the workplace. You should trust your employees to do their jobs without overt supervision, where you can hear every word they say. 

Employees also need to trust that their work is valued. Creating an atmosphere of sound privacy and acoustical equity allows employees to work without fear of being overheard and to focus more on the projects at hand. 

Having your building equipped for acoustical equity also shows that you value each employee equally. Customer service representatives and employees in the IT department should have the same level of sound privacy. Providing this will help employees feel a level of trust and value, which will increase workplace performance.

Enhance Productivity

Noise creates distractions in the workplace. It’s hard for your employees to stay focused on their tasks when they can overhear conversations in the neighboring office. Providing your employees with acoustical equity and sound privacy will allow them to concentrate on their work fully without concerning themselves with anything else that’s going on in the building.

Buildings equipped for acoustical equity and sound privacy also limit noise from outside the building. This is incredibly helpful in urban areas, especially where noise from traffic, construction, and other aspects of daily life could create serious distractions.

How To Create Acoustical Equity & Sound Privacy for Buildings

Now that you’re committed to providing your employees with a building equipped for acoustical equity and sound privacy, it’s time to discuss how to create this atmosphere. There are a few methods that will help you achieve these goals, and combining all three methods will create an environment that encourages trust and productivity.

Related: Understanding Audiovisual Technology: Advances in AV

Pink Noise

Most people have heard of white and red noise, but pink noise is ideal for buildings where employees need to be able to focus on their work. White noise contains all sound frequencies equally, which is why it can sound shrill or harsh to some people.

Pink noise only includes frequencies that humans can hear, so it has less of a harsh tone. Pink noise is uniquely able to cover up the sound of human speech and is effective at preventing others from hearing your conversations when the decibel levels of speech and pink noise are equal. 

To use pink noise to give your building acoustical equity, you’ll need the right technology. A sound masking system distributed throughout your building evenly can disperse pink noise effectively. Sound masking systems generally use speakers in the ceilings that point down.

These speakers emit the pink noise at a set decibel level. Most conversations are about 60dB, so you’ll want the pink noise set for the same level for it to be effective.

Are you ready to apply the best technology to your business? Contact us at C&C Technology Group to learn how we can help.

Sound Absorbing Materials

Sound-absorbing materials are essential for your building to provide acoustical equity and sound privacy. This includes your furniture, ceilings, and floors. Most furniture is designed with sound-absorbing materials, but choosing more upholstered furniture rather than ones made of hardwood or plastic will provide more sound absorption. 

Acoustic ceiling tiles will also help absorb sound and reduce the reverberation of sound throughout your building. Floors should be covered with area rugs or carpets whenever possible to limit how far sound can travel and be overheard.

Business team handshakes

Create Acoustical Equity & Sound Privacy In Your Building

Do you want your employees to work in a building that provides them with acoustical equity and sound privacy? Having your building equipped to provide this environment will enhance workplace trust, increase productivity, and ensure the privacy necessary for compliance with federal and local laws in certain fields. Utilizing sound-absorbing materials in your building and a sound masking system will create acoustical equity and sound privacy for your building.

Related: Why Build a Smart Building? 3 Benefits to Recognize

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