Continuing Education Program Learn How Sound Masking Can Help You Create Better Workspaces

Understanding Sound Masking Technology for Different Types of Office Spaces

You can’t cancel out office noise. But you can drown it out with better sound.

In this course, you’ll learn how sound masking is one of the most cost-effective methods of creating office environments that promote both productivity and well-being, through achieving the perfect balance between employees’ need for privacy, concentration, and acoustic comfort.

Firstly, you’ll understand why conversations are so easily overheard in most of today’s offices and how architectural acoustic design plays a vital role in controlling the transmission of sound within open and closed floor plans. Then, you will learn how sound masking is scientifically proven to enhance performance and wellness of employees by increasing speech privacy and significantly reducing common office distractions.

At last, you will learn how to specify and choose the right sound masking system, so as to easily implement it in different work environments, regardless of office size and layout.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the basic science behind sound, and how it impacts the health, wellness, focus and productivity of office workers.
  • Understand the concept of sound masking and the concrete benefits this technology can bring to any office work environment.
  • Become comfortable with the key aspects of specifying a sound masking system as well as calculating the costs and return on investment.
  • Understand how sound masking improves the acoustics of Green Buildings without compromising their core virtues and aesthetics.
Acoustic Room Response
ABC of architectural acoustics
What is Sound Masking?

Approved Continuing Education Learning Units

AIA/HSW: 1 LU (1.0 hour)
IDCEC: 0.1 credit (1.0 hour)
USGBC/GBCI: 1 LEED CE (1.0 hour)
NARI: 0.1 credit (1.0 hour)
MAA, OAA, OAQ, SAA: 1 ConEd hour of Structured Learning

This course is registered with the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Interior Design Continuing Education Council (IDCEC), Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA), and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) for continuing education credits. IDCEC learning credits are also recognized by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), International Interior Designers Association (IIDA), and Interior Designers of Canada (IDC). Canadian architects who are members of Manitoba Association of Architects (MAA), Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), Ordre des architectes du Québec (OAQ), or Saskatchewan Association of Architects (SAA) can self-report course attendance as an approved 1-hour structured learning activity.

Sound Masking CEU Credits
Sound masking CEU credits

Two Convenient Ways to Learn About Sound Masking and Earn Your CEU Credit

Online Video Course

Learn about sound masking on your own by watching our video course whenever you want. The course ends with a ten question quiz that you’ll have to complete in order to receive your certificate of completion and learning credits. You will be able to keep track of your completed courses through your CEU Events account which you’ll be asked to create just before watching the video.

Take video course

Live Webinars

Learn about sound masking from the very people who successfully integrated it in hundreds of offices across America. Our experts host free webinars on a rolling basis so there’s always a convenient time slot just ahead. They’re followed by casual Q&A sessions providing a great opportunity to discuss your office acoustics challenges and exchange with fellow professionals.

Register for a webinar

Take the Course Unregistered

Whether you don’t need to earn CEU credits or you’re simply a professional who wishes to learn more about sound masking technology and improving acoustic comfort of office workers, feel free to watch the uncredited version of our course right here, no registration needed.

Watch uncredited course

Office Sound Masking Course Overview

Studies are finding that the majority of employees dislike their work environment despite the ever-popular workplace wellness buzz.

In fact, an extensive international study by IPSOS, a global market research and consulting firm, found that 85% of office workers are dissatisfied with their working environments and have a hard time concentrating on their tasks. This strongly correlates with the fact that open floor plans have become the norm. Afterall, open offices are not only much cheaper to build but also break down silo mentality while encouraging team collaboration in a highly flexible way.

Meanwhile, this opportunity to work more closely with colleagues comes at the cost of less personal space, less oral privacy and more distractions stealing our focus away. So what does the average office worker has to deal with during work hours?

  • What are some of the most expressed complaints? Too many distractions, not enough privacy.
  • Office workers lose up to 86 minutes a day due to interruptions. For the most part, these interruptions are caused by loud conversations, ringtones, keyboard clicks, printer noises, mobile notifications etc..
  • Several studies show the negative impacts of workplace distractions on mental health and… workplace absenteeism.

The correlation between employee well-being and performance is extremely well documented. Meanwhile, what’s often overlooked is how some of the key well-being contributing factors strongly depend on acoustics:

  • Being able to focus on cognitively demanding tasks, distraction-free.
  • Being comfortable to discuss sensitive information without being overheard across the entire office space.
  • Being able to collaborate effectively with colleagues on the spot, without disturbing neighboring workstations.
  • Vibrations and sound waves: amplitude and frequency
  • How loud and how quiet some of the noises that surround us really are
  • Measuring sound levels: Decibel (dB) versus weighted Decibel A (dBA)
  • What is fragmented noise and why is it detrimental?

Architects and interior designers are increasingly turning to sound masking to override sounds that can’t be absorbed or blocked by common design elements such as carpeting, acoustical wall panels, ceiling panels or partitions. They are also finding that sound masking significantly reduces the need for plenum barriers, insulation, and extra drywall layers in closed offices.

  • How does sound propagation influence the way you build?
  • Considering the ABC‘s of acoustic design: Absorb, Block and Cover
  • How Cover (C) is the most cost-effective and flexible way to achieve optimal acoustic environment.
  • Since constructing heavier walls to block noise is expensive, sound masking is the best alternative for achieving proper speech privacy without the need for more soundproofing materials.

How many times have you overheard conversations in the office? Or better yet, how many times have you felt like others were listening to your conversations? Can the words being spoken inside a closed office be heard outside? How private is your private office?

  • Quantifying the intelligibility of conversations using the SII index
  • Assessing the speech privacy provided by a closed room using the SPC index
  • Understanding Sound Transmission Class (STC)
  • All areas with an SII index higher than 20% should consider sound masking

Post occupancy evaluations conducted by the Center for the Built Environment (CBE) at the University of California, Berkeley revealed that green building acoustics are typically worse than their traditional counterparts. Why is that?

  • Natural ventilation, day lighting, radiant heating and cooling, lightweight steel frames, etc. all lead to poor architectural acoustics.
  • Reduced indoor/outdoor sound isolation, and more acoustically reflective surfaces such as glass, wood, and brick mean less opportunities for sound absorption.
  • Less HVAC noise may be a good thing but it also means that office conversations are more easily overheard.
  • Emitting a soft, inconspicuous background sound to make office sound level more uniform and speech less intelligible.
  • Making undesirable conversations and noisy distractions less audible to improve employee concentration and productivity.
  • Sound masking VS noise cancelling technology: learning the key differences and limitations.
  • In what conditions should sound masking be considered? (minimum privacy levels, minimum background noise levels).
  • Open and closed offices (Eliminating distractions, Improving focus, Improving error rates/accuracy, Reducing stress).
  • Hospitals and medical facilities (Enhancing sleep quality of patients, Achieving compliance with HIPAA requirements at a lower cost).
  • Recommended sound absorbing material and ceiling design
  • Recommended minimum plenum height
  • Best alternatives when no plenum space or access is available
  • Calculating the cost and ROI of sound masking
  • Understanding the concept of Acoustic Room Response.
  • Plenum-mounted sound masking speakers VS direct in-ceiling speakers: distinguishing marketing hype from measurable performance.
  • The advantages of choosing a fully integrated software.
  • Acoustical calibration based on the unique attributes of the space covered.
  • How adaptive controls are necessary in a dynamic office space where the volume of noisy distractions vary constantly.
  • How the sound masking volume can automatically self-adjust based on the fluctuating background noise levels.

Why Should I Take This Course on Office Sound Masking?

Why shouldn’t you take this course? It’s 100% free and you can take it at your convenience from the comfort of your home. It’s 100% objective as in we’re not going to try to sell you our system or anything: we’re passionate acousticians first, sound masking system supplier second. Solving noise problems is all we do and we’re best at what we do. More importantly, this course is an opportunity to raise your game in workspace acoustics while gaining valuable insights into the most advanced sound masking technology available today.

AIA Architects

Licensed architects must earn continuing education credits each year to fulfill AIA membership requirements. AIA measures continuing education in Learning Units (LUs). One hour of continuing education equals one LU. AIA Architect members must complete 18 LUs each year. Of the 18 LUs, 12 must be in the topic areas of health, safety and welfare (HSW). This course will give you 1 LU (1.0 hour) in the area of health, safety and welfare (HSW).

Interior Designers

Both the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and International Interior Designers Association (IIDA) require professional and associate members to complete at least 10 hours of continuing education every 2 years to retain membership. This course will count for 1 CEU (1 hour) valid toward your ASID or IIDA education membership requirement.

AV Professionals

AVIXA Certified Technology Specialists applying for renewal at any CTS level must have completed 30 approved renewal units within their three-year certification period. Our 1-hour course, whether taken in person or online, counts for 1 RU toward both CTS and CTS-D certification renewals.

Sound Masking Greatly Improves Workplace Comfort, Acoustic Privacy, and Employee Productivity

Future Workplace and View recently surveyed 1601 workers to understand which wellness perks matter to them most and how these perks impact their productivity. What do you think they want more than anything? They want the basics first: better air quality, natural light, and distraction-free rooms where they can comfortably focus on their work.

In fact, noise distractions bothered more than a third of office workers surveyed, negatively impacting their ability to focus on their everyday tasks. Disruptive sounds like phones ringing, typing on keyboards, and conversations among coworkers all significantly impaired their concentration. Sound masking technology is all about helping these office workers. In particular, it’s about the following, all too often overlooked, well-being contributing factors:

  • Being able to concentrate on cognitively demanding tasks, distraction-free.
  • Feeling comfortable discussing private, sensitive information with managers and select teammates without being overheard across the entire office space.
  • Being able to collaborate and communicate effectively with colleagues without disturbing neighboring workstations.

Sound Masking Reduces Office Construction Costs and the Need for More Soundproof Materials

Sound masking can help you achieve more with less. You get more acoustic privacy with less need for plenum barriers, soundproof doors and extra drywall layers (on average, office construction costs can be reduced by $3 per square foot when integrating sound masking technology at the design stage). You achieve superior room acoustics without the need to rethink what’s already working great in your design, whether in terms of sustainability, flexibility or pure aesthetics. You make it easier for office workers to concentrate and be more productive without requestioning the open concept workspace, which is here to stay and grow whether we love or hate it.

Sound Masking Makes It Easier to Meet LEED and WELL Acoustic Performance Standards

Both LEED and WELL certifications reward design decisions made about thermal, visual, and acoustic comfort. Under LEED v4, projects can earn 2 points toward the Acoustic Performance credit in the EQ section of the Interior Design and Construction rating system (ID+C), and 1 point in the new Building Design and Construction system (BD+C). Designing for healhcare? Sound masking can help you earn 1 LEED point by achieving superior speech privacy, acoustical comfort of patients, and minimal annoyance from noisy ward equipment. In all cases, to ensure optimal acoustic performance of spaces, LEED v4 not only recommends the use of sound-absorbing materials, but also explicitly encourages the use of sound masking technology.

Sound Masking Plays Well With Office AV Technologies and Building Automation Systems

If you’re an AV professional with a weak spot for office audio done right—we’re talking fully integrated paging, intercom, and ambient music systems performing multi-zone playback with crisp, clear sound across thousands of square feet—then you need to learn about today’s sound masking systems. Office sound systems and sound masking systems are a match made in heaven and can even become one and the same, sharing power, cables, and control panels.

In fact, some sound masking systems are so good at handling multi-source/multi-zone playback and easy to manage from virtually anywhere that they’ll have you look upon office paging and ambient music in new exciting ways. Sound masking, by its very nature, is truly a multi-zone thing and the smaller the zones the better. You’re into building automation systems? Sound masking done right is a lot about automating mundane functions, such as power saver mode, signal equalization, and playback volume adjustments based on space occupancy.

Watch Our Video Course Right Here

Feel free to learn about sound masking on your own terms, no registration and personal information needed, by watching the video down below. You will not earn the course’s CEU credit, but you’ll definitely learn something of value for you as a professional and your clients. Is sound masking the right technology for you? Let’s find out today!

Sound Masking for Today’s Office Space: The Whats, Whys & Hows

Want to Integrate Sound Masking in Your Next Office Project?

Our advanced sound masking system will help you increase productivity in your workspace by reducing noisy distractions and providing opportunities for privacy and focus. A comfortable office positively impacts employee mood, drive and performance.