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The addition of background or masking sound to an open-office environment is a critical component to obtaining overall privacy in the workplace. When properly done, masking sound raises the noise level in an unobtrusive way that increases privacy without being noticed by the occupants. It can be used in open-office plans with partial-height barriers and in private offices with walls that are either full or partial height. Even when a private office with a full-height wall is adjacent to an open-office area, it is still a good idea to introduce masking sound into the private office. This smoothes the transition between the spaces and makes the noise in the open area much less noticeable. Masking sound is produced by using an electronic pink noise generator and a filter that results in a spectrum that falls off at about

Figure 16.17 Influence of Masking Sound on Speech Privacy (Chanaud, 1983)

Figure 16.17 Influence of Masking Sound on Speech Privacy (Chanaud, 1983)

M ASK INS SOUND LEVEL, dBA
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