Does your office seem to be getting louder and louder every day? And you just can’t take it anymore? It gets really difficult to concentrate and complete the job you are paid to do. Then you need to learn about the concept of sound masking. Learn more.

Sound Masking Vs. Sound Cancellation

These two terms are often confused. Of course, they both have a similar goal in mind, but they are very much different. So, before we go any further, let us first learn the difference between the methods of reducing unwanted sounds.

Sound cancellation, also known as active noise reduction, is essentially the process of adding a second noise to cancel the first one. In this method, a speaker is used to emit a sound wave with the same amplitude as the one it is trying to reduce, but with an inverted phase. That way, they effectively cancel each other out.

If this all seems a bit too technical and complicated for you, let me try to explain it differently. We are doing some simple math right now, so brace yourselves. Think of sound one as -1, and of sound two as +1. What do you get by the process of addition? You get zero. It’s the same concept.

This option is suitable for smaller environments, where there aren’t a lot of frequencies that would have to be mirrored. However, it’s not very practical when it comes to open offices and more crowded places. It might be possible to accomplish, but that would cost a fortune.

On the other hand, sound masking works on the principle of making speech unintelligible. Imagine this. You look at the coworkers standing close to you, see their lips move, hear some soft, muffled noises, but can’t really understand what they are saying.

That sounds to be a great option, both for you, and for the coworkers. You get your peace to do the work, and they get their conversation privacy. And, research has shown that the speech sound must not be completely cancelled in order to stop disturbing you. It’s enough that you cannot discern the words that come out.

In light of these facts, I guess it is pretty clear why it would be a great option for an open office. I am guessing that you don’t work some odd hours that put you alone in the space for your shift. That means that you will have to deal with a lot of conversations of passing by colleagues. That is, if you don’t resort to this solution.

White Noise

There is another important term that you should get familiar with. It goes hand in hand with sound masking. Basically, white noise is a frequency created when all the possible frequencies that the human ear can hear are combined together on a similar level.

Learn about this here:

In practice, this concept works by decreasing the difference between a main sound, called the “peak”, and the background noises. What does this mean for your office? It means that all the noises will be of the same frequency, which is why it won’t be difficult for you to ignore them altogether.

In even simpler words, our brain is constantly “equipped” with a background noise, while, for example, a sound of someone slamming the door will not be so loud. Because of that, you won’t suddenly get startled and lose your focus. In fact, you won’t even notice it. And, the key to success is ignoring what can be ignored.

You would be surprised by how many irritating things can successfully be ignored with white noise on your hands. Coughing, sneezing, opening bags of various snacks, snacking, phone calls, conversations… Should I go on? Music on the radio, music through your colleagues’ headphones, typing… I think you’ve had enough.


By now you are probably wondering how this can be achieved and created in your office. Today, it’s really not that complicated.  You can learn about and find white noise generators here and, thanks to the World Wide Web, getting one is a really simple process. I’m guessing you are familiar with online shopping.

I strongly suggest that you quickly get your generator, because those office noises are often nerve-wracking, and, thus, can have some consequences for your health and well-being. Nevertheless, before you do, there are a few more things to learn. Let’s do that now, so that you don’t have to wait any longer.

What You Should Look For

When the time comes to buy your machine, it wouldn’t be very wise to just get the first one you see, because it might look cute. These devices are compact and appealing in appearance. So, believe me, you can find a cute one that also works like a charm.

First of all, inspect the sound quality of the generator. Don’t rush into a decision before you check this, since it is the most important feature that should not be compromised. You don’t want to get a poor-quality device that will do you no good. You can test out a few and compare the results.

Having done this, you should think about the power sources next. Most of the devices can be plugged into an outlet in the wall, and that works great for your office. However, since these are usually portable, you may want to take it on a business trip. In that case, it would be a good idea to consider getting a generator with an adapter. That will allow you to plug it into most international power outlets.

Since this product works against noise by adding more noise (funny, right?), before making the purchase, you should check the selection of available sounds. Of course, most great generators offer a really wide range of those, so you are bound to find something that you will like. However, everyone has their own preferences. So, take a look at what is offered and choose your ideal machine.