Sound Absorbing vs. Sound Masking

What is the difference between sound absorption and sound masking?

Sound absorption is referring to a method of controlling sound within a space by installing soft absorptive materials that soak up sound energy that is traveling within the room, thus in turn lowering sound levels. Absorption can take the form of acoustic panels, hanging rafts, freestanding panels, and many other absorptive products. Sound masking is another method of dealing with loud noises within a room or traveling between rooms. In a lot of ways, it is different than sound absorption as it makes more noise within a space rather than take it away. However, sound masking isn’t about increasing noise levels – it uses carefully placed speakers that emit pre-programmed, frequency-appropriate sound that distract the ear from other noise sources in a space.

Sound absorption is the most effective method in controlling noise within a space by installing soft absorptive materials. By taking sound out of a space, the problems of excessive noise, echo and reverberation are dealt with directly. Not only do absorptive materials serve an acoustic purpose but they are often used to enhance the aesthetics of a room and so are a preferred option for many architects and designers.

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