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The Color of Noise

Last Updated: February 27, 2017

We’ve written about the cost of auditory noise in the workplace before, and how popular open office concepts are creating more distractions than encouraging productivity. We also think it’s important for customers to know the difference between white noise and sounds categorized by color, such as pink or brown. Different sounds affect listeners in different ways, so evaluating your office setting and determining the best option is important.

For example, pink noise is said to be less harsh than white noise and therefore better for concentration. Brown noise is produced by a random pattern, so it tends to emit a deeper bass or rumble. There’s even blue noise, which is the direct opposite of brown noise, producing a more high-pitched tone; and grey noise, which can sound different to every ear; as well as an informally defined green noise – the ambient sounds found in nature.

Choosing a White Noise System and “Color”

So how do you determine what “color” you need for your sound masking system?

First, determine the following:

  • What kind of noise is causing your employees to become distracted? Is it transient, short-term noise (like that from construction inside or outside) or steady, long-term sounds (like that of an HVAC system)?
  • What is the nature of your business? Does your office have cubicles or closed spaces?
  • Why do you need a sound-masking system? Does your industry require privacy like in health care settings? Or, are you working to combat poor productivity?

Second, consider which sound will address your noise issues:

  • White noise covers a large range (or spectrum) and is good for masking all types of sounds.
  • Pink noise is a more airy version of white noise and proven to be more relaxing.
  • Brown noise is a warmer sound that works better to mask lower tones like transit sounds, loud bass or thunder.

White Noise Systems for Mid-South Offices

State Systems provides two different types of office sound-masking systems – personal and open-office. Personal systems provide privacy for individual work areas while open-office systems are integrated throughout to cover a larger space.

To read more about how we can work to design and install the perfect sound-masking system for your office, read more on our white noise system service page.

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Cole H. Dennis Read More