If I were to mention a potential use case for Sound Masking in a college or university environment, where do you think it would be most useful? Your first thought is probably the college library, right? After all, libraries are intended to be quiet so people can concentrate and study. Since typically they are so quiet, any noise made in them seems amplified – you can hear the tapping a student’s pen or a librarian cough from across the room. And forget concentrating if a bunch of students are talking – without sound masking you’re likely to hear every word. College libraries often utilize our products to cover up undesired speech noise in quiet areas. Stanford’s new East Asia Library recently installed it.
But the library isn’t the only place where students could benefit from reduced noise distractions. Sound masking can be utilized in student centers, classrooms, and other study spaces as well as the library. It could also be used in college dorm rooms or in areas where professor’s offices are located.
But as in any other environment, sound masking isn’t just about reducing distractions, it’s about protecting student privacy as well. And like many other industries colleges are legally bound to protect sensitive information. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) mandates that post-secondary institutions take all reasonable efforts to safeguard student information including how the information is collected, stored, used, and released. Many institutions have established effective security measures to protect the data stored on their servers, but overlook the need to safeguard client information during its collection, use, and release. Sound Masking can help ensure FERPA regulations are complied with by making it more difficult for people to overhear others sharing sensitive information.
Think of all of the places where student information could be stolen or misused if overheard by the wrong person:
- Dean of students office
- Financial aid office
- Campus bank
- Health center
- Student counseling center
- Admissions department
- Career development office
- Campus safety
- Registrar’s office
- Residential life office
Libraries might be the most obvious place in the college to find Sound Masking, but as more universities build new facilities and update their old ones it should start to become more commonplace on other parts of campus.