Acoustic Privacy

Providing sound insulation that protects sensitive or confidential information. 

Sound Insulation

Do partitions provide a right level of sound reduction?

Acoustic Testing

Test the level of privacy between adjacent saces.

Acoustic Masking

Use the principals of sound masking to improvie acoustic privacy.

It may seem counter intuitive, but feelings of comfort, or privacy will often be improved by increases in background noise level.

When we think about the sound insulation performance of a common partition between two areas, it is equally important to think about the privacy requirements of each space. For example, is there a requirement for speech in one room to be complete inaudible in the other? Or can speech will be audible and even understood in an adjacent room? This is known as acoustic privacy, and will depend on several factors discussed below:

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Sound Pressure Level

Obviously, the sound level generated in the source room will play an important role in the level of acoustic privacy. Although the level of conversation is a factor, this level can be influenced by the acoustics of the room. Beyond the direct sound level, what we need to control is the reverberant sound pressure level. This level will be made up of multiple acoustic reflections within the space. By using sufficient reverberation control, we can have a positive effect on the source room sound pressure level.

Acoustic Sensitivity

Sound is a subjective factor. As such, perception varies widely from person to person. The sensitivity of the individual(s) in the receiving room will play at least a small part in the overall level of privacy.

Sound Insulation Level

The sound insulation test performance of the common partition will also have a significant effect on the perceived level of sound passing from the source room. The weighted difference level (Dw) will be a one of the major variables that we can have an influence on.

Background sound levels

The background sound level within the receiver room will also be a considerable factor. This is also an element that we have a degree of control over.

As noted, the background sound level within a room can have an effect on privacy. This is because it will have a masking effect on the sound entering the space. Sound masking is the act of using noise to cover-up unwanted sound. The higher the background noise level the more effective it will be in masking these unwanted sounds.


Defining Acoustic Privacy

It may seem counter intuitive, but feelings of comfort, or privacy will often be improved by increases in background noise level. As a matter of fact, the concept of acoustic privacy may be defined by the following formula:

Acoustic Privacy (dB) = Weighted level difference (Dw) + Background Noise Level (LAeq)

Generally, an acoustic privacy level of 70 dB or below will be considered intelligible. In other words, a privacy rating of 70 dB will be considered “not private”. While privacy levels above 90 dB are likely to be inaudible i.e. will provide high levels of privacy. The spectrum of acoustic privacy is based on subjective assessment of non-amplified speech.

When acoustic privacy is not up to scratch, this will often be due to flanking transmission paths between the source and receiver rooms. If a partition contains a door, or window element. This will often be an acoustically weak part of the system, and sound transmission may be affected. Flanking may also occur via mechanical or electrical service duct work, or over and around partitions that are not full height or sufficiently sealed.


T: 0845 508 0890
M: 0787 245 0205


A: The Glider Business Centre,
65 Lowther Road,
Dunstable, LU6 3NL

T: 0845 508 0890
M: 0787 247 0205