Speech privacy between working places
According to the American standard ASTM E 1130, speech privacy between working places can be measured objectively in open plan offices and other environments arranged with an open layout. Such measurements are only valid for their specific configurations and are dependent on certain parameters:
sound absorption efficiency of the acoustic ceiling and other surfaces
sound insulation efficiency of space dividers
layout of working places
background noise level
speech spectrum and level
According to ASTM E 1111, acoustic suspended ceilings can be measured objectively for their properties in such applications. This standard provides the means to measure the Interzone Attenuation of Ceiling Systems
, and the linked standard ASTM E1110 gives the tools to calculate the Articulation Class
for classification of ceiling systems.
SPEECH PRIVACY VALUES
Increased background noise - not recommended
Increased background noise can have long-term negative effects, such as illness, fatigue, decreased productivity and efficiency. Therefore it is not recommended to attempt to obtain better daily speech privacy by increasing the ventilation noise, or use other sound masking systems.
Another thing to bear in mind is that people are differently sensitive to sound and noise in general. Privacy and seclusion in open plan spaces
can only be solved satisfactory by creating separate rooms for confidential discussions and work tasks needing higher concentration.