Acoustic Privacy

Written by Seth Cotterell
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The nature of sound makes acoustic privacy a difficult thing to master. Traveling about as a bunch of unruly waves, acoustic frequencies can't be snatched out of the air and bottled up to keep unwanted listeners from overhearing. We can all think of a situation where our acoustic privacy has been violated. Someone overheard you talking about your sick aunt. Maybe your mother eavesdropped on your conversation about why you're fighting with your boyfriend. Or it could be that your upstairs neighbors are constantly playing their music too loud. Whatever the case, acoustic privacy is important.

How Do I Safeguard My Acoustic Privacy?

Though it is difficult to stop invisible sound waves, there are methods at your disposal. You could take your first grade teacher's advice and always use your six inch voice, but that doesn't make you especially functional in general society and does nothing to stop incoming sounds. No, that may have been great advice when you were six, but there are better ways.

One of the best ways to protect acoustic privacy is through the use of white noise. White noise generators are low cost and effective. Speakers emit white noise that interferes with other sound frequencies. The white noise masks the other frequencies but is not intrusive itself. Your conversations stay between you and the intended listener. Incoming sounds are also masked so you don't have to be bothered by inconsiderate neighbors or colleagues.

You should also know that federal law is in place to protect your acoustic privacy. In certain settings where conversations are of an intimate and confidential nature privacy requirements exist to protect you and the other parties involved. Investigate HIPAA requirements to find out more.

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