Churches and other places of worship may be immune to the usual business productivity issues (or are they?), but they certainly struggle with privacy and confidentiality issues. A church/ministry leader’s primary function is to connect with his (or her) congregation. As such, it usually lies with the minister to check up on people and their families and see how things are going. In addition, many pastors, rabbis, priests, and ministers counsel one-on-one. Married couples and even engaged couples seek out marital advice or strategies for improving their relationships. And some individuals just need a place to confess temptation or talk through difficult times.
Because of the sensitive nature of these personal issues, many ministers have taken to closing their doors to ensure private confidentiality. Two problems arise- most places of worship aren’t government facilities in that their doors are not soundproof. Conversations can (and do) drift through ventilation, under doors, out windows, and through thin walls. Secondly, a closed-door can often open a new door of dangerous possibilities. What begins as one-on-one counseling can turn into an inappropriate relationship or connection. And, so, to be above reproach, many ministers have re-opened their doors or even installed glass doors- which leads us back to conversation leaks. No one wants to pour out his heart, only to find out that the secretary next door or the lay-person walking by was privy to it.
A simple solution is sound masking. Whether it’s a counseling session or an awkward telephone conversation, every conversation can be protected. It’s a matter of raising the background noise so that the conversation taking place cannot be understood.
Imagine a family road trip. While the car is still in the city, every person in the car can hear every conversation (or sibling squabble) with perfect intelligibility. However, once the trip hits the highway, the road noise causes voices in the front seat to seem muted to the kids in the back and vice versa. It’s not that the conversations are completely drowned out like loud music would do (that would be overkill); rather it’s that the ambient sound level was raised so that the conversations were rendered unintelligible.
That’s what sound masking does. Low-level white noise is introduced through speakers in the ceiling tiles. Those speakers are pre-tuned and provide consistent private and confidential coverage to any treated area. As a result, no one has to look over his (or her) shoulder during a conversation- and that feeling of trust should always accompany a church.
There are many areas in worship facilities that could benefit from sound masking. Here are just a few:
- Private telephone conversations
- Divorce Care classes
- AA meetings
- Staff discussions
Click to learn more about how sound masking works.