What is Ambient Sound?

Author: Gina Cunsolo

What is Ambient Sound?

The noises in any given environment can have a profound effect on our stress levels and our ability to concentrate on what matters. Chatty coworkers at the office can make it difficult to focus on work, noisy construction outside the house can make remote video conferences frustrating, and the humming of machinery, computers, and AC units can get on people’s nerves even in an otherwise quiet hybrid workplace.

Some of the latest advancements in audio technology aim to reduce the presence of background noise, which is also commonly known as ambient sound.

What Does Ambient Sound Mean?

Ambient sound is the noise that surrounds you in a given environment that is secondary to the sound you are primarily monitoring or focused on.

For example, when you are driving a car while listening to the radio, the voices or music from the radio would be the primary sound you are paying attention to. Everything else like the drone of your car’s engine, the sound of your turn signals, or the noise of wind rushing through your windows would be secondary and considered ambient sound.

‘Background noise’ is often used interchangeably with ambient sound as it expresses this same idea.

Ambient Sound in Film

Ambient sound is a common term used in filmmaking, and it still means precisely the same thing: background noise. In this case, movie makers are trying to create believable environments. To do that, they ensure all the sounds you’d expect in a given environment are present. If a movie scene takes place in a busy kitchen, for example, ambient sounds might include the noise of dishwashers running or pots clanging.

Ambient sound in movies is also used to apply a particular feeling or mood to a scene. For instance, the sound of a ticking clock can add tension to a conversation between two characters.

ambient-sound-yamaha-uc.jpgUsing Ambient Sound in the Workplace

While many ambient sounds can be a nuisance, certain types of ambient sound can actually be calming and can increase focus for workers or students.

For example, a speech privacy system uses an effect similar to white noise, a type of background noise composed of natural sounds that create a relaxing acoustic environment. They also prevent conversations from being overheard from nearby conference rooms, adding a layer of privacy to any working environment.

For this reason, speech privacy sound machines are especially popular in healthcare facilities, as they protect patient privacy and reduce stress for workers and patients alike.

Ambient Sound vs Noise Canceling

There are some ambient sounds you’d rather not hear, of course.

When it comes to headphones, many modern manufacturers include an ambient sound mode and a noise canceling mode for this reason. The wearer can then choose between the two modes depending on their environment and needs.

With ambient sound mode turned on, this allows background noise to pass through the headphones and remain audible to the wearer. This is helpful when the wearer wants to be mindful of the sounds around them, like when jogging and listening for traffic, or so they can multitask while holding a conversation.

When noise canceling mode is enabled, that ambient noise becomes heavily muffled, allowing the wearer to more easily focus on the task at hand. Many people prefer noise canceling when at the gym, or when focusing on important work at the office or when working from home.

Noise canceling is in fact a feature of other high tech audio solutions, including microphone systems used for conference rooms, in educational institutions, and within the healthcare sector.

Microphone Systems That Eliminate Ambient Sounduc-solutions-yamaha-office.jpg

Conference room solutions from Yamaha UC feature some of the latest advancements in noise canceling technology. Our wired and wireless microphones, soundbars, ceiling microphones, and conference room tabletop mics are able to prevent background noise from interfering from important video calls with clients, employees, or students.

In addition to noise canceling technology, our audio equipment includes other powerful features such as echo cancellation and dereverberation that work to achieve better clarity and conference call quality.

Whether you are trying to eliminate background noise in the classroom, or looking to increase productivity at the office, Yamaha UC has the audio solution fit for your environment.

Contact us today to learn more about our products, or to receive a recommendation from one of our experts based on your needs.