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Privacy Calculator

This interactive calculator gives you the chance to explore the ABC’s of acoustics. This calculator shows the Privacy Index (PI) of one talker in an open office. The higher the PI percentage the more privacy the talker has. The lower the PI percentage, the less private the talker’s conversation becomes.

Privacy in open offices encompasses freedom from distractions and is dependent on how well the space can Absorb, Block, and Cover sounds.

Pick your specific ceiling height, ceiling tile quality (NRC rating), and partition height to see how sound masking can improve your acoustic environment. The percentage values shown in the calculator represent the talker’s PI.



  • Left-click and drag the talker into any cubicle in the office environment.
  • Right-click on the talker or hold down the CTRL/Command button to change the direction they are facing.
  • Use the pull-down menus to define the space’s ceiling height, ceiling tile type (NRC rating), and the cubicle partition height.
  • Toggle the sound masking button on and off to see how sound masking impacts privacy as indicated by the space’s speech privacy index.

The table below shows the effectiveness of common types of acoustical treatments. The office environment in this example features 8’ ceilings and 10’x10’ cubicles. After implementation, direct-field sound masking is the most effective and budget friendly solution for delivering increased privacy while reducing conversational distractions.

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Privacy Index

The Privacy Index (PI) is a measure of speech intelligibility, given as a percentage of unintelligible speech. When PI is 0%, the conversation is completely intelligible and the speaker has no privacy. When PI is 100%, the conversation is completely unintelligible and the speaker has confidential privacy. The target PI range for open office environments is between 80% and 95%. PI, as defined by the ASTM E1130-08 standard, is the inverse of the Articulation Index. Technically the PI is calculated using this formula: PI = (1-AI) * 100