This anechoic chamber is the ‘World’s Quietest Room’
Remember the time when you are asleep at night and even the smallest of sound can irritate the living hell out of you? Don’t you want feel like going to the quietest place and snoozing off forever?
But think again. Surviving in the quietest place isn’t as easy at it sounds. Orfield Laboratories in South Minneapolis, USA has an anechoic chamber ( without an echo) which holds the Guinness World Record for being the quietest room in the world and is 99.99% sound absorbent. The longest time any person has stayed there in 45 minutes.
The volunteers start hallucinating after a while. It is so quiet that at a point you can also hear your own blood circulation. The owner of the Orfield laboratory, Steven Orfield says that ” When its quiet, ears will adapt. The quieter your room, the more things you will hear. Sometimes you can hear your heartbeat, your lungs or your stomach growling.”
The room gets its super quiet nature because of 3.3 foot fiberglass acoustic wedges , double wall of insulated steel and one foot thick concrete wall, resulting into a noise level of -9 decibles. Now that is far too silent!
Now the question arises, how to get there. The general public must book a tour to visit the room and they are allowed to visit on certain supervised days. Only the people from media are allowed to stay in the room for a prolonged period of time. Ironically, far from being peaceful, most people find it quiet upsetting. Being deprived of the usual reassuring ambient sounds can induce fear – it explains why sensory deprivation is a form of torture.
Caution: being in an anechoic chamber for longer than 15 minutes can cause extreme symptoms, from claustrophobia and nausea to panic attacks and aural hallucinations – you literally start hearing things.
And this is a very disorientating experience. Mr Orfield explained that it’s so disconcerting that sitting down is a must.
George Foy, a violinist, has spent the most amount of time in the room i.e. 45 minutes. Towards the end he was hammering at the door to be let out. After getting out he said that “Everyone was impressed that I’d beaten the record, but having spent so long searching for quiet, I was comfortable with the feeling of absolute stillness. Afterwards I felt wonderfully rested and calm.My desire for silence changed my life. I found that making space for moments of quiet in my day is the key to happiness – they give you a chance to think about what you want in life.”