What does silence look and feel like?
Is silence really golden? Is it even possible to hear your own bones grinding against each other and blood flowing?
The world’s quietest location was built by Microsoft's principal designer Hundraj Gopal in 2015 and is listed in the Guinness World Records.
Composed of six layers of steel and concrete, the structure’s interior features fiberglass wedges set on the walls, ceiling and floor to disperse sound waves before they can re-enter the space.
First, the room is designed to be soundproof, meaning there is no external noise. This can quickly become unsettling for anyone as we are used to a certain level of background noise in our day-to-day lives.
This means even the slightest movement or sounds you make will be heard, including the sounds of your body’s natural processes such as your heartbeat and breathing, the New York Post wrote.
Complete silence can cause some people to experience anxiety and even hallucinations.
Second, the walls, ceiling, and flooring are all covered with sound-absorbing materials, which means any sounds made inside the chamber will be amplified and echoed back. This means even the slightest movement or sounds you make will be heard, including the sounds of your body’s natural processes.
The walls are made of fiberglass wedges that are a metre long and are arranged in a way that they absorb 99.99% of all sound.
It is said that only a few people can stand being in the room for a long time, and by a long time, we mean an hour. A few minutes in, you will start hearing your own heart beating, and after that, you will hear your bones grinding and blood flowing. The sound of your own breathing will become so loud that it will feel like a hurricane in your ears.
The lack of sound can also make people feel disoriented and dizzy. Studies have shown that the inner ear uses sound cues to help us balance and navigate our surroundings, so when we are deprived of these cues, our brains can struggle to process information effectively.
While the anechoic chamber may seem like a fascinating place to experience complete silence, it’s clear it’s not for everyone.
The intense lack of sound can cause discomfort and even anxiety in some individuals, making it a challenging environment to be in for any length of time. You might even hear your thoughts.
Another anechoic chamber is competing to become the world’s quietest space.
Located at Orfield Laboratories in Minneapolis, the room achieved “a legitimate measurement” of “–24.9 dBA,” according to Steven J Orfield, who designed the space.
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