With what seems like a constant need to chatter away on cellphones or listen to music with earbuds, a little quiet time may be in order. We’ve got the perfect place: the Guinness Book of World Records’s quietest room.
It’s so quiet the longest anyone has been able to stand it before beginning to go a bit batty was 45 minutes — to be fair, part of that challenge was to remain in the dark too. According to the Daily Mail, the “anechoic chamber” at Orfield Laboratories in South Minneapolis is 99.9 percent sound absorbing.
The Daily Mail reports the room is made with 3.3-foot-thick fiberglass acoustic wedges with walls made of insulated steel and a foot of concrete. Founder and president of the lab, Steven Orfield, shared some of his thoughts about why individuals find it hard to last in the room for lengthy periods of time:
“When it’s quiet, ears will adapt. The quieter the room, the more things you hear. You’ll hear your heart beating, sometimes you can hear your lungs, hear your stomach gurgling loudly.
“In the anechoic chamber, you become the sound.”
And this is a very disorientating experience. Mr Orfield explained that it’s so disconcerting that sitting down is a must.
He said: “How you orient yourself is through sounds you hear when you walk. In the anechnoic chamber, you don’t have any cues. You take away the perceptual cues that allow you to balance and manoeuvre. If you’re in there for half an hour, you have to be in a chair.”
Because the chamber is so soundless, NASA has conducted tests on its astronauts in there to simulate what it would sound like in space. Orfield said manufacturers, like Harley Davidson and Whirlpool, have also used the chamber to test how loud their products are or to evaluate sound quality.
Here’s some raw footage of a student’s acoustic class field trip to the chamber, which has held its designation as the world’s quietest room since 2004:
Minnesota Public Radio also featured the lab recently. Listen to that story here:
If Orfield can only last in the chamber for about 30 minutes, how long do you think you could stand the silence?