If you, like me, were a fan of A Quiet Place, I’m sure there were times when you thought living a life full of peace and quiet wouldn’t actually be that bad.
Well, what if I was to tell you that there is an actual place quieter than A Quiet Place?
And that it will either frighten you or zen you out?
At the Orfield Laboratories in Minnesota, there is an anechoic chamber in its federally accredited testing lab, which is the quietest place in the world.
In fact, it is so quiet that it brings in news media, filmmakers, and visitors from around the world to tell the story of silence.
Inside the Chamber.
The room’s interior is so silent that its background noise has a negative decibel output at -13 dBA for hours and instantaneous levels of -23 dBA.
To put that into perspective, the general background noise of an urbanized area like a city varies from 70 – 110 dBA in many places, whereas in a rural countryside area the decibel output is typically about 60 dBA.
The lab’s founder, Steven Orfield said:
“We challenge people to sit in the chamber in the dark – one person stayed in there for an hour, and one for two hours, the second with the lights on. When it’s quiet, ears will become much more sensitive. The quieter the room, the more things you hear. You’ll hear your heart beating after about 15 minutes; sometimes you can hear your lungs after 30 minutes, hear your stomach gurgling loudly. In the anechoic chamber, you become the sound.”
A Disorientating Experience.
So for a normal person going into this room, the whole experience can be very disorientating.
People have trouble standing or sitting within the room in the dark, as well as navigating the room or maintaining their balance.
The daunting lack of noise makes it near impossible to orient yourself as you walk in the anechoic chamber, as we humans rely very heavily on subconscious acoustic and visual cues to navigate when walking.
Yet folks with autism often love the chamber, as do those with some deafness, and those with high levels of mental anxiety.
As Steven Orfield said: “You take away the perceptual cues that allow you to balance and maneuver. If you’re in there for half an hour, you have to be in a chair.”
Other than making some people feel uncomfortable, this chamber is used by companies to test how loud or quiet their products are.
This includes Whirlpool, Maytag, and GE Appliances, Medtronic medical devices, 3M audio products, hearing instrument firms, automotive switch firms, and door closer companies.
As well as this, an anechoic chamber at NASA is used by astronauts in training to help them adapt to the silence of space.
So are you sure you still want that peace and quiet? Are you?
Well, I guess it turns out it might actually make you more anxious than all that constant hustle and bustle!