Photo: Orfield Laboratories on Facebook
We’ve all heard the idiom – silence is golden, but how much silence can we actually bear? It seems like a simple enough concept but as it turns out, it can be a fairly uncomfortable experience.
Orfield Laboratories in South Minneapolis actually designed a room or chamber for the purpose of attaining peace and quiet. The ‘anechoic chamber’ is Guinness certified for being the quietest place on Earth. Imagine that! The longest a person has sat in the chamber (and alone, mind you) is 45 minutes.
Enveloping this room, or chamber, is 2 heavy vault-style doors. To further encase the chamber is double walls of steel and a foot-high concrete. Not only that but on the inside, the walls are padded with 3- foot thick fiberglass acoustic wedges. All of this to ensure no sound is permeated inside the chambers.
The silence settles in once the vaults are closed behind you, and the noise level drops down to -9 decibels. Libraries and quiet bed rooms usually have the noise level of around 30 decibels!
To put it into perspective, we take all the sounds around us for granted. Even when we perceive our surrounding as “quiet”, we would still be exposed to faint noises from afar or the sounds we make as we’re doing something. People who have tested the room for themselves have reported hearing the sounds their own bodies make- from pounding heartbeats, the vibration of their eardrums, to digestive gurgles, all of which we don’t pay attention to under normal circumstances.
Though the room is available for anyone who want to experiment and give the quietness a go, it is also used for product manufacturers to test acoustic equipment and other components.