Scientists built the world’s quietest place, a concrete room where you can hear your own organs: your heart, stomach, and even the blood running through your veins.
About Quietest Room
Microsoft constructed the world’s quietest place in 2015. However, while it may appear to be a haven of contemplative bliss, few people can bear staying in the room for an extended period of time.
After a few minutes, you should be able to hear your own heartbeat. If you wait a little longer, you’ll hear your own blood running and your bones crunching.
With no sound from the outside world allowed in, the near-complete quiet will soon appear as an agonising ringing in your ears.
When the pleasure is finished, you’ll probably lose your equilibrium because the lack of reverberation in the space undermines your natural spatial sense.
The room is known as a “anechoic” (meaning “without echo”) chamber, and it took two years to develop at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
The world’s quietest room’s Inside
Our ears are constantly subjected to some level of noise in the outer world. However, because there is no echo, there is no air pressure on the ear drums in the chamber.
According to Hundraj Gopal, main designer of the chamber at Microsoft, “most people find the absence of sound overwhelming, feel a sense of fullness in the ears, or some ringing.” Because the ambient noise is incredibly low, even very weak noises become plainly discernible.
“Just notice its motion if you move your head. You can hear yourself breathing, and it sounds a little loud.”
According to Gopal, the background noise in the echoless chamber is as close to ‘absolute zero of sound’ as you can get without entering a vacuum.
The enclosed chamber is surrounded by six levels of concrete and steel, which help to block out all sound from the outside world. It sits atop an array of vibration dampening springs. Fiberglass wedges are placed on the floor, ceiling, and walls to break up sound waves before they bounce back into the room.
Inside, the measured noise level is negative decibels — specifically, -20.3 dB, which is 20.3 decibels below the human hearing threshold. In a normal environment, quiet breathing can be heard at 10dB and a faint whisper at 30dB.
The concrete bunker now holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s quietest place, eclipsing another chamber near Minneapolis with noise levels of -9.4 decibels.
What is the purpose of the world’s quietest room?
Microsoft’s silent room, like most anechoic chambers, is used to test sound equipment and electronic gadgets. It is used by the tech behemoth to analyse the clicks and hums of new computer equipment, microphones, headphones, and speakers.
These rooms are more frequent than you may believe. Senior research audiologist John Macrae is depicted here playing the recorder in Australia’s own “quietest chamber,” the National Acoustic Laboratories in Chatswood, Sydney.
The walls, ceiling, and floors are all covered in shaped foam. Because the room has no hard walls, no sound waves are reflected back.
The NAL conducts extensive research into improved earmuffs and plugs to mitigate the effects of workplace noise. Because there is no background noise in the room, the effectiveness of various ear defenders may be accurately examined.
How long can you stay in the world’s quietest room?
A Smithsonian article asserts that “Earth’s quietest area would drive you insane in 45 minutes.”
There are many rumours concerning the longest time somebody has stayed in the world’s quietest chamber.
While there is no official competition, Gopal at Microsoft tells CNN that “the longest continuous period anyone has stayed inside the chamber is roughly 55 minutes.”