Nowadays, when everything is moving at such a crazy speed, we crave peace and quiet from time to time, but absolute silence seems to be frightening.
Luckily, this is something you don’t have to experience if you don’t want to test yourself, because the only place where you can experience total silence is in an anechoic chamber.
There are several such cameras around the world, and the quietest of them is located at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond (Virginia, USA).
Rated at -20.35 dBA, this room drowns out all outside noise, making any sound produced inside downright creepy.
“As soon as a person enters a room, they immediately experience a strange and wonderful sensation that is difficult to describe,” Hundraj Gopal, a speech and hearing specialist and developer of Microsoft’s anechoic chamber, told CNN.
“Most people find the absence of sound deafening, they feel a feeling of fullness in the ears or a ringing.
Very faint sounds become clearly audible because the ambient noise is exceptionally low.
When you turn your head, you can hear this movement. You can hear your breathing and it sounds loud.”
Of course, if you focus on it, you can hear your breathing anywhere, but the background noises that constantly surround us usually cause our ears to ignore such minor sounds.
However, once inside an anechoic chamber where there is no background noise at all, the ears adjust to perceive even the faintest sounds, and things get weird very quickly.
“The longest time anyone has spent in a cell is about 55 minutes,” Gopal said.
“I noticed that there are a few people who can stay inside for 30 minutes or so.
But others asked to leave within the first few seconds.”
It turns out that being able to clearly hear your internal organs is not the most pleasant feeling in the world, and being in the quietest room in the world with the lights off is even scarier because you literally have to stay still, as the lack of sound causes you to lose balance.
But how quiet is the world’s quietest room? Well, think of it this way: in a quiet room, one of the lowest sounds a person can hear is calm breathing, and it’s about 10 dB.
The anechoic chamber at Microsoft headquarters is rated at 20.35 dBA, or 20.35 decibels below the threshold of human hearing.
Microsoft’s anechoic chamber consists of six layers of concrete and steel and is mounted on an array of vibration-dampening springs. Inside, the walls and ceiling are covered with fiberglass wedges to suppress sound propagation.
The floor consists of suspended sound-absorbing cables. The entire room is also cut off from the rest of the building and the outside world to reduce the chance of any sound coming in.
Those brave enough to test themselves in the world’s quietest room will be disappointed to learn that Microsoft’s anechoic chamber is closed to the public.
The tech giant uses it to test various audio devices such as microphones, receivers, and speakers, as well as check clicks and hums from other computing devices.
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