The Quietest Place on Earth

This is the quietest place on Earth. It’s so quiet that you can hear the sounds of your own heart and stomach. The average person can only spend about 30 minutes in this room before they start hallucinating.

According to Guinness World Records, 2005, Orfield Laboratory’s anechoic chamber (pictured above) is "The quietest place on Earth" measured at −9.4 decibels. However, the University of Salford has a number of anechoic chambers, one of which is unofficially the quietest in the world having a measurement of −12.4 decibels.

The purpose of an anechoic chamber is for testing the response of loudspeakers or microphones because the room doesn’t affect the acoustic measurements. It is also the best place for virtual acoustics - generating auralizations of concert halls, city streets and other spaces.

This is an anechoic chamber. An anechoic chamber is a chamber that does not produce any echo, making it the “world’s quietest room”. According to scientists at Orfield Laboratories, Minneapolis, the key to making it anechoic (as seen in the picture) is the design and construction of the ceilings, walls, and the floor. This rather peculiar looking design absorbs all sound, and leaves nothing. Not even an echo. 

This environment, seemingly harmless, can actually drive you crazy within 30-or-so minutes. It’s so quiet, you can supposedly hear your own organs: your heart, stomach, etc. They all make a tiny, tiny amount of noise. It turns out this is quite a disturbing ordeal (especially in darkness) and the longest period of time anyone has been in the anechoic chamber is approximately 45 minutes before the person started to hallucinate and asked to be immediately dislocated from the room. 

Inside an anechoic chamber all sound is absorbed.  It is so quiet you can hear the blood circulating in your own body, especially inside your head.  Rooms like this cause people to have hallucinations, and the longest single stretch of time anyone has ever stayed in one is 45 minutes.


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Can Prolonged Silence Really Lead to Insanity?

It has been said that no one has been able to last more than 45 minutes in the quietest room on Earth, which happens to be Orfield Laboratory’s ‘anechoic chamber.’ Learn if (and how) silence can affect a person’s mind:

Image Credit: University of Salford

The Sound of Clothes

Project from SHOWstudio “that uses sound instead of visuals to interpret the essence of key garments from the Autumn/Winter 2006 collections by leading fashion brands. Part of a series of projects devoted to exploring ‘The Sound of Clothes’, these interactives and fashion films explore sound ‘generated’ by the garments themselves.”

Sound was recorded in an echo-free space in order to focus on the distinct sonic qualities different clothes make when they move. Check out some videos here!

The worlds quietest room. Scientists at Minneapolis’ Orfield Labs created their own soundless room, an anechoic chamber. Their studies have found that when putting subjects within the chamber, they begin to hallucinate within 30 minutes.

Although extremely interesting, the experience is actually quite unpleasant. Not one subject has spent more than 45 minutes in the chamber alone. Leaving a person to only their thoughts, the chamber could drive them insane.


Curious Fact of the Week: Quietest Place in the World

In the world’s quietest chamber, the loudest noise is your own heartbeat.

Orfield Laboratories in Minneapolis hosts what is cited to be the quietest place in the world. Their anechoic chamber cuts out 99.99% of the world’s blaring sound, leaving the person inside alone with only the suddenly cacophonous noise of their own body.

There are many anechoic (non-echoing) chambers, but the one at Orfield Laboratories, created by Steven Orfield, is especially silent. Using rows of acoustic wedges formed from fiberglass, thick steel and concrete walls, and a mesh floor, the decibels of the room measure at -9.4. This is far below even the most faint of whispers, and the experience reportedly gives people who spend time in the room hallucinations. However, the main uses of the room, aside from some rare tours, is to test the noise of products as riotous as machinery for a Harley Davidson to the near imperceptible sounds of a cell phone screen.

More on the Quietest Place in the World, on Atlas Obscura!