Silence can be a welcomed respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life — yet it holds an ever greater mystery in the world’s quietest room.
Microsoft constructed the world’s noiseless space in 2015, and it is currently enshrined in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Dubbed the anechoic chamber at their headquarters in Redmond, Washington, 2015’s “ultra-sensitive tests” revealed a startling average background noise reading of -20.35 dBA (decibels A-weighted — a measurement of sound pressure).
Very few people can bear to stay in the same room for more than an hour, or even less.
Within minutes, you’ll be able to detect your own heartbeat and soon after that, the grinding of bones and rushing of blood.
Although you may expect an anechoic chamber to be a place of complete silence, it actually serves the purpose of eliminating all outside noise so that you can focus on and appreciate the multitude of sounds your own body makes.
Although many of us think of the quietest places on Earth as being completely silent, in reality, these areas are generally much louder than what we can hear (which is 0 decibels).
For example, a library reading room typically registers around 40 decibels on the sound meter.
Gradually, the thick veil of silence will shift to a mind-numbing ring in your ears that you cannot escape. With no noise from outside sources breaking through, this oppressive sound is all-consuming.
Without the reverberation of sound in the room, you will likely struggle to maintain your balance due to impaired spatial awareness.
Previously, Hundraj Gopal, the principal designer at Microsoft’s chamber spoke to express that “When you turn your head, you can even hear that motion. You can hear yourself breathing and it sounds somewhat loud.”
The two-year project to create anechoic, or echo-free, space has been completed.
Constructed with six layers of concrete and steel, this room is distinct from its surrounding structure. A row of vibration-dampening springs situates beneath the floor to absorb any disturbances that may occur. Inside, fiberglass wedges are strategically placed on the walls, ceiling, and floors to interrupt sound waves before they can reverberate around the chamber.
Subsequently, another soundproof room is competing to claim the title of being the world’s quietest space.
Orfield Laboratories in Minneapolis is home to the world’s quietest place, boasting a remarkable “-24.9 dBA” reading according to the room’s creator Steven J. Orfield. This measurement has officially surpassed all previous records and made this space completely one of a kind!
Orfield informed the New York Times that he has sent a request to Guinness World Records so his chamber can once again be honored with its title; as of now, he awaits their response.
A Guinness representative has acknowledged the reception of Orfield’s most recent submission, and stated that their records-management team is currently evaluating “assessing both his evidence and their testing criteria.”