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'World's quietest room' drives you crazy

The longest that anyone has survived in the room at Orfield Laboratories in South Minneapolis is just 45 minutes.

 
It’s 99.99 per cent sound absorbent and achieves the ultra quietness by virtue of its 3.3-foot-thick fibreglass acoustic wedges, double walls of insulated steel and foot-thick concrete.


An employee works in an anechoic chamber which is a room designed to stop reflections of either sound or electromagnetic waves, in the new testing plant of the Liebherr-Aerospace production site in the French southwestern city of Toulouse. Liebherr-Aerospace is a swiss manufacturer of air systems for aircraft and a subcontractor of Airbus Industries. AFP PHOTO (File picture for representational use)

“We challenge people to sit in the chamber in the dark - one reporter stayed in there for 45 minutes,” company founder and president, Steven Orfield, told the Daily Mail.
 
“When it’s quiet, ears will adapt. The quieter the room, the more things you hear. You’ll hear your heart beating, sometimes you can hear your lungs, hear your stomach gurgling loudly.
 
“In the anechoic chamber, you become the sound,” he said.
 
Orfield explained that the experience is so disconcerting that sitting down is a must.
 
“How you orient yourself is through sounds you hear when you walk. In the anechoic chamber, you don’t have any cues.
 
You take away the perceptual cues that allow you to balance and manoeuvre. If you’re in there for half an hour, you have to be in a chair,” he added.
 
The chamber was given its “world’s quietest” distinction in 2004 and still holds the record. It is used by a number of manufacturers to test how loud their products are.
 
“It’s used for formal product testing, for research into the sound of different things - heart valves, the sound of the display of a cell phone, the sound of a switch on a car dashboard,” Orfield said.

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