The Earth’s Quietest Place – What Are Anechoic Chambers?

An anechoic chamber is a room that can completely absorb electromagnetic waves and sounds, which in turn renders the room into a disturbing silence. This is why anechoic chambers are considered to be the quietest place on Earth. The inside of the anechoic room is so silent that you can hear your heartbeat and other organs, such as your lungs breathing in and out and stomach gurgling. In other words, an anechoic room is an echoless room that’s able to prevent the reflection of electromagnetic waves and sound. Not only that but anechoic rooms are also insulated from any noise that is coming from the outside. 

Orfield Laboratories in Minnesota hold the record of the quietest place room on Earth. According to the anechoic room’s owner and the company’s CEO, people who entered their anechoic room for more than a few minutes found the silence to be annoying and discomforting. The longest time a person stayed inside this room was 45 minutes straight.

How Can They Make Such Silent Rooms?

When it comes to making a room quiet, the basic principle is to make sure that there can be no rebounding sound waves that can travel inside the room. This means that the room itself must absorb all the sound, and in order to do this, the anechoic rooms are furrowed with fiberglass wedges on their walls, floor, and ceiling. The fiberglass wedges create an uneven surface that protrudes from different directions.

When electromagnetic waves and sounds hit the fiberglass, they are immediately transferred to the body of a wedge, where the wave energy quickly dispels. Any remaining sound or electromagnetic waves will reflect off the wedge and land on another wedge that repeats the process repeatedly. This way, all of the sound wave energy dispels until there’s no echo and the room becomes increasingly quiet.

What is the Use of Anechoic Rooms?

Aside from being one of the quietest rooms on Earth, anechoic rooms are used as testing grounds. The first anechoic room was made in the United States during the 1940s. Back then, they were used in acoustic testing because they can be an absolute noiseless environment that is perfect for inspecting equipment. Anechoic rooms are also used to test electromagnetic interference, radar, and antennas.

NASA also used anechoic rooms to help their astronauts adapt to the silence of space.

Today, some of the techniques used in making anechoic rooms are used in substantial concert halls to absorb any vibration from high concentrations of sounds.

The inside of the anechoic room is so silent that it can drive you crazy when you stayed inside of it for an hour. This is because when it is quiet, our ears will tend to adapt, and the more silent the room is, the more things you will tend to hear. 

When you’re inside an anechoic chamber, you will be able to hear some of your internal organs working, which is why you will become the sound. Not only that, but you will also have trouble orienting yourself and find it hard to stand up when you’re inside an anechoic room simply. This is because we orient ourselves through the sounds we hear when we walk, and when you’re inside an anechoic chamber, you will not have any cues. This will take away all the perceptual cues that allow your body to maneuver and balance. That’s why you’re going to need a chair if you plan to stay inside an anechoic room for half an hour.