Day Twenty-Eight: Silence
This is a photograph of the anechoic chamber at Orfield Labs in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It holds the Guinness Record for quietest room in the world. Picture a nice, quiet nighttime room for sleeping in. That’s about 30 decibels, on average. The atmosphere in the anechoic chamber is -9 decibels. It has no sound, and it deadens sound that is produced in it.
The anechoic chamber is a strange place. After just a few minutes in the chamber, you start to hear your own heart beating and the functioning of your organs. There is nothing else to focus on, so you hear yourself more clearly than you ever have before. After half an hour, the silence leads to severe disorientation, and you had better be sitting down or you’ll probably fall. After just forty-five minutes of silence, you may begin hallucinating as your sensory-starved brain creates things for you to listen to. Thus far nobody has made it beyond an hour or so in the chamber. A little silence is nice, but it’s easy to get too much of a good thing.