Feeling frustrated because you can’t find a peaceful zen moment or meditate in peace because of background noise distractions? Those screaming kids (yours or the neighbors), barking dogs, distant TV chatter and the occasional police siren can make it real hard to “get in the zone”.
Well… maybe you should be careful what you wish for, because it seems complete silence may not be as pleasant as you think.
Ever heard of an anechoic chamber? We’re talking about an echo-free room that absorbs all sound within its four walls whilst insulating it from all exterior sources of noise. The combination of eliminating all noise results in a very, very, very quiet space.
This chamber is SO quiet that even NASA uses anechoic chambers to train its astronauts to simulate the absolute silence experienced in outer space.
One such anechoic chamber has been set up by Orfield Laboratories, Minnesota. The chamber is made up of 3-foot thick fiberglass wedges, double walls of insulated steel and a foot-thick concrete that have the ability to absorb 99.99% of sound. According to the Guinness Book of Records, there is no quieter place in the world!
You’re probably thinking that this sounds like a heavenly place to be, but in reality, this silent zone can be a chamber of horrors and can cause hallucinations for some.
According to founder and president, Steven Orfield, “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.”
Ultimately, Orfield explained to the Mail Online that “in the anechoic chamber, you become the sound” and it is a very disorientating experience.
He says: “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 maneuver. If you’re in there for half an hour, you have to be in a chair.”
The longest period anyone has survived in the chamber (in darkness!) is a respectable 45-minutes, but Orfield is still trying to get people to challenge this record. Will you dare to meditate in silence?!
So, next time you want to reduce your stress levels and find a quiet space – think twice about finding absolute silence and feel grateful for that background chatter!