Many people associate quiet with peacefulness, but a few minutes inside Microsoft’s anechoic chamber in Redmond, Washington might create the opposite effect. That’s because the room, which recently nabbed the Guinness World Record for the quietest place on Earth, is so silent that all visitors can hear are the sounds of their own bodies.
Before earning the title, two independent sound specialists carried out separate tests measuring the room at -20.6 dBA and -20.1 dBA (dB standing for decibels and the “A” designating sound pressure). Mathematicians theorize the quietest sound to be Brownian motion, or the movement of particles in a gas or liquid. This is calculated at -23dB, making Microsoft’s anechoic chamber closer to the quietest sound possible than it is to the previous record of -13dBA held by Orfield Labs in Minneapolis.
At such extreme levels of silence, visitors are able to hear things like the blood rushing through their veins and their scalps moving across their skulls. Apparently, that’s enough to drive people up the wall. In fact, the president and founder of Orfield Labs, Steven Orfield, wasn’t able to last in his own chamber for any longer than 30 minutes at a time.
But the facility in Microsoft’s Building 87 wasn’t built as a center for torture. The echo-absorbing wedges lining the room make it the ideal place to test microphones, speakers, and voice recognition technology. You can take a look inside the chamber in the video below.