ATLAS OBSCURA

Photograph by Steven Orfield, via Orfield Laboratories.

Curious Fact of the Week: Quietest Place in the World

In the world’s quietest chamber, the loudest noise is your own heartbeat.

Orfield Laboratories in Minneapolis hosts what is cited to be the quietest place in the world. Their anechoic chamber cuts out 99.99% of the world’s blaring sound, leaving the person inside alone with only the suddenly cacophonous noise of their own body.

There are many anechoic (non-echoing) chambers, but the one at Orfield Laboratories, created by Steven Orfield, is especially silent. Using rows of acoustic wedges formed from fiberglass, thick steel and concrete walls, and a mesh floor, the decibels of the room measure at -9.4. This is far below even the most faint of whispers, and the experience reportedly gives people who spend time in the room hallucinations. However, the main uses of the room, aside from some rare tours, is to test the noise of products as riotous as machinery for a Harley Davidson to the near imperceptible sounds of a cell phone screen.

More on the Quietest Place in the World, on Atlas Obscura!