The earlier record for the quietest place on earth had belonged to an anechoic chamber at Orfield Laboratories in Minnesota. This chamber has a negative decibel rating of -9.4 dBA and things are so silent here that not many people can stay in the chamber for long. However, the record for the quietest place on earth has been broken by Microsoft. The quietest place on earth is now a chamber located deep inside Building 87 at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington. This is the same building where Microsoft has its hardware laboratories.
It took nearly two years to build the quietest place on earth. The chamber is a cube measuring 21ft (6.36m) on each side. It is surrounded by multiple concrete walls that block all sounds from the outside. The chamber sits on vibration damping springs and is surrounded by advanced insulation material. It is said that if a jumbo jet takes off from near the building, one would only hear a slight whisper inside the chamber.
Microsoft built the quietest place on earth not to create a record, but to test the new products and equipment that it was developing. Microsoft’s anechoic chamber is twice as silent as the chamber at Orfield Laboratories. It has a decibel rating of -20.6 dBA, which is so silent that you can actually hear your bones squish against each other as you walk in the chamber. This is quite close to the sound created by air molecules colliding with each other, which has been measured to have a decibel rating of -24 dBA. The silence cannot be described in words, but you can get an idea by comparing it with the decibel levels of other sounds. For example, when you whisper something, it’s about 30 decibels and when you breathe normally, it’s about 10 decibels.
It may appear that being inside earth’s quietest place may help you focus and think clearly. However, this is just the opposite of what actually happens inside the chamber. Since there is absolutely no sound, you are able to hear the slightest sounds that your body makes such as your heart beating, the blood flowing in your veins, etc. In a chamber with negative decibel rating, such sounds actually create an unpleasant eeriness, which is difficult to bear for long.
The lack of any reference points in the room also makes people to experience strange hallucinations. Many people who had taken the challenge to stay inside the chamber with the door closed had to be taken out in just a few minutes after they reported uneasiness, dizziness, fear and panic. This clearly shows that the most silent place on earth is not necessarily the most peaceful. As a matter of fact, Microsoft’s quietest place on earth can drive you crazy in minutes.