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'World's quietest room' drives you crazy

London, Sun, 08 Apr 2012 ANI

London, Apr 8 (ANI): An 'anechoic chamber' in the US, named by Guinness World Records as the world's quietest place, is so silent it can actually give people hallucinations.

The longest that anyone has survived in the room at Orfield Laboratories in South Minneapolis is just 45 minutes.

It's 99.99 per cent sound absorbent and achieves the ultra quietness by virtue of its 3.3-foot-thick fibreglass acoustic wedges, double walls of insulated steel and foot-thick concrete.

"We challenge people to sit in the chamber in the dark - one reporter stayed in there for 45 minutes," company founder and president, Steven Orfield, told the Daily Mail.

"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.

"In the anechoic chamber, you become the sound," he said.

Orfield explained that the experience is so disconcerting that sitting down is a must.

"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 manoeuvre. If you're in there for half an hour, you have to be in a chair," he added.

The chamber was given its "world's quietest" distinction in 2004 and still holds the record. It is used by a number of manufacturers to test how loud their products are.

"It's used for formal product testing, for research into the sound of different things - heart valves, the sound of the display of a cell phone, the sound of a switch on a car dashboard," Orfield said. (ANI)

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