The screaming void: an hour in an anechoic chamber

May 26, 2020  NOISE MEASUREMENT, SOUND MEASUREMENT


As you walk into an anechoic chamber, you enter a strange new world: spiky, soft walls enclose every surface of the room. And when you look down, the floor is just a see-through mesh. Bouncing on the criss-crossed wires, the atmosphere seems to thicken around you – closing in more than the densest fog.

 

Can silence actually drive you crazy?

 

Many myths surround these surreal and fascinating spaces. Some people claim that the longest anyone has spent in an anechoic chamber is forty-five minutes. They say any longer would drive you insane.

 

Effects on the human body

Being in extreme silence has an interesting effect. With no sound to distract you, your body becomes the sound field. If you spend some time in an anechoic chamber you will hear:

 

  • Your stomach rumbling and gurgling loudly;
  • Your throat swallowing;
  • The hissing from your breathing lungs;
  • A low-pitched hum from your ears – louder than the effects of tinnitus;
  • Your heart beating loudly – you may even become so aware of your heart that you feel your chest moving from the heartbeats.

Not a pleasant experience and some people can only endure a few minutes of this strange silence! However, the record certainly stands at more than forty-five minutes. David Muller from Veritasium made a video investigation where he was able to spend a full hour in an anechoic chamber – and claimed he could have stayed in there for hours.

 

Can silence actually drive you crazy?


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