"THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE"
We are constantly surrounded by sound. In a modern world, we are exposed to millions and millions of sounds, both pleasant and unpleasant, on a daily basis. Sometimes it seems enough to drive a person mad, so when I read an article last week about the quietest place on earth, I became intrigued.
In South Minneapolis, Minnesota, there is an anechoic chamber at Orfield Laboratories that can mute out 99.99% of all sound. "The Guinness Book of World Records" has listed the studio as the quietest place on earth. Companies from all over the world use the chamber to test the noise of their products. From Harley Davidson to Whirlpool, they have been able to test noise without any outside sound interference. Even NASA has used the chamber to help astronauts train for the silence of space.
Silence may not, however, be as golden as we have been led to believe. Complete depravation of sound does not make us calm and serene. In fact, it is the complete opposite. Subjects report at first they become aware of their own breathing, then the beating of their heart. The noisy sounds of the human body are usually drowned out by the ambient noise that envelops us on a daily basis. In the absence of sound, our ears, which are so used to searching for sound, will focus on the sounds of the body. Then the brain will create sound to fill the void, so deep in that anechoic chamber, alone with only our own sounds, hallucinations will begin. This lack of sound is so disturbing that the longest anyone has been able to stay in the chamber is only 45 minutes!
So remember, just when you think all the sounds of dogs barking, people mowing their lawns and children screaming are driving you mad, they may just be keeping you sane!