MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Just about everyone needs some peace and quiet every now and then, and there’s a place in the Twin Cities that might be able to give you all the quiet you need and then some.

Orfield Laboratories in Minneapolis has a room that blocks 99.99 percent of all sound, according to a report in Tecca, an online magazine that follows technology. A number of companies use it to test out the loudness of their products.

But just because the room is quiet doesn’t mean it’s peaceful.

Tecca reports that researchers at NASA are using the room to test the effects of silence on people.

They found that when humans are in such a silent place, our ears amplify things like our own heartbeat.

After several minutes, people start to hallucinate. The longest anyone lasted was 45 minutes.

Comments (14)
  1. James says:

    really, someone can’t stay in a sound proof room for more than 45 minutes, really? I doubt that.

    1. Swamp Fox says:

      That’s a fact!!! Many years ago, I was a research subject on this subject sponsored by the Pentagon. It was to test GIs reaction to being placed in total isolation with out sound &/or sensory cues/stimulation. This was much like the issues astronauts, POW’s, and isolated-duty personnel could face if the conditions were such.

      In the totally isolated sound-proof solitary confinement environ, even though test subjects, like me, could zone out and sleep, You become disorientated and psychologically scrambled when the time in this environment increased. Regardless of light or darkness conditions, the human psyche can only take so much sensory deprivation before the human animal-like survival response mechanisms take over the human spirit.

      Total sound deprivation in a sound-proof environment is against every human survival instinct to cope with the unknown stressful situations. No matter how prepared a person can be for this deprivation, the human psyche goes a bit irrationally askew and makes the person’s well-being go haywire.

      I don’t recommend this totally sound deprived environment for anyone, it could cause some major physical and psychological problems, if not treated asap, for the participant. I speak from experience. It’s not fun.

    2. flanders says:

      I’d love to give it a shot though.

  2. McFeddle says:

    James, I think your problem would be mostly gas.

  3. desert eagle .50 says:

    If the room were dark I could envision disorientation. My former employer had an “anechoic chamber” for testing speakers. I didn’t spend any time in the room, just was aware of it.

    1. Swamp Fox says:

      Eagle you are right in part but even when the lights are on the disorientation does appear and take over. It may take a little more time in isolation.

      In maximum security prison solitary confinements this fact surfaces all the time. That’s where “stir-crazy” comes from.

  4. SJ says:

    Deaf people live every day in silence without mental problems over the lack of sound.
    Show me the room and I would be glad to spend some serious time in there.

    1. Swamp Fox says:

      You are correct but don’t forget that in this test environment there are no other sensory cues either except say one’s own body [heartbeat etc.]. If the deaf person was put in a solitary confinement environ and deprived of other heightened sensory inputs, like the deaf have developed, then the results should be approximately the same. That’s human nature for you. There is science to back this up.

  5. Jennifer says:

    45 minutes? As a stay-at-home-mother of a 1 year old and a 2 year old, I would love the chance to try to beat that record. Please, please, please let me try!

  6. Good Dayton says:

    Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Linux for human beings…


  7. desert eagle .50 says:

    I recall some movie or tv show where they suspended someone in a pool of water to effective achieve sensory deprivation and the guy cracked.

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