The Quietest Room on Earth

world's quietest room
June 16, 2017

We all crave a place that we can go for a little peace and quiet. But how would you like to spend time in the quietest room on earth? Does a “world’s quietest room” even exist? Where is it? And would you really enjoy spending time in the quietest room in the world? Read on!

Where to Find the World’s Quietest Room

The World’s quietest room does indeed exist. It is located in Redmond, Washington, and it was built by Microsoft in Building 87 on its campus. There are actually three “anechoic” chambers in the building, all designed to completely absorb any ambient sound. The Guinness Book of World Records has confirmed that these chambers meet the standard of “World’s Quietest Room.”

How the World’s Quietest Room Works

The entire room is built using sound-absorbent wedges. These wedges cover the room from wall to wall and floor to ceiling. They’re not pretty, but they get the job done. But that’s not all.

The room is also completely isolated from its surroundings. There’s an air gap between the room and the adjacent walls, so no sound from other rooms can leak in. The room is also on springs, so the floor has no contact with the ground through which sound might travel into the room.

Why Make a World’s Quietest Room?

The quietest room on earth wasn’t built just to break a record — there’s actually a technical purpose. Microsoft uses the room for things like determining the sounds that a Surface Tablet makes, so they can give it the most pleasant sounds possible, and testing Cortana, their digital personal assistant, to see how well it responds to questions with various noises happening in the background.

Any testing that needs to be done where sound would be an interference, or where isolating a certain type of sound is desirable, can be done effectively in this room.

What Is It Like Being in the World’s Quietest Room?

If you’ve spent a lot of time dealing with crying babies, screaming coworkers or construction noise, the world’s quietest room probably sounds like a dream come true. However, if reports are any indication, you probably wouldn’t like it very much. We use sound to navigate through our lives, and without it, it’s easy to become disoriented.

So far, the longest a person has lasted in the room is 45 minutes.

In the chamber, you become the sound, so any sound your body makes, from your heartbeat to swallowing, becomes significantly amplified. Your speech sounds almost mechanical and unfamiliar, as it’s not affected by the usual echoing you encounter while speaking in a normal environment. Also, most people find that they have to sit down in the room fairly quickly, as we use sound cues to help guide our movement, and without those sound cues, we quickly become unbalanced.

According to Microsoft scientists, the only sound in the room is the sound of air molecules rubbing together. The only possible way for a room to be quieter is if it were in a vacuum, like you’d find in outer space.

Learn More About the Science of Sound

If the idea of the world’s quietest room intrigues you, there’s a lot more to learn about sound, the lack of sound, and how it all affects us. Check in with the Soundproof Cow blog regularly to learn more fun sound-related facts and news!