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Could you last 30 minutes in the world’s quietest room?

Sophia Swinford - published on 06/14/18

One of Microsoft's latest innovations proves that the sounds around us are a great gift.

The world’s quietest room, at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, lets no sound in or out. Using a combination of six layers of concrete, fiberglass, and vibration dampening springs, the architects have created a room that is so quiet that if it were any quieter, there would be the complete absence of sound.

After a couple of seconds, you can hear your heartbeat and your own breath sounds thundering, and even the grinding of your joints as you move can seem raucous. Many people experience a deafening ringing in their ears created by the absence of air pressure on their eardrums; when the ear is deprived of sound, it will start to create its own.

Mostly surprisingly, though? Soon, you’ll lose your balance. The absence of reverberations on the walls will compromise your spatial awareness.

But why have such a quiet room? What purpose does it serve? Microsoft uses the room to test the sounds emitted by new technology, including headphones, keyboards, microphones, and more.

While some people can last in the chamber for over 30 minutes, others need to leave after only a few seconds, but the ability of our senses to maintain the functions of our bodies (without us even realizing it) never fails to amaze.

You can find out more in the video above.

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Science
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