Here in Stereofox, we deliver content for two of our sense organs - the sense of hearing and that of sight. The human ear helps you to hear sounds and also to keep your balance. How exactly is not the issue discussed here, but rather than that it is the lack of sound for it to detect once you enter in an anechoic chamber.
So what exactly is this place? It is a specially designed room that prevents any external noise from entering and it also absorbs any internal sound, rather reflecting it like most surfaces do. An average quiet room where you can take relax or take a nap has a sound level of 30 decibels whether as an anechoic chamber reaches a level of minus nine (-9db) decibels. To make it more clear here are few examples of loudness of sounds in everyday life. Normal breathing is 10 db, a laughter is 60-65 db, you hear 40 db coming out of the refrigerator, diesel truck engine roars with 84 db, the noise from an approaching train reaches 100 db and plane taking off or a gun shot is 130 decibels.An extensive exposure to sounds more than 125 db causes physical pain and damages your hearing.
Now can you imagine how does it feel to be in such a quiet room? -9 db means there is no echo in the room hence the name anechoic. The is no reflection of sound, is is adsorb by almost a meter long fiber-glass acoustic wedges which are sticking out the walls and the ceiling, the floor is also meshed. It is so quiet in the room that one can hear his lungs breathing, heart beating, growling stomach, even your ears which are apparently both loud speakers and a microphone. This means it is so quiet that your ears can produce audio hallucinations the same way the sensual system will produce visual hallucinations if you are in a pitch black room. "In the anechoic chamber, you become the sound" say Steven Orfield, the president of Orfield Laboratories. Most of the people who have visited such rooms do not enjoy the experience. It is too quiet, some start feeling disorientated due to the lack of external sounds and even uncomfortable from sounds coming out of their own bodies. Like this is not enough, NASA trains their astronauts in soundproof basins of water in complete darkness. This has to be the ultimate torture one can think of.
So far it seems like the anechoic chamber is a terrible place to be in. Could it be used for something practical rather than torment to our senses? The answer is yes. Many companies from different industries use such rooms to test products sound levels from vacuum cleaners, hospital equipment to the sound of the display of a cellphone and the sound of a switch on a car dashboard. There are far more complex uses in the automotive, high-tech industry and telecommunication sphere.
An interesting experiment comes from Patrick Froment, a student in his final year who wanted to measure the sound of a single raindrop landing on a roof tile. Others, such as associate professor Pavel Zahorik use anechoic chambers to study sound and how the brain actually decodes it, which have many applications in psychology and brain science. The last example is perhaps the most interesting one. It is plain and simple, stripped of complex scientific terminology and is an audio-visual delight. Have you ever heard loudly and clearly a snail munching on a lettuce or a centipede hastily crossing the room? Now it is your chance.
University College London has an anechoic chamber and you can actually hire it for 65 pounds (75 EUR) per hour. I wonder if the walls of an anechoic chamber have ever muted the sounds of a passionate love making?