Is there total silence on Earth?

The moment we become calm and still, we begin to hear sounds that we normally don’t pay attention to. There is no absolute silence, at least on planet Earth. The closest thing we can experience is inside an anechoic chamber. And it’s not a pleasant experience for most people.

An anechoic chamber is a room isolated from external acoustic sources and with an internal floor, ceiling and wall design that absorbs all acoustic waves and all electromagnetic waves. External insulation prevents noise from entering and wave absorption inside minimizes reflection and echo.

The result is the closest thing we can experience to being in an open space, infinite and of absolute silence, since no noise reaches us from outside and the acoustic waves that can be produced inside are absorbed by the walls of the chamber without any return.

Currently, the anechoic chamber of the Microsoft Audio Lab is considered the quietest place on Earth, at least it has that Guinness record. It must be taken into account that the vibration of the planet itself emits sound waves, although the human being cannot perceive them. Technically, absolute silence only exists in a vacuum that disappears as soon as we are there.

The madness of absolute silence

Sound stimuli in our brain are constant throughout our lives and we are so used to them that the vast majority go unnoticed. When facing absolute external silence, the brain stops receiving these stimuli and focuses on internal stimuli. Heartbeat, bowel movements or breathing begin to be heard very loudly.

See also  How can I become an assistant manager?

Some people, like composer John Cage, have heard sounds that engineers identify with blood flow or the functioning of the nervous system.

At the beginning of a sensory deprivation you may feel calm and peaceful and some meditation techniques use this as a vehicle. Precisely through meditation, some people claim to experience total silence, although this is still a subjective experience that does not correspond to a real absence of sound.

However, for most people, sensory deprivation sustained over time causes severe anxiety attacks, hallucinations, and paranoia. And that’s what can happen inside an anechoic chamber. Sound deprivation can cause hallucinations after exposures of as little as 15 minutes.

In fact, sensory deprivation has been used as a method of torture, one of the most notorious cases being that of José Padilla, a prisoner in the United States who was subjected to sensory deprivation for 1,307 days.

Leave a Comment