I am going to scream as loud as I can and I am going to keep screaming as loud as I
can while I spin around. I will keep going until my breath runs out.
>> You ready? >> Yeah.
>> Ok [Screams]
>> That was outstanding. Thank you.
>> Thank you.
>> The quietest place on earth is apparently an anechoic chamber in Minneapolis. Now I
am here at BYU at their anechoic chamber. Anechoic is Latin and basically means no echo.
And the way they achieve no echo is through all of these foam wedges which are put on the wall
and even the floor. You can see that I am actually on a spring floor and down
below me there are all of these wedges.
Now you may want to use headphones while you are listening to this video, because that
is going to be quite important.
>> Low frequency sound will come in and, by the shape of it, bounce and just keep bouncing
pretty much forever until it just gets lost in the wall. And then high frequencies are
more so going to get absorbed into the foam itself.
>> You can hear how the room deadens echoes by clapping constantly while closing the doors.
It totally changes the quality of the sound. >> Definitely.
>> There are reports that it is impossible to stay in one of these rooms and remain sane
for a significant period of time. The record is apparently 45 minutes.
>> I felt a little claustrophobic. And yet, it felt like there is a lot of pressure on my
>> But why would that be? I mean, the air is no different in here.
>> What I figured is just because when you listen in a normal room there is a lot of
reverb. To your ear that means there is a lot of space, but there is none of that in
here, so it feels claustrophobic.
>> It feels like you are in a tiny room, like you could be in a coffin.
>>Yeah, maybe, yeah.
>> I think it is really an anxiety response. So you are used to having these sounds around
you and then you don’t anymore and so you start to panic, because you don’t have something
you are used to, and I think that anxiety can increase, cause some stress, and maybe that's
why people go crazy or hallucinate with sound. It is just because they are trying
to make up for what they are used to that isn’t there.
>> When I bring people in I warn them: Hey, if you get a little dizzy, please let me know,
so I can get you out of the room before you make a mess in our expensive facilities.
>> First you will hear any rustle of your clothing. So you move an inch and you will
hear it. Then you will hear any fluids that are in your mouth or your throat. You'll
hear them all moving around every time you move your mouth. And the longer you stay there
the more you will hear. So you will start to hear the blood flow through your brain.
>> Have you heard it?
>> Yeah. It sounds kind of like a ringing or a pulsing.
>> Can you kind of make the sound for us so that we know what to listen in for?
>> Of the blood flow? >> Yeah, like...
>> It just sounds like a pulsing, like, shh, shh, shh.
Some people say they can hear their heart beat coming from their chest as well.
>> Have you heard that?
>> A violinist placed in one of these rooms was apparently banging on the door within a matter
of seconds trying to get out. Now that people say it's impossible to stand up
because you become so disoriented, dizzy, nauseous. And some people even hear oral hallucinations.
But to me it doesn’t sound right. You know, I believe that I should be able to sit in
a room with no sound with the lights off for as long as I like. And so I am going to put
myself to the test by staying in this room for as long as I can.
>> Have fun in silence.
>> Thank you.
Now it is just me in the anechoic chamber. And this is probably the quietest place I
have ever been. And in a second I will tell the guys, shut the lights off.
Ok, I think...
Oh. I am ready.
And the lights are off. I'm going to turn off the camera so I don’t
have this light and then there is only the audio recorder that I will keep with me.
I'm not sure how long I have been in here, but I still feel quite comfortable.
It's nice and quiet. I mean, that is an understatement. But it's relaxing.
If I hear anything, I feel like I hear a low pitched hum.
If I have to guess as to how long I have been in here I would say about eight minutes.
I feel like I am more aware of my heart. I can feel each pulse, and I can almost feel
it radiating up my chest towards my head,
like a wave.
And in my ears there's a hiss. I think that is just...
from hearing loss.
This just reminds me of that Mission Impossible movie where Tom Cruise sneaks into that building
and he has to keep his decibel level low.
That was a burp. I don’t know if you could hear that.
I can say the really small sounds seem amplified. It is like your brain has recalibrated, so
the quiet things seem much louder.
I feel like I can feel more things like...
with every beat of my heart it feels like...
my body shakes a little bit...
like a device that has a little motor inside of it. How it gets shook around
like a thumb.
Ok, Cameron, looks to me like we are good for time. If it looks the same to you like
we are around 46 minutes or over, I am happy to hop out. So, yeah, when you are ready you
could flip the lights back on if you like. Are you there?
I think I have been in here for nearly an hour according to my time checks. And I
didn’t fall asleep, I just, you know, I have had a good time. It is a nice quiet
space. I kind of feel like this would be a good material to pad your bedroom in. Not
a problem. Anechoic chamber, 45 minutes, an hour. Easy. I could stay in here for five
hours. I think I could get a lot of work done in here.
So now I just have to get out. And I am going to see if I can exit this room without them
turning the lights on.
Even the doors are nice and quiet. There we are. Back to the outside world.
Hello, how are you doing? >> You alive? >> I am.
I don't really understand how anyone could go crazy in there. I mean, quiet is kind of nice. But then again
there are people who find all sorts of situations really uncomfortable like just being in pitch
black room or being in a small confined space. So maybe those types of people would find
this kind of unnerving.
I definitely noticed that there were a lot of noises. Like it wasn’t just pure silence.
Like I actually have to work hard to make things feel silent. Otherwise, you know, there
was the sound of like me just rubbing my beard or just like the rustle of your clothes or
every time you swallow or you breathe. Perhaps the weirdest thing I noticed was like my sense
of my heart. I just felt like it was pumping really hard, and I could feel almost like the
blood pushing up through me. It wasn’t like I was hearing it. It was just like I was feeling
it. And I was feeling it as though, in a way, my heart
was shaking my body.
That was something weird.
But besides that, nothing crazy, no weird hallucinations or anything like that.
So I think the myth that you can’t stay in here for longer than 45 minutes is busted,
even though this is not Myth Busters. I still think it is not true.
Now if you really hate silence, you should always carry an audio book around with you.
And I can recommend a good one: The Fault in our Stars by my friend John Green. It is
an excellent book and it has been basically the talk of the best sellers ever since it
was released. And soon there is a movie coming out and so you probably want to get through
the book before you go and see the movie. Now you can download this book for free by
going to Audible.com/Veritasium. Or you could pick any other book of your choosing for a
one month free trial. Audible is an amazing site with over 150,000 titles in all areas
of literature including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. So you should check them
out. The link is in the doobly-doo, as John would say.
So I would like to thank Audible for supporting me and I would like to thank you for watching.