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Blackberry's avatar

How long would you last in a soundless room (details)?

Asked by Blackberry (31878points) May 12th, 2012

I’m on my phone, so no article, but there’s a room where it’s so quiet you can hear your insides. They said due to lack of stimuli, the brain can even hallucinate to compensate.

The longest is 45 min.

Can you do it?

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19 Answers

Coloma's avatar

Probably. I am used to living in a very quiet ( minus animal sounds like honking geese and braying donkeys lol ) rural environment.
While an extrovert at heart I also embrace silence and solitude. I have trained my active mind to be still and could manage quite easily I think. When I have city guests up they complain it is too quiet here. lol I’m the opposite, city noise, traffic, drives me nuts

45 minutes of total silence would really just be a meditation session for me..

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

No problem. I like the quiet at times. Other times I like my music. All depends on my mood.

Blackberry's avatar

The average quiet room is around 34 decibels. This room, is -7 decibels…

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Blackberry -7 decibels? How is that possible?

ragingloli's avatar

Deaf people do that continuously.

ucme's avatar

I don’t know & find it impossible to estimate.

thorninmud's avatar

In a soundless room, no one can hear you scream

I visited an acoustically dead chamber once in the engineering building of a university. I remember there being a compelling illusion of having something stuffed in my ears.

I do know that in the course of multi-day silent meditation retreats, where you’re facing the wall for 12 hours a day and receiving very little sensory input, it’s very common for the brain to just start creating its own sensory stimulation. You learn to expect it and see it as illusion. It all makes for amusing stories after the retreat.

I went to one retreat at a temple in Madison, Wi. Late one night, I heard a lion roar. It sounded so real, and I just grinned at the creativity of my brain. I found out after the retreat that the zoo was a couple of blocks from the temple.

Jeruba's avatar

The longest what is 45 min., @Blackberry?

I presume you know about the addition of comfort noise to otherwise silent or intermittently silent transmissions. The difference between absence of noticeable sound and absolute dead silence is significant enough to warrant adding a little bit of background noise. People don’t like the total soundlessness. Even in a quiet space, there is a little bit of ambient noise, just as there is usually at least a tiny bit of light unless you’re underground.

augustlan's avatar

I really like silence, but of course, what I consider “silence” isn’t actually silent. There’s always some kind of slight noise in the background. It would be interesting to see if I’d react differently to profound, actual silence. I imagine I’d feel somewhat relieved, at first. Noises kind of drive me crazy. After a while in true silence, though, I might be stark raving mad.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That someone one has lasted in such a room @Jeruba.

It would drive me bat shit crazy after 20 minutes. Maybe less.

(how do they get a negative decibel?)

SavoirFaire's avatar

The kind of room @Blackberry is talking about is called an anechoic chamber. It can achieve negative decibel levels because the decibel scale is defined in terms of human hearing capacity (meaning that anything below 0 decibels is too quiet for a human being to hear it unaided).

DaphneT's avatar

not likely. I like quiet, but anechoic chambers are eerily quiet and I do want the sound of the wind, my breathing, leaves rustling, pitter-patter, electronic hums etc.

wundayatta's avatar

They used to sell people time in sensory deprivation chambers. I think these were glorified bathtubs with sound deadening and no light. I thought people could stand about an hour in these rooms. So the 45 minute duration for no sound seems short to me.

hearkat's avatar

I am currently reading the book Zero Decibels on this very subject. As an Audiologist, I want to recommend it to everyone because we take our hearing for granted, and this book brings it to our consciousness.

Even in our test booths, which are not completely soundproof, people with fairly good hearing can hear their pulse and breathing. DeciBels are units of sound, and they are measured on different scales. 0dB SPL (sound pressure level) is no sound; but 0dB HL (hearing level) relates to the softest sounds that most humans can hear. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decibel

I have had ringing tinnitus in my ears for literally as long as I remember. I can not experience silence.

Bellatrix's avatar

No. Unless I have things to keep my mind occupied – say a book to read – there is no way.

Keep_on_running's avatar

I have no idea, probably not as long as I think I would though. Kind of related:

When I was sitting a maths test in class once I heard my mum yell out to my dad, yelling his name, and I was stunned. I literally put my head up and looked out the window but they weren’t there.

I still find it creepy to think about. It was extremely quiet in the room and mixed with stress my brain just created some strange false auditory experience; it just felt so real, my heart actually beated a little faster when I “heard” it.

Berserker's avatar

Eeeew I don’t want to hear my insides. I denno how long I could last, but I’d rather not try.

GracieT's avatar

Not long- I need to
have the radio, tv, something on for noise if I’m home alone. Silence is, to me, not golden!

Bent's avatar

I would almost certainly fall asleep, so I’d last as long as I slept.

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