Founder and president Steven Orfield likes to challenge visitors to sit in the chamber in the dark, alone. The lab is called an anechoic chamber, meaning there is no echo as the room absorbs 99.99% of sound.One reporter lasted up to 45 minutes, and most people leave after half that time, tortured by the eerie sounds of their own body. “In the anechoic chamber, you become the sound,” says Mr. Orfield. In the absence of outside noise, it is the presence of maddening silence to which the ears adapt. As ears adapt to silence, the sounds of your heart beat, stomach, and lungs are your only reference, and it can be a very disorienting experience.
A typical quiet bedroom at night measures about 30 decibels; this chamber measures at -9 decibels. It is made of 3.3-foot-thick fibre glass acoustic wedges, double walls of insulated steel and foot-thick concrete.