Where do you go when you need peace and quiet after a crazy, hectic day? Maybe you retreat to the couch, to curl up with a favorite book. Or maybe you tuck yourself safely beneath a cozy blanket on your bed. But however quiet your escape of choice is, we’re guessing it can’t compare to the “quietest place on earth” available to visitors — Orfield Laboratories.
Orfield Laboratories has a small room lined entirely with sound-proof foam, used primarily for research on how silence can be therapeutic for some disorders. The lab has earned multiple distinctions for its impressive silence in the Guinness Book of World Records, beginning in 2005, when readings hit a negative 2.5 decibels. It’s since been upstaged in quietness by a chamber built at Microsoft Headquarters, but that one is not open to the public. Fortunately, Orfield Laboratories has welcomed many visitors, and will continue doing so.
“[We run] two tours a week and most everybody is from outside of the area. It can be a small group of up to 10 or it can be an individual,” lab owner Steve Orfield said.
However, admittance does not come cheap. It costs $125 for one person to enter, and there’s a $250 minimum fee for every party. No one is allowed in the room alone and no group is allowed without supervision.
As Orfield put it, the room is so quiet that it can actually be a little frightening for some people.
“It tends to scare people, because when you get in the chamber, everything gets tremendously quiet,” he said. “You feel like there’s pressure on your ears — but it’s actually pressure moving away from your ears.”
In fact, the quiet is so intense around you that you start hearing things inside you, like the sound of your bones rubbing together when you move and your heartbeat.
Yikes! This definitely puts a new spin on the classic phrase, “It’s quiet… too quiet.”
Inspiration for Quiet Places
If Orfield Laboratories is, in fact, too quiet for you (or too expensive), the good news is that there are many other options for you to retreat to when you need a bit of me-time.
Designated silent museums
Your comfy, cozy, reliable bed
Did we miss any? What’s your favorite quiet place?