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Ivan Nel

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Why is absolute silence so terrifying ?

They say silence is golden – but there’s a room in the U.S that’s so quiet it becomes unbearable after a short time.

The longest that anyone has survived in the ‘anechoic chamber’ at Orfield Laboratories in South Minneapolis is just 45 minutes.

It’s 99.99 per cent sound absorbent and holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s quietest place, but stay there too long and you may start hallucinating.

What is it that causes our brains, to need sound to maintain sanity ?

Why is silence so terrifying ?


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  • Sep 28 2012: Behaviorally, we spend our lives performing in veritably countless stimulus/response cycles - at work, in family, and in the community. If a person experiences difficulty in bearing absolute silence, perhaps that difficulty may arise out of the unfamiliarity of the experience of existing in a space completely devoid of external stimulus.

    I would like to imagine, then - so to speak - that in a long absence of external stimulus, hallucinations occurring in that time perhaps may result from the brain's desire to stimulate itself, lacking other stimuli? Granted, I've not researched that - my statements, as such, may simply be a matter of casual interpolation.

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