Most people spend their lives continually immersed in sound.
Whether it’s the hum of a television or computer, the constant chirping of a cell phone, the dull roar of traffic or constant chatter, it’s rare to experience true, uninterrupted, absence of sound for a moment or two.
There are a handful of places on Earth that offer that rare kind of silence, either due to natural isolation or by design. Would you want to experience such lack of sound? Or do you prefer constant background noise often provided by everyday life? Many of the silent areas are somewhat off-the-beaten-path, but for those looking to experience absolute silence, here are some of the quietest places on Earth.
One Square Inch of Silence in Olympic National Park, Washington
Olympic National Park in Washington is home to what is thought to be the quietest natural setting in the United States; One Square Inch of Silence is an independent research project set in the park’s Hoh Rainforest. The project features a small patch of wilderness that’s far enough away from roads and air tourism that it undergoes substantial periods of natural quiet. Couple the natural quiet with the diverse landscapes and coniferous forest and it makes for an extremely peaceful and naturally beautiful setting.
Anechoic Chamber at Orfield Laboratories, Minnesota
While many of Earth’s quietest places are natural settings, some are man-made. In Minnesota, Orfield Laboratories developed a once-record-breaking anechoic chamber that is so quiet, background noise measures in at -9.4 decibels. The room is so silent, those who enter can often only hear their own bodily functions – heartbeats, stomach gurgling, etc. Most people who enter the chamber become disoriented after just a few minutes due to the complete lack of background sound.
Kelso Dunes, California
The Mojave Desert’s Kelso Dunes are an extremely isolated area in Southern California. Visitors don’t often experience much noise pollution from wildlife, planes or cars due to the area’s naturally warm or desolate environment. While you likely will not experience any disorientation, the Kelso Dunes are a great place to experience complete silence, perhaps only interrupted by the gentle blowing of the wind.
Underwater Caves, Yucatan
What better way to escape the noise pollution found on Earth than by traveling underneath the Earth? The thousands of underwater caves of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico are some of the most silent in the world, save for some water dripping and the sound of your own breathing. More specifically, the Tak Be Ha cenote (cave) in Tulum is the most silent. Not only is it devoid of sound, but visitors experience a great deal of visual darkness as well.
Negev Desert, Israel
In Israel, the Negev Desert is home to areas where the silence is so impactful, visitors can hear the natural ringing their ears created during intense silence. Similar to the above-listed Kelso Dunes in California, certain parts of the Negev Desert are mostly uninhabited by humans and wildlife. Visitors to this area must hike into the desert to experience this level of silent solitude.
Microsoft Chamber, Washington
Earlier this year, Microsoft developers in Redmond, Washington, created an anechoic chamber of their own that reduces sound so powerfully, background noise is measured in at -20.6 decibels. That’s more than a 10-decibel difference from the anechoic chamber in Minnesota! To put this into context, a human whisper is about 30 decibels and the limit of human hearing is about 0 decibels. It’s said that while in this room, ‘you’ are the sound, so much so that you can hear your joints grinding together as you move.
Hear the World Around You
Some may seek out these exotic locales to experience the awe-inspiring silence. But for many others, everyday hearing isn’t something to be taken for granted. If you or a family member have had issues with hearing loss, conditions like tinnitus or use hearing aids, the board-certified audiologists at Davis Family Hearing can help you experience the sounds of the world around you.
Contact our compassionate staff members at Davis Family Hearing online or by calling (352) 666-8910 to schedule an appointment today!