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Touring The Room Where Sound Goes To Die

Central Washington University recently installed an anechoic chamber in its new science building. These chambers are used to study sound without any outside noise or distractions. The chamber itself is filled with 596 foam wedges that essentially trap the sound. 

Normally when we hear a sound, we're also hearing the sound waves bounce off of the surfaces in the room, interfering with each other in complex ways. That's how our brains are used to listening.

But in the chamber, sound bounces off the foam while sinking deeper into the wedges. So instead of bouncing back to our ears, it just sort of ... stops. 

88.5's Ariel Van Cleave discovered, there's just something that sounds very wrong when you listen inside a room where sound dies.

Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX.