Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Echolocation vs. "Facial Hearing"

Head facial nerve superfical branchesImage via Wikipedia

Echolocation is a phenomenon that is perceived in different ways by different people. Some people refer to it as a pressure felt on their face. This is referred to as "facial hearing" and is actively used by many blind people. This is not a different phenomenon than echolocation, it is simply a different perception of it. All people experience the world differently and will describe their experiences in the way that best suits them. Technically, echolocation IS a pressure on the face; it's in the form of sound waves reflected back toward you.

It's my hypothesis that physical nerve receptors in the face are much less adept at distinguishing pressure than the cochlea in the ears since the ears are naturally a very precise and delicate instrument. It's debatable whether or not this "facial hearing" is the cognition and perception of actual nerves in the face from sound pressure, or if it is just a perception based on auditory input, but regardless, I would estimate that echolocation while in the mind set of focusing attention on the hearing would be more accurate than focusing attention on the facial nerves.

I have personally noticed more of the facial pressure when objects become closer to my face. Using echolocation and focusing on hearing, I can usually distinguish walls within 10 feet. But no facial pressure becomes obvious until about 2 feet. Once I come within 2 feet of something, it quickly becomes apparent that I should watch out.

I'm certainly still just a beginner so I will be conscious of both of these perceptions to see if one evolves more than the other, or whether they can be used for different things.

Free 10-Minute Audio Lesson: Learn the Echolocation Click

Learn echolocation clicks with a free audio lesson
Learning how to click is one of the first steps to becoming an effective echoloator. This lesson provides clicking samples of a variety of different clicks and descriptions of when they might be most useful. This lesson has been used by O&M instructors all over the world.

Despite popular belief, it's easy to make your clicking quite subtle or unnoticeable even in quiet settings. There are many different clicks for different situations. I explain all of these in great detail and give examples of where, why and when they can and should be used.

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