Friday, August 5, 2011

Learning Echolocation - A Moment of Clarity!

In my daily echolocation training, I routinely close my eyes while walking down the hallway in my office building.  It helps when it is very quiet and there aren't any other people walking around (for many reasons..).  Generally I just allow my ears to open up and notice the differences in the sounds depending on where I am in the hallway, what type of pants I'm wearing (I find that my pant legs brushing against each other actually act as a pretty good beacon sound), which shoes I'm wearing, weather I'm walking on a carpeted or non-carpeted area, etc.

After becoming aware of these subtleties, you can start to realize where the walls are by the sounds reflecting from them.  It's not too hard to be able to stay aligned in the middle of the hallway using this basic echolocation method.

Today I had a bit different experience.  In my building, there are several bends in the hallway which are generally more difficult to detect.  A right angle turn is easy, because you will suddenly notice a "hollow-ness" off to one side and you will know that the hallway opens up to that side.  However my hallway has several 45 degree bends which are much more difficult and I generally am too confused by the signal change to know exactly when the turn is coming.  Today as I approached one of these 45 degree hallway bends I kept an open awareness to all of the signals coming in, but tried not to think about it too much. When I did this and approached the bend, I felt a complete shift in my subconscious understanding of where I was.  It was as if the whole environment shifted around me.  I actually felt the walls and I felt the opening ahead of me simply change position.  My body understood the change and almost automatically course corrected.

I think something I've been struggling with is over analyzing the actual science of what's happening and not just being aware of the big picture.  Today I learned that it's easy to over analyze and start thinking about all the actual sounds instead of just feeling your surroundings.  Try not worrying about the details so much and just "relax into it".

I'm certain that confidence played a role in being able to ignore some of the details and relax, so it's still important to simply close your eyes and walk around even if you have no sense of echolocation and have no idea what you're listening for.  This will help build the confidence and comfort level of walking with your eyes closed and eventually lead to the ability to relax.

Good Luck!  Let me know what you find!

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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