Thursday, May 24, 2012

Practice Echolocating in your Home - Is that Cheating?

A good thing about being in your own home when trying to learn echolocation is that you don't have to worry about annoying other people with a strange clicking sound and you can crash into things and no one will stare.  Lots of people ask, "Isn't it cheating if you already know your surroundings though?  If you're comfortable with the rooms and the obstacles in your house won't you just be navigating by memory?"


I say, no.  It's not cheating.  It's practicing.  It is a stepping stone on your way to bigger and better echolocation accomplishments.  To an extent, yes, you will be navigating somewhat by memory.  Having a general understanding of where things are and what to be cautious of in advance can detract from the sense of echolocation and the effectiveness of your training.

However, if you walk around your house echolocating and listening to echoes you don't generally listen for then you will be improving your skill.  You can actually use this to your advantage in some ways, because by knowing the shape of the room and location of the furniture, etc, you have a solid starting point.  You can say to yourself, "Okay.. this is what my kitchen sounds like when I click.  I know that it's about 10ft by 15ft and has a counter over... there.."  So there's a good solid starting point.  You can move around, knowing what is around you, but not quite knowing how those objects will register during echolocation.  As you move, picture the objects you know to be there, and then listen for how they sound. 

Careful though, if you simply walk around your house completely by memory, but making clicking noises, that still may not be effective learning.  It is critical that you exercise your ears and really focus on the sounds you hear and start getting more comfortable with the subtleties you'll notice at every doorway and every corner.

Take it to the next level

Once you get comfortable echolocating around your home, or you have become "calibrated" to your surroundings, have a family member or roommate change the location or orientation of some of the furniture.  This will help you avoid becoming complacent and will require that you are always alert and paying attention to the minute details of echolocation.

Another thing to try is opening a window or door and seeing how that effects your calibration.

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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