Sound carries rich information about the environment through which it’s traveled. And while many sighted people never take the time to notice this, using sound to build a mental picture of the surrounding world is something many blind people do constantly, either by studying how sounds produced by others change (passive echolocation) or by using their own sounds to pinpoint what’s around them (active echolocation).
In the latest It’s Okay to Be Smart video, you have a chance to learn some of the basics of active echolocation and how you can train your brain to recognize and process this extra environmental information.
Personally, I am not very good at this. I can hear edges but it turns out I’m very bad at figuring out where they are. That said, having spent time recently in a few anechoic chambers – where sound reflection is almost completely damped out – I’ve come to realize that even as a sighted person, I rely on sound a lot more than I think I do! (Video and image credit: It’s Okay to Be Smart)