People can learn echolocation in just 10 weeks

Photo credit: Michael Pennay licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

This fascinating report in Smithsonian Magazine reports on a study showing that people can learn to echolocate just like bats do. Of course, people can’t do it as well as bats, but whether we can see or not, we can learn this skill to help us navigate our environment.

The researchers speculate that this skill might be useful for those with degenerative visual conditions, who might be able to learn to echolocate while they still have vision.

Not commented on in the research report or the Smithsonian article is one of the requirements for echolocation, by both bats and humans: ambient noise levels have to be low enough to hear the echoes.

Probably best not to try this out in New York City.

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