Humans Can Learn Echolocation in 10 Weeks, New Study Shows

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New research has found that it is possible for people to learn click-based echolocation in just 10 weeks. It worked for people of very different ages, and it showed to be a skill that anyone can learn, not just the visually impaired. For the longest time, bats and dolphins were two commonly cited examples by humans to explain echolocation—the process where an animal releases a sound that, in turn, bounces off objects in the environment and surrounding space. Provides information about. The animal uses this information to locate and identify objects around it.

Studies in the past have shown that the same practice may also provide a solution for visually impaired people to navigate objects in their surroundings. Researchers at Durham University conducted a study to find out whether blindness or age affected the ability to learn this auditory skill called click-based echolocation. The study has been published in the journal Human Click-Based Echolocation: Effects of Blindness and Age and Real Life Implications in a 10 Week Training Programme. one more.

The research involved participants - both with and without vision - belonging to several age groups ranging from 21 to 79 years old. They were trained in 20 sessions over 10 weeks in various practical and virtual navigation tasks. The researchers said at the start of the paper that neither age nor blindness was a limiting factor in the participants' learning rate or ability to apply their echolocation skills to novel, untrained tasks.

The scientists noted that participants with vision loss said their mobility had improved, while 83 percent reported improved independence and well-being. The study concluded that the ability to learn click-based echolocation was not limited by age or level of vision. The researchers said this is a positive step towards rehabilitating people with vision loss or in the early stages of progressive vision loss.

Dr Lore Thaler of Durham University's Department of Psychology, who led the research, said he can't think of any other work with people with vision loss that has had such an enthusiastic response.

"Participants in our study reported that training in click-based echolocation had a positive effect on their mobility, independence and well-being, proofing that the improvements we observed in the laboratory transferred into positive life benefits outside the laboratory. Done," a statement in EurekAlert, an online science news service quoted Thaler as saying.

He said the team was very excited about this and felt it made sense to provide information and training in click-based echolocation even to people with good functional vision, but losing vision later in life due to progressive degenerative eye conditions. are supposed to. .

Even though click-based echolocation is nowhere taught as part of mobility training and rehabilitation for blind people, the study results were encouraging and may help break the stigma associated with the exercise. Some people are still reluctant to use click-based echolocation because of a perceived stigma for clicking essential in social environments.


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