Echoidentification: Using reflected sound to identify objects and their characteristics
* Presenting author
People who are blind and visually impaired use a wide variety of sensory information to understand the world around them. Hearing is a particularly useful sense because of the range. Many persons who are blind or visually impaired use some form of echolocation to monitor the space around them. The sound of a cane tip reflected off a wall is a common way to keep a straight path without trailing. Orientation and Mobility Specialist teach clients to make a crisp clicking sound, and attend to the reflections of that sound. Students with varying levels of hearing have demonstrated the ability to discern a difference in sound to identify the presence of an object. Clients can be trained to go beyond just locating the objects reflecting sound. The relative size and distance to the object, its overall shape, as well as its hardness can be discerned. This process of identifying the properties of an object may be referred to as echoidentification. This skill is very useful in identifying where doorways are while walking along a city block. The leafiness of a bush sounds different than the wood of bench. A demonstration of echoidentification will be part of this presentation.