The definition of echolocation is just as it sounds. Using your own voice to echo off objects around your environment. It is a method used by not only bats, but humans as well. Blind people use this method to navigate around their world. As we know, blind individuals cannot see. Or, if they can, it is slight. Without sight, one can imagine the challenges that emerge in one's life. The loss of sight allows other senses to come through and play as the "eyes" of the body. In this case, the use of auditory sense kicks in and enhances as a way for blind individuals to hear sight. This type of takeover is what we call cross-sensory perception. A way to better describe this is through the textbook See What I'm Saying: The Extraordinary Powers of Our Five Senses. In the book, the author states, with sensory loss, the visual brain responds to sound and touch. While the auditory brain can respond to touch and sight (Rosenblum 2010, pg. 297). In other words, if one is to lose their vision, they can use their hands to feel how things look and sound to determine location.
If there is one thing to know about echolocation, it is, you don't have to be blind to use it. Anyone can use echolocation. I'll prove it. Take a plate from your pantry, this won't take up any time at all. Pick the plate up and keep it at arm's length distance. Now, blow and move the plate closer. Notice as you approach your face, you can hear the force of air sound louder. Then, if you push it away from your face, the sound fades away and gets quieter. One last trick to do to really hear the difference is to blow and move the plate back and forth in a fast motion. Watch not to hit your face of course! You will notice again, when the plate is close to your face, the sound of air blowing out is louder. From the speed, it will sound like a small siren. The difference is noticeable. But, the fact is, you will notice as the sound got louder, you knew to stop and move the plate away. This auditory approach allows you to hear the future as well. Your brain knows the louder the sound, the closer the plate, time to stop. Although, your brain over-anticipates, giving yourself time to react and protect yourself. It allows your fight or flight to completely kick in (Rosenblum, 2010, pg. 54). Giving blind people enough time to react and move out of harm's way, as well as ensuring not to bump into things.