I am interested in adding a race that relies on echolocation to sense the world around them in my scfi/fantasy setting. What I'm wondering is, how can a race protect against highly advanced sonic weaponry that is designed to target their hearing?

I would like to know if there is a way for them fight on even if such weapons are deployed.

Assume human level intelligence and are technologically advanced in sonic technology.

  • $\begingroup$ You didn't even try Googling keywords from your own question b4 asking did you? protection against sonic, "active ear protectors" will get you better hits, but still.. no research at all b4 asking [-] $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Oct 27, 2019 at 9:16
  • $\begingroup$ Presumably they'd be fighting their own kind, and given the way sound propagates, would mean a lot of friendly fire if deployed at all. $\endgroup$
    – Stephan
    Oct 27, 2019 at 18:39

3 Answers 3


Military grade active noise cancelling headphones.

Even if it only reduces sound to a tolerable level, that's less incapacitated soldiers. Furthermore, if they can update software to ignore the weapon frequencies, then the weapons could become ineffective.

If their tech is advanced enough, it can be tweaked to allow for their own sonar pulses, and even other sounds, but only those below a certain volume threshold and within a good range of frequencies.

  • $\begingroup$ How? can you send some sources to me? $\endgroup$
    – Seraphim
    Oct 27, 2019 at 5:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Seraphim : Just Google "active ear protectors" & you'll get a bunch of hits, they're commercially available, I've had a pair of ear plugs that do it I bought over 20 years ago, the newer full headphone ones available now should do a much better job, it's old & widely known to exist (to anyone who's ever done any firearms training or sports shooting) common & easy to find equipment. $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Oct 27, 2019 at 8:58
  • $\begingroup$ Won't that also blind them if they need echolocation to see? $\endgroup$
    – Halfthawed
    Oct 27, 2019 at 13:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Halfthawed: Not necessarily. You could have them designed to generate a 180 degree phase inverted signal to the incoming noise, to neutralise it, then transmit that signal at a fixed amplitude to the receiver's ear. On the negative side all noises will be equally loud, so you miss out on distances and gradients. $\endgroup$
    – nzaman
    Oct 27, 2019 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ @nzaman : "On the negative side all noises will be equally loud, so you miss out on distances and gradients" eh!? echolocation remember, it doesn't work on volume. $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Oct 27, 2019 at 14:05

This is more or less the same problem encountered by radar and jammers.

By jamming the jammer reveals a bearing to their location. If you can hear the jammer from a few different locations you can triangulate their position, then you call in the an air/artillery strike...


keep your echolocation quiet (quite useful anyway in a war situation) and wear noise canceling headphones. In said headgear include stereoscopic vision cameras and something that can translate vision to echolocation-returns. This should also include some processing to remove glare so this whole setup will protect against both noise and light.

If you want to keep it lower-tech you could work with a Kinect style active system that projects infrared dots to build 3d surroundings.


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