Ben Underwood is truly an inspiration. He taught himself to navigate through life using sonar, instead of traditional sight, similar to how a dolphin uses it to navigate through the open waters of the oceans. He lost his eyes to cancer when he was just 3 years old, and learned how to “see” by using clicks, mastering echolocation to such a precise extent that it was impossible to tell he did not have eyes. He didn’t let the loss of what we traditionally think of as sight stop him, he used it to accomplish such feats as running, playing basketball, riding a bicycle, rollerblading, playing football, and skateboarding …more.
Ben used human echolocation which is the ability of humans to detect objects in their environment by sensing echoes from those objects. By actively creating sounds – for example, by tapping their canes, lightly stomping their foot, snapping their fingers, or making clicking noises with their mouths …more.
What is one of the most amazing things is Ben has no guide dog and never uses a white cane. He doesn’t even use his hands.He sees entirely with sound, he makes a sharp click, with his tongue, which bounces back off nearby objects. Amazingly, Ben’s ears pick up the echoes and he can precisely locate where things are. Ben is the only person in the world who sees using nothing but echolocation.
Ben’s echolocation is so good, that his mother, Aquanetta Gordon, and his brother make no allowance for his blindness at all. Aquanetta has refused to allow the loss of Ben’s eyes to overshadow their lives.
Ben is truly a unique individual who doesn’t let anything stop him from accomplishing his goals.