Ben Underwood lost his sight to retinal cancer at the age of three. He passed away at 16, five years ago, but his story lives on. Today he is known as the only person on earth who could see – not with his eyes – but with his ears.
Ben taught himself how to see with sound. He made a sharp clicking sound with his tongue that bounced off objects around him. He then trained himself to understand exactly where objects were and what they were. This technique is called “echo-location” and is very similar to how a bat or dolphin uses sound to see.
Ben’s ability was astonishing. He was able to play basketball with ease, ride his bike, and get around his neighborhood alone. His little brother didn’t even know he was blind growing up. In fact, most people who met Ben for the first time, didn’t know.
Tragically, the cancer that took away his eyes, returned to take his life at the young age of 16. His legend lives on to astound and inspire millions even today.