How do blind people see?

I would love to meet this amazing blind kid!

After losing his eyes to cancer, Ben Underwood learned to use echolocation to find his way in the dark.

What is echolocation?

Blind boy riding his bike down the sidewalkEcholocation means using sound to map out your surroundings.

Ben “sees” by making clicking sounds with his mouth. Those clicks bounce off the street, the walls, and the people nearby. The echoes from these clicks bounce back to Ben’s ear.

His brain interprets the sound waves, telling him how far away he is from the street, the wall, and the people.

How does that work?

Echoes, or sound waves, are a lot like light waves. Light bounces off objects and into our eyes. Sound bounces off objects and into our ears. Your brain decides how to interpret the data.

Can all blind people use echolocation?

Not all blind people see like this. But Ben’s not the only one who uses echolocation.

Dolphins use it to navigate the wide oceans. Bats use it to fly in the dead of night. Ben Underwood uses it to walk down the street, ride a bike, roller blade, and hold his own in a pillow fight.

Echolocation is also called biosonar. This is a great word.

Learn more about how animals use echolocation.

What can you see with your ears?

Categories: Amazing Kids, Beyond Survival | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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