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Ben Underwood

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Ben Underwood
Ben underwood Ben underwood
Born(1992-01-26)January 26, 1992
Sacramento, California, U.S.
January 19, 2009(2009-01-19) (aged 16)January 19, 2009(2009-01-19) (aged 16)
Cause of deathRetinal Cancer
🏳️ NationalityAmerican
🎓 Alma materSheldon High School, Sacramento
💼 Occupation
Human echolocation
👴 👵 Parent(s)
  • Aquanetta Gordon
🌐 Websitebenunderwood.com

Ben Underwood (January 26, 1992 - January 19, 2009) was a self taught human echolocator. He was able to detect the location of objects by making frequent clicking noises with his tongue. His story was first explained on CBS News by John Blackstone.[1] People Magazine catapulted Ben into stardom when they did a 5 page profile on him named "The Boy Who Sees With Sound." [2] Ben also gained instant popularity from videos of his echolocation abilities shared on YouTube millions of times. He was invited to share his talent on Oprah, [3] Ellen, and traveled to Europe and Japan where they filmed documentaries about him. [4]

Early Life[edit]

Diagnosed with retinoblastoma at the age of two, Ben Underwood had both of his eyes removed at the age of three.[5] By the age of 5 he was able to detect the location of objects by making frequent clicking noises with his tongue. As Ben was growing up he did almost everything that a normal person would do, he played video games, rode his bike, roller bladed, climbed trees, took karate classes, all without a cane. He perfected his ability to echolocate to where he could do almost anything his friends did.

Illness and Death[edit]

Ben's cancer returned when he was 15. After several chemo treatments that failed he decided to stop treatments and live out his last few days at home with his family in peace. He died just days before his 17th birthday. His funeral was attended by thousands of people who's lives were touched by Ben's amazing tenacity and hope. His good friend Stevie Wonder sang his famous "Happy Birthday" song to Ben at his funeral.[6]

After Ben's Death[edit]

Ben's story continues to spread all over the world. His story has been included in text books that are used in schools in the US, Australia, Europe, and other countries. His mom, Aquanetta Gordon wrote a book about Ben's life titled: Echoes of an Angel. His videos are still going viral on Youtube and Facebook, with most posts getting millions of views each time they are shared.

See also[edit]

  • Human echolocation
  • Acoustic location
  • Retinoblastoma
  • Daredevil

References[edit]

  1. ""How A Blind Teen 'Sees' With Sound"". CBS NEWS. July 19, 2006.
  2. "The Boy Who Sees with Sound". People Magazine. July 14, 2006.
  3. "The Boy Who Could See Without Eyes". OPRAH.COM.
  4. "Is Sonar Boy For Real?". Slate. December 1, 2006.
  5. "Humans with Amazing Senses". ABC News.
  6. "A Life Celebrated". Elk Grove Citizen.


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