“…Blind people are being taught a revolutionary technique that allows them to live independently.
On a blustery day in Glasgow, Alex Campbell and his wife Kerry are taking a walk through town.
Both are visually impaired and use white canes as they stride with confidence across roads, broken paving slabs and down flights of stairs.
But what makes this couple unusual is that every now and then they emit a short, sharp click with their tongue.
To an onlooker the click is barely noticeable. But for Kerry and Alex, the sound that travels out of their mouths, bounces off the objects around them and returns to their ears in a split-second helps them paint in their minds a portrait of the world around them.
The married couple are two of just a handful of people in Britain that have been taught to use echo-location which – as the name suggests – is the same sort of method bats and dolphins use to get around.
Visually impaired people often use sound to help them navigate. But what makes echo-location different is that those who have refined the art are able to pinpoint obstacles with remarkable detail.
“Over time and with practice you build up a whole library of sounds,” explains Alex, 47. “You start with simple objects like a wall, a ball or a table before moving on to a tree, a car or a distant building.”…”
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