The five senses #PetPeeveStories

There are five senses – sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Not everyone though may have all these senses intact either because of an underlying medical condition or selective loss of faculties.

For example, newborns are unable to see the human face well. At birth the normal term infant has a vision of 20/200 to 20/400. That’s why the best distance for gazing into your bundle of joy is around 8-12 inches away. Because they are nearsighted, anything further than that is a blur.

Unless you’re a newborn or literally blind, please use your eyes to look for things and not your mouth.

I’m sure you’re familiar with this conversation:

Boy: Mom where is my pen? (Talking while he’s busy on the iPad)

Mom: On your table

Boy: Which table mom? (Still busy on the iPad)

Mom: If your pen can walk to you, it would. Use your eyes and not your mouth. You’ll never find it using your mouth!

The sense of smell is the most sensitive. Anosmia is the loss (total or partial) of the sense of smell. It can be temporary or permanent. The most common cause is nasal congestion from allergies, a cold or infection. But nasal polyps, cancerous growths, head injuries or neurological problems are diseases that can cause anosmia.

You notice how people have bad hygiene and they still can’t tell they smell awful? Unless you’re into pungent odour or have anosmia, be mindful that the greater majority have a healthy sense of smell.

Those who get off with stinky smell (and I mean literally in an erotic way) should know that it is a manifestation of benign masochism.

Halitosis (bad breath) is my ultimate pet peeve. I cannot, for the very heart of me, stand having to breath or eat at the same time talk to someone who’s breath smells bad. Really bad.

How do you tell someone that he/she has body odour or bad breath without necessarily offending him/her?

Tough question? These tips may help:

1. Drop some hints (I think my breath smells terrible. I’ll have some water. Or offer some breath aids – here have a gum. If he turns it down, say, I insist!)

2. Be direct (Filipinos aren’t good at this. We’re usually onion skinned and think it will offend people.). In general, the closer you are to the person, the more direct you should be. Don’t broadcast it all over the dining table. You can whisper it to him/her or discuss the issue in private. Even people with odorous problems have feelings.

3. Say it anonymously (like leaving a kind note or email or ask someone else to do it for you).

For the good of the environment, people with hygiene problems must be told they have. After all, we’re breathing the same air and are entitled to a “healthy” environment as well.

When you’re hard of hearing it can only mean that you’re probably deaf (partially or totally) or just don’t want to listen. Big difference there. Appreciating sounds is appreciating life.

When the sense of sound is obstructed at an early age (say the child had meningitis at birth which affected the sense of hearing because of complications), their neurodevelopmental milestones particularly adaptive and language skills are the most impaired. Then there is, of course, having renal diseases. Toxins that damage the kidneys affect blood vessels and the inner ear. That is why people who have chronic renal problems have audiologic problems as well. The elderly is another group who are hard of hearing.

Aging and loss of hearing is a phenomenon called presbycusis (or age-related hearing loss).

Hearing disorders are not uncommon. Rustling leaves are heard at 20 db. Bird calls and library whispers are at 40 db. Normal speech is 60 db. A lawn mower sound is around 90 db. A concert is about 120 db. Painful damage to the ear occurs at 140 db. As a general rule, sounds above 85 db are harmful. Imagine someone with a headset and those of us in a crowded noisy train can hear your music. You must be deaf!

And those people who pretend to not hear?

I don’t even understand why there are people who have a headset at work. No offense meant here but you don’t stick two plugs into your ear and say “excuse me” and point to the earplugs when someone at work calls your attention or asks you a question.

Tactile sensations are due to the nerve supplies in our body. Somatosensory senses are scattered all over the body on our skin. With this intact, we can feel cold, heat, pain and pressure.

The pathways for processing touch are separate. Because of this, the physical sensation of pain can be separated from its emotional impact. And the pleasurable aspect of touch can be removed from the actual sensation. Losing the sense of touch is called anaphia. In daily parlance, we call it numbness.

Figuratively (or even literally) there are those who are thick skinned. They are numbed and callous to other people’s feelings. To say they have no feelings is an insult to someone who suffers from anaphia because of a true medical condition. But they exist. And the sense of touch (physically and emotionally) is sorely lacking because of apathy and personal issues.

Gustatory sense is the most delicious sense in our body. It makes us appreciate the wonders of cooking and the different foods of the world. Without the sense of taste, there will be no school for Culinary Arts, no job for chefs and bakers, no work for waiters, no business for restaurants. There are five senses to taste: salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami. Dysgeusia is a condition where a foul, rancid, salty or metallic taste persists in the mouth. Ageusia is the inability to detect any tastes at all.

The sense of taste can be affected by factors such as age, disease, or medications you’re taking.

When people say that what you do is immoral or wrong and “leaves a bad taste in the mouth”, they’re literally and figuratively an idiom that refers to an act or deed that leaves an unpleasant memory.

Someone who lies through and through about something he professes to do but does not practice what he preaches will always “leave a bad taste in the mouth”.

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