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Anosmia Essay

1622 words - 6 pages


Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you did not have one of your five senses? At some point in our lives we have all seen a blind or deaf person but how often do we wonder what it would be like if we were in their shoes? Many people take their senses for granted, not giving much thought to the fact that something as simple as bumping your head the wrong way or getting a cold could take away your sense of smell forever. Anosmia is the total loss of the sense of smell and affects approximately two million Americans (Wuensch, 2001). Of all the five senses, smell seems to be the least appreciated due to our society's beliefs that sight and hearing are more important for survival (Gillyatt, 1997). For most people, once they start to notice a decrease in their hearing or sight they go to the doctor almost immediately to fix the problem. However, because the sense of taste and smell are so closely related, many people attribute the problem to a lack of taste and do not see their doctor until the damage is irreversible (Thomson, 2001). Anosmia is a condition in which although there are mild cases, more serious cases do exist which may jeopardize the victim's life. This disorder not only affects the person's life and safety, but also has psychological effects as well . In any case, anosmia should not only be taken seriously, but research should be continued in the hopes of finding better treatments.

Lacking a sense of smell has similar psychological effects as those related to losing one's sight or hearing. For example, many blind people feel cut off from the world and isolated. This case is also seen in many people with anosmia. Some people with anosmia feel physically and socially vulnerable as well as victimized (Toller, 1999). Others feel unhappy with the inability to detect pleasurable food smells, and as a result many anosmics develop eating problems and even lose interest in eating (Toller, 1999). On the other hand, some people will constantly eat trying to satisfy their need for taste and put on an excess of unhealthy weight. Another issue to consider when discussing anosmia is safety. Probably one of the most important safety aspects of all people is the ability to smell fire. Anosmics may be in greater danger with these situations. They should be encouraged to check the batteries in their smoke detectors often, and consider having their natural gas checked by a professional monthly, since people with anosmia would not be able to detect the smell of a gas leak (Gillyatt, 1997). When using cleaning products and paint supplies, they should be reminded to keep the room adequately ventilated to prevent becoming woozy or nauseated, which could lead to another dangerous situation. Some other less serious aspects to take into consideration are their daily routines, such as personal hygiene or preventing food from spoiling (Thomson, 2001). One way to prevent food poisoning is to write the dates on leftover food or to...

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