We use our 5 senses every day without thinking about them – but how sharp are they? I have some tests to share with you from Men’s Health magazine. See how you stack up in each of these areas.
- Starting with your hearing. Hand over the TV remote control to your wife, or a friend. Then sit down and start watching a dialogue heavy TV show like Law & Order or Lost. Start with the volume at the level you prefer – but ask your wife to progressively lower it, a few clicks at a time at random points during the program. If you can follow the story line, your ears are in the clear. That’s according to the president of the American Academy of Audiology. If you have to ask your couch-mate ‘what’d he just say?’, your hearing needs help.
- To test your eyes: Walk into your bedroom and position yourself 10 feet away from your alarm clock. Stare at the L.E.D. display for a few seconds with one eye closed – first your left, then your right. Assuming that your clock’s display isn’t oversized, your vision is fine if you can see the numbers clearly. But if the numbers are blurry, there’s a problem. That comes from a professor of ophthalmology at Harvard medical school.
- To test your sense of touch: Shut your eyes. Now have someone lightly brush 3 objects with different textures or temperatures across the back of your hand. They can be anything from sandpaper to an ice cube. If you successfully name each object, go ahead and see what it feels like to pat yourself on the back. If you can’t tell the difference between textures or temperatures on you hand, you need to see your primary care physician.
- For taste: Close your eyes and open your mouth. Now have someone you trust place items that are sweet, salty, sour and bitter on your tongue. Not all at once, of course. So things like sugar, salt, lemon juice, and coffee. Try to correctly I.D. each one. That test comes from neurobiologist Dr. Alan Hirsch from the Smell and Taste Treatment Foundation in Chicago. Assuming you’re not a smoker, don’t have dry mouth, or take a medicine that affects taste – you shouldn’t have a problem. If you can’t detect a difference in those tastes, take the test for your sense of smell and make sure your nose isn’t the problem. 90% of taste is determined by smell.
- So here’s how to test your sniffer: Close your eyes and have someone waft three mystery items with distinct scents under your nose – for example: blue cheese, dryer sheets, bleach, orange slices, or peanut butter. Your schnoz is in good shape if you can identify all of them. If you can’t, and you don’t have a sinus condition, start by seeing your primary care physician. But beyond that, you probably need to see a specialist.
If you have trouble with any of your 5 senses, sight, hearing, taste, touch, or smell you might need to see a specialist.
- Hearing: See an audiologist: www.audiology.org or an otolaryngologist: www.entnet.org
- Sight: See an ophthalmologist: www.aao.org
- Touch: You may need a neurologist: http://www.aan.com/public/find.cfm
- Smell: You need an otolaryngologist: www.entnet.org
- Taste: since smell and taste are intertwined, see
the specialists for smell.