Saturday, April 17, 2010


Everyone considers blindness or serious loss of vision to be a disability. Most people, except for the culturally deaf, feel the same way about deafness and hearing loss. And the inability to feel pain, as caused by leprosy, leads to infections and other serious health problems.
But many people don't realize that loss of the ability to smell, while not life threatening, can seriously limit life activities. I understand that kind of sensory loss is rarely permanent, except when caused by certain medications. But people with severe allergies and other conditions often have limited sense of smell at least some of the time.
Although our sense of taste lets us recognize basic sweet, sour, and salty flavors, it's the sense of smell that enables us to enjoy all the other aspects of flavor, so many people who loose that ability find it difficult to eat. Everything tastes boring to them.
Our sense of smell can also warn us of danger, such as detecting the odor of smoke or escaping gas.
The inability to smell things isn't really a disability, but it can certainly make life difficult for the people who must live with it.

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