Our five senses help us to interact with the world. As we get older, they can naturally start to dull. However, certain bad habits may increase the risk of sensory damage. By breaking these habits and taking the right protective measures, you can keep your senses sharp long into old age. Here are the five senses and a few tips on how to look after each one.
Don’t want to go blind? Protecting your eyes in the sun and giving up smoking are two of the biggest things you can do. Both sun exposure and smoking are major causes of cataracts – an eye disease that can lead to blindness if not caught early.
Of course, having regular eye tests can help you spot such problems early before they get serious. Eye tests can also help diagnose more common conditions such as myopia (near-sightedness) and presbyopia (long-sightedness) – these tend to only cause mild visual deterioration and can easily be fixed with a pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses.
Loud noise exposure is one of the most common causes of premature hearing loss. This could be something as simple as regularly listening to music loudly or working in a noisy environment. To protect your ears against loud noise exposure, keep the volume at a sensible level or put in earplugs.
Many forms of hearing loss can be corrected using a hearing aid. You can learn more about styles of hearing aid online. First you will need to take a hearing test to determine your prescription and to ensure that there are no other health issues to blame such as impact earwax or infections.
Our sense of touch can commonly be reduced through injuries such as cuts or burns. These can cause long-lasting nerve damage. By taking precautions such as always wearing oven gloves when taking food out the oven, you can prevent such damage.
More serious issues may cause entire limbs or parts of the body to go numb. In these cases, it’s worth seeing a doctor to diagnose the problem. Some causes of hypoesthesia (loss of touch) can be prevented such as surfacing correctly when diving to avoid numbness caused by decompression sickness.
A big cause of loss of taste is smoking, which can kill off taste receptors and increase the risk of oral cancer. Poor dental hygiene may also lead to infections that affect our ability to taste. Quitting smoking and keeping up a good brushing regime may be able to help preserve your sense of taste.
Our sense of taste and smell are strongly linked and can be damaged by similar things. Smoking is again a big cause of loss of smell, while inhaling certain chemicals may also have an impact.Loss of smell is often a temporary symptom of colds and sinus infections. Treating the underlying condition can often restore one’s sense of smell – unless it is a severe sinus infection, there is unlikely to be permanent damage.