Our senses naturally become duller with age. While some of us notice this happening, many of us do not realise that our senses are not as sharp. Below are some tips on how to tell whether your senses have become dulled, and what to do to protect/restore your senses.
Almost everyone experiences some mild hearing loss as they get older. Hearing loss can make it difficult to follow conversations (particularly over the phone and in places with lots of background noise), as well as making us less perceptive to hazards.
Hearing loss is often gradual and so some people don’t notice at first. A few tell-tale signs that you are losing your hearing include having to constantly ask people to repeat things, not hearing the phone/doorbell or having to turn up the TV to a much higher volume than usual.
It’s worth seeing an audiologist and arranging a hearing test. This will determine the quality of your hearing and whether you need a hearing aid. There are different styles of hearing aid to choose from – an audiologist will be able to walk you through these.
Hearing loss is typically a natural part of aging, however you may experience more rapid and profound hearing loss if you spend a lot of time in noisy environments without using earplugs. It’s worth getting into a good habit of wearing ear protection when at music and sports venues, as well as making sure you wear ear protection in loud work environments like building sites.
Many people experience vision loss as they get older. Short-distance vision is most commonly affected, which can be corrected by buying some reading glasses.
Some people do not realise their vision is going at first, or are simply reluctant to accept it. If you find yourself holding books and phone screens further away from you so that you can read them clearly, or having to squint at items under lamps, it could be a sign that your vision is going.
It’s important to also consider your long-distance vision. On top of this, you need to be wary of black spots in your vision or odd streaking lights – these could be a sign of more serious vision problems like cataracts which may require a medical procedure to remove.
You may not be able to prevent loss of vision as you get older, however there are bad habits that you can quit to prevent conditions like cataracts. This includes stopping smoking and always wearing shades in the sun.
Your sense of touch can also be reduced as you get older. In fact, there are many conditions that can affect the nervous system that you should be wary of.
Unusual pain, tingling or numbness is something that you should see a doctor about. They may be able to diagnose the problem and recommend treatment.
Our sense of touch can sometimes be reduced through nerve damage, which can occur as a result of accidents. Picking up hot objects may create burns that kill off nerve endings – always wear gloves when handling hot objects like baking trays.
A lot of people also notice that their sense of smell and taste fades after time. Certain foods may not taste as exciting as they once did and you may have difficulty picking up certain smells.
There’s not much you can do to repair your sense of smell and taste once it starts to go. You may however be able to prevent further damage by giving up bad habits like smoking and heavy drinking.