To experience a condition where one is senseless can be one of the most difficult disorders to cope with. Indeed, while most of us take for granted out five senses, to be deprived of any one of these would cause a profound life change. Let us examine these various “senseless” conditions in some detail.
The Inability to Taste
Also known as Ageusia, in this condition one is left senseless in regards to forms of taste. This is defined as the inability to detect sources of bitterness, saltiness, sweetness or sourness. This condition can be caused by neurological damage, certain endocrine system problems, a deficiency of vitamin B12 or local damage to the tongue itself.
Anosmia is the inability to smell. This senseless condition of the olfactory system can also lessen the taste of food, can affect memories associated with certain smells and leave the individual open to the harmful effects of poisonous or dangerous gases due to a lack of detection. This condition can be caused by a localised infection, by congenital (inherited) factors, by damage to the part of the brain that is used to interpret smells and by both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Deafness is defined as the inability to hear sounds or speech even while in the presence of an amplification device. In a total senseless condition, no sounds will be heard whatsoever. A number of factors can be attributed to this auditory condition including age, damage due to excessive levels of noise (progressing from tinnitus to permanent hearing loss), acute trauma to the inner ear as well as a host of infections. While the effect of some infections and trauma may be mitigated, in the case of tinnitus or neurological damage, the prognosis for recovery tends to be poor.
Total blindness is the inability to detect and incoming light and is known as NLP (no light perception). This condition can obviously have grave consequences on the quality of life on the sufferer. Blindness can be brought on by a number of variables; some physical and others genetic. Physical causes can include but are not limited to eye injuries, a burning of the retina or a detached optical nerve from localised trauma. Degenerative diseases such as cataracts of age-related glaucoma also represent a high number of cases for this visually senseless condition. Finally, certain genetic factors such as albinism are highly correlated with blindness.
Loss of Tactile Sensation
This final somatosensory disorder is defined as the inability of the nerves on the skin to detect sensations such as heat, cold, pressure or acute trauma. There are generally levels of this senseless condition and it can be potentially dangerous due to the body not utilising its normal reactive mechanisms in the presence of a dangerous condition. It may be caused by severe trauma to the skin such as chemical or thermal burns as well as nerve damage stemming from paralysis.
Adapting to these conditions can present a challenging task although many individuals are able to cope with the proper training and time.