Month, day, Year
Five Senses Aging
“Aging is a process of one getting older…” (Medina 4). As one gets older changes will occur. “It might start with a line a cross the forehead that deepens in to a wrinkle or skin that suddenly appears dull looking” (Tomas E1). No mater what the situation aging has many different processes. This literary composition will show the different changes that the senses go through when aging takes place.
Seeing is one of the senses humans have. Although humans really see with their brains the eyes are the key tools that help the task of seeing. Unlike other parts of the body nearly every part of the visual system is affected by aging. It causes us to lose certain functions as we age like loss of color to how the way we see near and distant objects. “The cornea, that fluid-filled bad which guards the entrance to the eye, ages as we get older…by the time we get to the age of 60, the bag brings to flatten, which alters our visual field” (Medina 189). Perhaps the most interesting aspect of our vision system’s aging has to do with color perception. As we get older the lens not only thickens but also takes on a yellowish color. This reduces our ability to discriminate between colors.
Hearing is also one of our senses and as we get older the ability of hearing gets weak. Once we age the pinna, the outer ear, losses some flexibility. As a result it begins to droop, becomes longer and wider and more filled with hair. This does not greatly affect our hearing, however, some events that occur in the external part of the earwax, also known as cerumen, becomes drier and less easily to remove. Its build-up can really affect hearing in older people. Nearly one-third of hearing loss in older people occurs not because of some serious damage, but simply due to this build-up.
Changes also occur in the middle ear, the bridge between the outer and inner ears. The muscles that give it support also loses its flexibility and the result is that the drum is less easily vibrated by sound waves making tit hard to hear. Also the inner ear is affected with the passing of the years. “The nerves that sense the vibrations in the fluid, the spurious growth of nerve impinging bone tissue, and loss of blood flow all contribute to a phenomenon known as presbycusis” (Medina 195). There are several kinds, but they all point to a single deficit and that is loss of hearing but at a specific frequency. This hearing loss usually starts around age 30 and continues into the 80’s. Usually the higher tones are the first to go.
“We experience taste through a collection of cells connected to a nerve. This structure is called a taste bud” (Medina 201). Taste buds die and are rapidly replaced. We lose our sense of flavors only gradually with age and with equal reduction in all areas of the tongue. In adulthood, it will take more molecules of a certain substance on our tongue for us to recognize the flavors. As a result, we tend to enjoy food less as the years go by.
Our ability to taste many different foods is connected to our ability to smell. “…this smelling talent, called oflacition, is probably one of our least developed senses” (Medina 202). At the top part of our nose, just behind the area between our eyes, lies the organ that allows us to smell things. This is called olfacitory epithelium. This tissue is filled with cells that have hairs on them and ate plugged into nerves, just like taste buds. When the nerves get stimulated they send a signal to the brain and tell it that we have smell. Studies have shown that the sense of smell holds up pretty well in later adulthood. “When we reach the age of 65 there is a noticeable change. And even here the extent of the deterioration varies widely between experimental subjects” (Medina 203).
The fifth since is touch. We basically respond to three types of touch. the first one is pressure. When someone touches our skin, our brain is notified through a series of receptors. Their jobs are to alert the brains that prssure is being applied. As we age many of these receptors die off. As a result, the ability to feel pressure undergoes a decreasing sensitivity to touch. After the age of 50, our ability to feel vibrations in the lower part of our body diminishes slowly, leading us to the second respond, pain. “As we age, more painful experiences per unit time could potentially occur; joints wear out bones break, organs become less efficient, disease processes go unchecked (Medina 205). The third response in touch is thermal sensitivity. If pain responses are not well established, whether physical or mental, the situation is even worse regarding our ability to detect hot or cold. “There is evidence that …there are probably receptors for warmth and other receptors for cold” (Medina 206).
Our eyes don’t go blind, but gradually lose capabilities over the years. The same thing can be said for our hearing. Our sense of taste and smell don’t lose their abilities that fast like the vision and our hearing do, and even though it is hard to under stand the aging of tough we, the ones who still have these senses should appreciate the abilities that provide us. Who knows, with technology that we have these days doctors could probably perform miracles and maybe even give the gift of one of these senses to thoughts who were born with out one.
Knapp, Robert S. “A place for Elders and Those Who Care for Them ” Los Angeles Times 13 Aug. 2000: B19.
Medina, John J. The Clock of Ages New York: Cambridge UP, 1996.
Thomas, Barbara ” Do I Look Older ” Los Angeles Times 21 Jan 2000 : E1.