Do Visually Impaired People Develop Superior Smell Ability?

Autoren:Majchrzak, Dorota; Eberhard, Julia; Kalaus, Barbara; Wagner, Karl-Heinz
Abstrakt:It is well known that visually impaired people perform better in orientation by sound than sighted individuals, but it is not clear whether this enhanced awareness also extends to other senses. Therefore, the aim of this study was to observe whether visually impaired subjects develop superior abilities in olfactory perception to compensate for their lack of vision. We investigated the odor perception of visually impaired individuals aged 7 to 89 (n=99; 52 women, 47 men) and compared them with subjects of a control group aged 8 to 82 years (n=100; 45 women, 55 men) without any visual impairment. The participants were evaluated by Sniffin’ Sticks odor identification and discrimination test. Identification ability was assessed for 16 common odors presented in felt-tip pens. In the odor discrimination task, subjects had to determine which of three pens in 16 triplets had a different odor. The median number of correctly identified odorant pens in both groups was the same, 13 of the offered 16. In the discrimination test, there was also no significant difference observed. Gender did not influence results. Age-related changes were observed in both groups with olfactory perception decreasing after the age of 51. We could not confirm that visually impaired people were better in smell identification and discrimination ability than sighted individuals.
Anzahl der Seiten:12
Peer reviewed:true
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