General Question

Aethelwine's avatar

Which of the five senses would be the hardest for you to overcome if you lost it.

Asked by Aethelwine (41362points) January 6th, 2009 from iPhone

Many people deal with the loss of a sense, but for those of us that are fortunate to have all five, which sense would be the hardest for you to lose?

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33 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Sight, of course. It’s how I get the most information about the world. Sound is next. Then touch, smell and taste.

adri027's avatar

The ability to see.

basp's avatar

Interesting question.
Since I am slowly losing my sight, I find I rely on my other senses more. A greater fear for me would be the loss of more than one sense.

Mtl_zack's avatar

Losing taste would be horrific. Imagine a world where you can’t enjoy your favorite foods. Horrible, isn’t it?

SuperMouse's avatar

Touch. The sensation of feeling.

dlm812's avatar

This is a very tough question to answer… I would have to say sound though. I believe that I could live the rest of my life without my sight because I would remember things the way they are in my memory. I have already (slightly) experienced the loss of touch, as I cannot feel anything with my right pinky finger due to an accident with a filet knife… it’s not so bad, just a sort of creepy feeling. As for smell and taste, those would both royally suck, but could also make some things easier in life (never smelling a revolting, make-you-want-to-puke fart again! or being able to eat healthy foods that don’t currently taste good to me!) So, definitely sound. I rely a great deal on my hearing for riding and life in general.

jca's avatar

i think that one that would have the most impact for me would be sight. i could not drive any more, i would not be inspired to go on too many vacations since i couldn’t see anything, i could not do my job too well (if at all), i would have to learn a new way of reading, i would have to learn how to walk with a dog and/or cane, many aspects of my life would be adversely affected. i think it would be very weird not to be able to hear, but i think i could adjust more easily than to loss of sight. it would not be too much fun to lose taste, but i think i could deal with it.

cdwccrn's avatar

@basp: I’m sorry to hear about your eyes. I hope the process is VERY slow.

cdwccrn's avatar

I have lost quite a bit of smell. I can’t smell a rose. On the other hand, I can’t smell most dirty britches, either.
Would hate to lose sight. With that goes a fair amount of independence.

GAMBIT's avatar

Hearing. My life revolves around music.

klaas4's avatar

Hearing here as well.

loser's avatar

Hearing! Must have music!

dynamicduo's avatar

Well considering that losing smell means losing most of taste, it wouldn’t be that one.

I would have to go with sight, simply due to the independence and knowledge issues. Plus I can still enjoy music somewhat via drumming in Rock Band!

LKidKyle1985's avatar

I would say touch, it would be really difficult to coordinate anything I do without it. Not to mention you would feel very lonely since you could never feel someone elses touch or anything.

AllyMay's avatar

I would say sense of smell – I would love to loose my hearing, then I’d have a valid reason to ignore when I’m focused on something. But with out my Smeller I would never be able to tell when dinners done/burning – or just smell random things, Im a bigger smeller. LOL

asmonet's avatar

Well, I’ve been totally blind before when I was fourteen. It wasn’t that difficult for me, now, I know some people can’t fathom anyone being okay with suddenly being blind but I handle trauma and stress very, very well. I didn’t even stress when I had a cocked gun jabbed up at my eye.

I left the doctor with two eye patches making pirate jokes to try and cheer up my sobbing mother. It was odd, I mean, I went blind in less than eight hours. So, this question is right up my alley. :)

Now, I think it would be the loss of hearing. I couldn’t live in a world where I couldn’t hear music, or crickets and bullfrogs in the summer, birds in the morning, waterfalls, heartbeats, crunchy leaves in the fall or wind rustling through trees. I can imagine the sights that belong to them, it’s much harder for me to imagine the sounds to an image fully.

I’d just kill myself.

dalepetrie's avatar

Sound would be the hardest for me. Each would have challenges. Sight would require a change in what I do for a living, how I get around, and it would certainly make my life less enjoyable not being able to see just things like TV, or enjoy an art museum. Touch, I’d be very worried about damaging myself in some way and not feeling it…this would be more worrisome I think for a child who hadn’t learned to avoid touching the hot burner or what not, but it could present special challenges as they relate to injuries. Smell enhances enjoyment of food and such, and can alert me to problems (like fires) I suppose, so I probably wouldn’t miss it all that much unless I happened to be alone in the house, the fire alarm was malfunctioning and something caught on fire. Taste, I love food, but really my biggest problem is I need to lose weight, and I would almost think losing my sense of taste would open me up to being able to eat the right things in the right amounts…if there was one sense I’d give up voluntarily, it would be taste.

But sound/hearing…man I just love music too much. I have thousands of CDs…hearing music is incredibly important to me…and when I’m not listening to music, I’m usually listening to news radio in my car. I couldn’t survive without music and remain sane. I’d probably be able to drive still and keep my current job, but man, I’d have a hard time with that one.

Aethelwine's avatar

Asking this question, I had trouble myself coming up with an answer. I thought touch would be very difficult, to not feel a hug from my children would kill me. After reading your answers and how beautifully asmonet described the loss of hearing, I would have to agree with this one. To not hear my children laugh would kill me.

Nimis's avatar

It was going to be a toss up between sight and hearing.
But now that I think of it, I can’t even begin to fathom
what the loss of feeling would entirely encompass.

Would it just be the loss of touch on the surface of our skin?
Or would it be the loss of all feeling in our entire bodies?
I really don’t think I could cope with the latter.

It’s so minute, yet entirely pervasive of our everyday existence.
So much so, that I have a hard time fully wrapping my mind around the idea of it.

Not just hugs from loved ones, but the twisting of muscle under skin,
the thudding of your heartbeat, your lips softly pressing together.

The loss of any other sense would be harrowing.
But I think this one might actually drive me mad.

I’d probably end up cutting off a limb, while cackling madly
That’s not my arm! That’s not my arm!

basp's avatar

I also thought that the loss of taste would assist me with weight loss but, a while back I lost my sense of taste due to medication I was taking and I ended up eating a lot more cause I never felt satisfied. It was the strangest thing to eat and not taste very disturbing for me at the time.

Blondesjon's avatar

There are horrific consequences associated with the loss of any sense but I believe I would no longer wish to exist if I lost my sense of HUMOR!!!

dalepetrie's avatar

@basp, never would have expected that, wow!

augustlan's avatar

Sight. I love the printed word so much, and the beauty of the world brings me to tears sometimes. Touch would run a close second (and might just drive me insane, as Nimis said). Hearing? Too much sound overwhelms me anyway.

tallin32's avatar

Hmmm… I’d have to say it’d be a toss-up between hearing, touch and taste. Logic goes something like this: sight’s already completely gone, so there’s nowhere to go there. Asmonet’s description of what would be missing if my hearing were to go is far superior to what this computer programmer is capable of coming up with, so I’ll let that stand on its own. Taste and/or smell—the loss would be extremely incidious, even encompassing such things as not easily knowing when food has spoiled. I must confess to a certain amount of sadness for those of you that think that, without sight, one cannot be independent though.

augustlan's avatar

@tallin32 I don’t think I couldn’t be independent without sight. As much as I would miss it, I’m sure I could get along without it. I just think the loss of sight would make me sadder than say, the loss of hearing. My ex-husband, a musician, would feel exactly the opposite of me. Not being able to hear beautiful music would be tragic for him.

Strauss's avatar

I am a musician, and my first impulse was to say hearing. I have already experienced some minor hearing loss, as a result of loud amplifiers in my youth I think I would be able to overcome that, and still be able to play music. I once knew a deaf girl who could “feel” the music through all the vibrations of a skating rink, so I would hope to be able to develop that kind of “other hearing”.

I think if I lost the sense of touch, I would really be lost. All my keyboarding (musical as well as computer) is done mostly by touch. To never again feel the touch of a loved one, or to know when a beloved pet is leaning against me, or the hug of a child…these things would be truly missed.

fathippo's avatar

if i lost sound i would loose music how i have it now, which would be awful, because you know i cant really describe it right or without going on for 10 years sounding strange, but it is the most amazing thing…
maybe for playing the ‘other hearing’ that Yetanotheruser was talking about, you would be able to develop, but for listening i cant imagine how it would be so entrancing without actual sound
also, if i lost sight and touch, drawing would be really hard, and i love doing that, especially sight would be important…
and yeah, piano playing and guitar might be difficult without feeling

Strauss's avatar

@fathippo , I think that the “other hearing” we are talking about is something we experience now; we feel the vibrations as we hear them, but the “actual hearing” dominates to the extent that we don’t realize we’re also feeling the sounds. One of the qualities of a good musical instrument (traditional non-electronic) is the resonance it provides to enhance the tones. With better instruments, these resonances can often be felt by the performer.

fathippo's avatar

@Yetanotheruser yeah, one thing i noticed after i read your thing is that playing the piano you can feel quite a lot especially with the lower notes, and i’m sure that there’s a lot i don’t notice that the tones give off because of focusing on hearing it…
I still imagine it must be really hard to learn though to play just through this though, and i think i’d miss how beautiful it sounds and feels because of the sound, but then again maybe people still get that from just ‘feeling’ it (?)
(On the subject there was this film last night about this dj who went deaf, he learnt to do it all again through vibrations, not necessarily the kinda music that gets me, but it makes you think maybe you could still have the ‘spiritual’ feeling, or whatever it is.)

Confuscious's avatar

I can live without all the others, but not sight. For me that is the most important and useful sense.

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