A continuing ad campaign for Febreze air freshener and odor eliminator products warns us about noseblindness,

The gradual acclimation to the smells of one’s home, car, or belongings, in which the affected does not notice them (even though their guests do). (link)

An illustration of a cat owner’s noseblindness, showing how visitors will perceive their house:

Noseblind is a fairly clever coinage for this sensory saturation effect, treating it as similar to being temporarily blinded by bright lights or deafened by loud noises. But it’s not truly similar to being blind or deaf. which are enduring and more global inabilities.

Another occurrence of noseblind, from a site offering advice for swimmers:

Swimmers are among a group of people deeply threatened by the possibility of going noseblind. By continual exposure to chlorine odor, swimmers actually lose the ability to smell chlorine. As a result, swimmers often do not appreciate how intensely they smell of chlorine, which may shock or offend their friends and colleagues.

Compare anosmia. Form Wikipedia:

Anosmia … is the inability to perceive odor or a lack of functioning olfaction. Anosmia may be temporary, but traumatic anosmia can be permanent. Anosmia is due to an inflammation of the nasal mucosa, blockage of nasal passages or a destruction of one temporal lobe. Inflammation is due to chronic mucosa changes in the paranasal sinus lining and the middle and superior turbinates. Since anosmia causes inflammatory changes in the nasal passage ways, it is treated by simply reducing the presence of inflammation.

Anosmia is closely related to

Ageusia … the loss of taste functions of the tongue, particularly the inability to detect sweetness, sourness, bitterness, saltiness, and umami (meaning “pleasant/savory taste”). It is sometimes confused with anosmia – a loss of the sense of smell. Because the tongue can only indicate texture and differentiate between sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami, most of what is perceived as the sense of taste is actually derived from smell. True ageusia is relatively rare compared to hypogeusia – a partial loss of taste – and dysgeusia – a distortion or alteration of taste. (link)

While I’m on inabilities, there’s also

Congenital insensitivity to pain (CIP), also known as congenital analgesia, … one or more rare conditions in which a person cannot feel (and has never felt) physical pain. The conditions described here are separate from the HSAN [hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy] group of disorders, which have more specific signs and etiology. Despite sounding beneficial, it is actually an extremely dangerous condition. (link)

One Response to “noseblind”

  1. Dwight Says:

    My good friend from work has some cats and dogs that have made his home extremely foul with urine odor that he can no longer smell. I tried to tell him that he smelled like urine when he came to church but nobody else would chance hurting his feelings. He said it must have been the Brut he wears.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: