Enhanced senses?

What causes a person to have better eyesight/hearing/smell than normal? And I’ve heard that it’s possible to have 20/10 eyesight, how is this?

Well you’re either born with it or it’s corrected to that point. I guess I don’t understand the question. “20/20” is not perfect vision. 20/20 is median healthy vision if I remember correctly (you see from 20 feet the text median people with normal vision see at 20 feet). Better than 20/20 just means you see better than that.

A friend of mine has had Lasik done and yes, his eyesight is better that the norm. 20/10, not hard to achieve. Hearing? what makes one person tone deaf and another person a conductor? Talent and genes.

And I must also add, the drive or opportunity to pursue thier enhanced gift (in this case, sound). Many people have it, but never pursue it. Don’t know where people with enhanced taste would apply thier gift (perhaps wine tasters?), or people with advanced eyesight . . . perhaps they become snipers. :smiley:

I have an amazing sense of smell, but the last thing I’d call it is a “gift.” There are some things in life you just don’t want to smell.

I didn’t always have this sniffer. It developed, I think, shortly after I kicked a 10-year smoking habit.
I’m also a bit sensitive to sounds; I can hear things in my apartment building before anyone else does, and they seem to annoy only me. I’m not sure if that’s because everyone in my building is a 24-year-old pothead or because I’m a premature old fuddy duddy.

Seriously, I can hear high-pitched noises no one else seems to be able to hear.

Perhaps I’m a dog.

Marge, you are not a dog. At least not as far as your senses go :wink: . Espically after giving up smoking (good for you!). That damn habit dulls the other senses like only a former smoker can testistify to. A lot of people go most of thier whole lives not being in touch with thier senses, seems that they are purposisly trying to dull them, and then get re-aquainted with them after they give up a bad habit. Dude, give up that tobacco NOW. It will never get easier! NOW is the time to do it! Don’t wait.

Take a visit to that nursing home down the street that you always pass by on your way to pick up a pack of smokes and a six-pack (you are welcome even if you don’t know them!) and talk with the people (yes, they are people) there. They could have avoided a few years there if only they had done so and I am sure that all of them would tell you the same thing. STOP SMOKING NOW (but a a drink now and then). The ones that are still smoking have acceppted the fact that they are gonners, you don’t have to be.

Sorry, wrong post. You didn’t say you had a smoking problem. But the advice still stands.

Wish I could un-post! But that option still evades us . . .

Pre-hysto, about a week before my menstrual period, I’d be able to smell things long before anyone else did. I guess my sense of smell was heightened at that particular time.
I’m a smoker, but I could smell when someone lit up a cigarette downstairs, when I was upstairs…things like that.
Do any other women notice this?

The OP didn’t mention taste, but it also differs by individuals. E.g., I am a “supertaster” which makes a lot of foods taste bitter and I am also sensitive to fats and sugars. Note that there are two genetic changes involved in becoming a supertaster: an increased sensitivity to PROP and a lot more taste buds. Linky:


Since taste is quite a simple sense, having a lot of variability in other senses is to be expected.

Interesting. I have what everyone tells me is “amazing hearing”. I can hear television sattelites (which positively drives me nuts), light-bulb buzzing, machine “frequency”, whispers from across the house. Is it hereditary or is it even possible to acquire it? And no, I don’t have tinnitus.

Oh, and I should note that my father can’t hear high-pitched sounds and my mother says she has below-average hearing. If it were hereditary, how?

The women on my maternal side of the family have annoying acute senses of hearing, smell and feeling. My grandmother complains about feeling drafts from an open window in a closed door bedroom on the second floor of her house.

Some of it you simply have as an inheritance, like height or eye color. Some senses become damaged over time, varying from one to another. People who have worked in noisy places or otherwise subject themselves to excessive noise retain irreversable damage to sensitive parts of the inner ear. Probably some are more susceptible to such damage than others, but by the time we are elderly most of us have accumulated some degree of hearing loss. There is similar erosion of the ability to taste and smell, with the damage caused by such things as smoking and other environmental factors.

I’ve always had poor eyesight but excellent hearing. Now that I’m old, my eyes are actually getting less nearsighted but also less able to respond to changes. If I’ve been doing close work for too long, it takes a while before I can focus at distance properly. OTOH, I love quiet places and rarely stay long in noisy ones if I can help it. When I was teaching my exceptional hearing could pick up conversations at the opposite side of the classroom, which really annoyed my students. The unfortunate part of this is that most of the time I think people are talking far too loudly, and noisy places make me very uncomfortable.

Gosh, yes. There’s nothing more likely to change someone’s behavior than an unsolicited, inappropriate lecture from a random stranger.

Please, no lectures on the dangers of smoking. Not because I don’t think it’s a bad thing, but because this thread is going way off topic.

A few addenda, for curiousity value:

  • The gene for PROP sensivity has not been identified (though that for sensitivity to a similar subtance, PTC, has). AFAIK, genes that influence the density of taste buds have not been identified either.

  • Increasing numbers of taste buds and increasing sensivity to PROP / PTC tend to covary quite closely (i.e., you don’t tend to get people with dense populations of taste buds, but no ability to taste PROP).

  • Food choices for tasters / nontasters may vary according to gender: There’s some evidence that males supertasters prefer some stronger-tasting foods, the reverse being true of females. There’s also some evidence that supertasters have higher food preference ratings in general, though a lot of this preference stuff is a bit variable in the literature.

  • Roughly 20% of the population may be defined as supertasters, more than this in Asian populations.

Anyway, taste bud density varies greatly between people. Not as marked in the case of the receptors in your eye though, nor receptors in the skin.

Hrmm… I can often hear distant sounds that no one else can, the phone ringing from inside the house when we are outside or knowing that two people are having a conversation down the hall through a closed door, for example. I’ll mention it to the people around me and even though they listen, they still can’t hear those things.

And yet in conversations, I often have to concentrate to tell what people are saying, especially if there is any background noise. If they don’t enunciate their words carefully, it sounds like they are mumbling and I can’t make out the words.

I’m near-sighted … so I guess it was counter balanced by having far-hearing…

Yeah, that was a lousy joke… <slinking off in shame>

I have bad eyesight too… I have to wear glasses. I wonder if bad eyesight comes with good hearing?