Ever wonder why your teenager doesn’t notice that his bedroom smells more like a locker room? Or why it seems your plug-in air freshener has suddenly stopped working after just a few days, yet your guests still tell you they love the scent in your home?
One word: Noseblindness
This olfactory affliction is an entirely natural, and not exactly avoidable, scientific phenomenon. Let’s take a look at just what robs our noses – and often protects our noses – from smelling our everyday environments.
You probably know that the sense of smell is one of the strongest, most triggering senses in both humans and animals. Without an acute sense of smell, most animals would either starve to death, or become lunch themselves. Unlike animals, humans frequent the same habitat day after day. Humans very quickly become accustomed to the smell in their everyday environment; however, our noses alert us the slightest change in the air in that same environment. This likely came in handy in caveman days when dinner began to spoil after a few days, and the change in the smell of the air signaled the meal was no longer safe to eat.
Sensory adaption occurs when your odor receptors send a signal to the olfactory bulb in your brain’s limbic system. After identifying the scent and classifying it as unimportant, the odor receptors begin to ignore that scent, and the intensity of the scent fades. It’s not until you take that cruise you’ve been planning, or spend a week with the family in Florida, will your receptors reset, and you’ll be reintroduced to those familiar scents upon your return – briefly…
So relax – despite what your nose is telling you, your Sanitizing Peppermint, Jasmine & Moss Oak Scented Oil Refill is still vaporizing that gym sock smell, and your Relaxing Lemon, Lavender & Eucalyptus Scented Oil Refill is still welcoming your guests into your room – you have just gone noseblind!