The Special Senses
and Clinical Application
During an ophthalmoscopic examination, Mrs. James was found
to have bilateral papilledema. Further investigation indicated that
this condition resulted from a rapidly growing intracranial tumor.
First, deﬁne papilledema (see
Related Clinical Terms
explain its presence in terms of Mrs. James’s diagnosis.
Sally, a 9-year-old girl, told the clinic physician that her “ear
lump hurt” and she kept “getting dizzy and falling down.” As she
told her story, she pointed to her mastoid process. An otoscopic
examination of the external acoustic meatus revealed a red,
swollen eardrum, and her throat was inﬂamed. Her condition
was described as mastoiditis with secondary labyrinthitis
(inﬂammation of the labyrinth). Describe the most likely route of
infection and the infected structures in Sally’s case. Also explain
the cause of her dizziness and falling.
Mr. Gaspe appeared at the eye clinic complaining of a chip of
wood in his eye. No foreign body was found, but the conjunctiva
was obviously inﬂamed. What name is given to this inﬂammatory
condition, and where would you look for a foreign body that has
been ﬂoating around on the eye surface for a while?
Mrs. Orlando has been noticing ﬂashes of light and tiny specks
in her right visual ﬁeld. When she begins to see a “veil” ﬂoating
before her right eye, she makes an appointment to see the eye
doctor. What is your diagnosis? Is the condition serious? Explain.
David Norris, an engineering student, has been working in a
nightclub to earn money to pay for his education. A±er about
eight months, he notices that he is having problems hearing high-
pitched tones. What is the cause-and-eﬀect relationship here?
Assume that a tumor in the pituitary gland or hypothalamus is
protruding inferiorly and compressing the optic chiasma. What
could be the visual outcome?
Four-year-old Gary Zammer is brought to the ophthalmologist
for a routine checkup on his vision. Gary is an albino. How do
you think albinism aﬀects vision?
Right before Jan, a senior citizen, had a large plug of earwax
cleaned from her ear, she developed a constant howling sound in
her ear that would not stop. It was very annoying and stressful,
and she had to go to counseling to learn how to live with this
awful noise. What was her condition called?
During an anatomy and physiology lab exercise designed to
teach the use of the ophthalmoscope, you notice that your lab
partner has diﬃculty seeing objects in the darkened room. Upon
examining her retina through the ophthalmoscope, you observe
streaks and patches of dark pigmentation at the back of the eye.
What might this condition be?
Henri, a chef in a ﬁve-star French restaurant, has been diagnosed
with leukemia. He is about to undergo chemotherapy, which
will kill rapidly dividing cells in his body. He needs to continue
working between bouts of chemotherapy. What consequences of
chemotherapy would you predict that might aﬀect his job as a chef?
stapes in the oval window,
incus in the round
stapes against the tympanic membrane.
Te transmission of sound vibrations through the internal ear
occurs chieﬂy through
Which of the following statements does not correctly describe the
Sounds of high frequency stimulate hair cells at
the basal end,
the “hairs” of the receptor cells are embedded
in the tectorial membrane,
the basilar membrane acts as a
the more numerous outer hair cells are largely
responsible for our perception of sound.
Pitch is to frequency of sound as loudness is to
all of these.
Te structure that allows pressure in the middle ear to be
equalized with atmospheric pressure is the
Which of the following is important in maintaining the balance
of the body?
all of these.
Equilibrium receptors that report the position of the head in
space relative to the pull of gravity are
Which of the following is not a possible cause of conduction
middle ear infection,
cochlear nerve degeneration,
Which of the following are intrinsic eye muscles?
smooth muscles of the iris and
levator palpebrae superioris.
Which lies closest to the exact posterior pole of the eye?
point of entry
of central artery into the eye.
Otoliths (ear stones) are
a cause of deafness,
a type of
important in equilibrium,
petrous temporal bones.
Short Answer Essay Questions
Why do you o±en have to blow your nose a±er crying?
How do rods and cones diﬀer functionally?
Where is the fovea centralis, and why is it important?
Describe the response of rhodopsin to light stimuli. What is the
outcome of this cascade of events?
Since there are only three types of cones, how can you explain the
fact that we see many more colors?
Where are the olfactory sensory neurons, and why is that site
poorly suited for their job?
Each olfactory sensory neuron responds to a single type of
odorant molecule. ²rue or false? Explain your choice.
Name the ﬁve primary taste qualities and the cranial nerves that
serve the sense of taste.
Describe the eﬀect of aging on the special sense organs.