You may have heard that your sense of smell can help you taste. But did you know there are other senses involved too? These include your sense of touch and, even more surprisingly, your sense of hearing. We explore this connection below.
About this Link
If you take a bite out of an apple, the sound of the crunch can alert you to how fresh it is. This can help bring extra enjoyment to the experience of eating it.
But it’s not just the crunch of the apple, the snap of a candy bar or the fizz of a soda that can affect your taste. Research shows that playing certain types of music while you’re eating can impact how you perceive your food.
In one study published in 2015, customers in a chocolate shop were asked if they wanted to participate in an experiment where they tasted chocolate while listening to different auditory stimuli. The results showed that certain sounds caused the chocolate to taste better, and in fact people were willing to pay more for the chocolate while those sounds were playing.
In another study, participants were asked to match various flavors to musical notes. When the results were plotted on a graph, they showed a clear and consistent spectrum where low pitches were matched with flavors like smoke, musk and chocolate, mid pitches were matched with pepper, mushroom, caramel and violet, and high pitches were matched with apricot, lemon and apple.
When two or more senses are involved in how you perceive an experience, like what was shown with these two studies, it is known as cross modal.
Why the Link Between Hearing & Taste?
There are a few theories as to how hearing and taste may be linked, though it’s not well understood. One theory is that there is some sort of neurogastronomical link, like in mice where there’s a neural connection between the auditory nerve and olfactory bulb. Another theory has to do with priming. This means auditory input may have some sort of placebo effect that primes people’s expectation of taste.
In reality, all the senses are closely linked, and it’s not always clear how to differentiate between them.
What This Means for You
For more information about this link or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call Arizona Desert ENT Specialists today.