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Super Senses
Ben gets a new girlfriend, whose sense of touch lets her see beneath the surface.note 

Homer: Wait, I can smell cake... cake that says "Farewell... and... * gasps* BEST WISHES!"
Nelson: Your old man has an awesome nose.
Bart: Oh that's nothing, he can hear pudding.
The Simpsons, "Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?"

"This is the best damn thing that ever happened to me. Well, now that I've learned to control it, I'm like Superman or something. I can hear rain coming from forty miles away. I can even hear someone's moods, the tiniest changes in a heartbeat."
Dale, Heroes

Senses keener than those of a human. Origins can be genetic, natural, supernatural, or cybernetic.

The classic five manifestations are:

  • Sight: Also known as Telescopic and Microscopic Vision, these enhancements let you see things far away and of minuscule size. Less often, it's also "snapshot" precise, letting you see in slow motion or in "Bullet Time". Also has "Night Vision" and "Infra Red" flavors, allowing the hero to see in low light or by heat signatures.
  • Smell: One of the less common powers, this lets you smell as well as or better than a dog (not that difficult if you're a Beast Man). It's useful for lots of things: tracking, finding poisons, telling impostors, and reading emotions. A favorite phrase for tough guys with super smell is "I can smell your fear."
  • Sound: Lets you hear things both far away and soft, as well as widening audible range to such degrees you can hear in the ultrasonic and tectonic ranges. Expect this to be the most headache-inducing power of the set. Possibly useable for sonar in a pinch.
  • Taste: Perhaps the most hedonistic of the super sense powers, conferring less noticeable benefits than the others. Nonetheless, Super Taste lets heroes notice everything from chemical and genetic composition, toxicity (better hope you got super immunity, too!), origin (both geographical and biological), to age.
  • Touch: This can be the most sensual of the super sense powers, bordering on the clairvoyant. It lets supers notice intricate details of whatever they touch, including reading words from print through touch alone.

The less well-known human senses, of body position (proprioception) and orientation, are generally not addressed by this trope, but may be subsumed into Super Reflexes and other agility-related powers.

In most cases, they completely ignore the drawbacks of super senses. The characters are never overloaded by too much sensory information (a crowd of people all talking at once when you have super hearing is really overwhelming) or by experiencing some unpleasant stimuli much more intensely (e.g., if you have super smell, how do you react to a skunk?). And when it comes to pain... yikes!

See also Animal Eyes, Being Watched, Spider-Sense, Vein-O-Vision, X-Ray Vision, Blindfolded Vision, The Nose Knows, Fluorescent Footprints, Bizarre Alien Senses and Mysterious Animal Senses. This trope is key to a certain gag. Beware of Sensory Overload. If the super sense is lost, expect the character to feel Sense Loss Sadness.

Truth in Television with certain conditions such as hyperacusis (unusually acute hearing) and supertasting. In addition, many animals are better at sensing certain things than humans, especially smells (however, humans have better color vision than the majority of mammals).

For extrasensory perception, see Spider-Sense and Psychic Powers. Compare The Dead Have Eyes. Sometimes overlaps with Hyper Awareness.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Subaru of Lyrical Nanoha revealed that she has "pretty good eyesight" in the supplementary manga set before the third season when she's able to clearly read the names on a screen despite being so far away that her partner couldn't even see a thing. This turned out to be a hint on her cyborg nature as telescopic sight and other forms of enhanced vision are part of their package.
  • Being a Ranker in Tower of God apparently does not only mean that you have powers that would leave most heroes trembling, it also greatly enhances your senses: While Lero-ro has exceptional ears, Quant can make out the position and number of his enemies by the flow of Shinsoo in the atmosphere.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!
    • Asuna possesses both super sight and super hearing. To give some examples, she was the only one to see the eraser momentarily floating above Negi's head despite the entire class looking at Negi at the time in the first chapter, and she managed to clearly hear the conversation Eva and Setsuna were having in the ring even though she was in the sidelines of a noisy arena during the Mahora Festival's Tournament Arc. Just some of the many hints on Asuna's Mysterious Waif nature. Setsuna's Ki allows her to at least triple her senses.
    • Rakan and Chamo have both demonstrated a remarkable sense of smell, when they were able to locate an opponent who was more than 30 kilometers away by following the scent of her panties.
    • Also, by reading the flow and charge of the air around him, Rakan was able to anticipate and counter the super speed that Negi got from his Raisoku Shundou technique (which basically made Negi a living lightning bolt).
  • Francoise (aka 003) from Cyborg 009 had ultra-augmented eyesight and hearing coming from her Cyborg enhancements. Problem is, the poor girl's powers aren't always on par with her more physically-geared teammates skills, which often causes her genuine psychological distress since she more than once feels useless compared to them.
  • Star Platinum, Jotaro's stand from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has extraordinarily good vision, being able to draw a fly in the back of a dusty and dark photograph with such detail that they determined where the photo was taken based on the fly's native origin.
  • From YuYu Hakusho, we have one of the three demon kings Yomi, who is blind but possesses three pairs of ears that allow him to literally hear everything that goes on within his kingdom. No whispered secret is safe from him.
  • Naruto
    • The Inuzuka clan all train their noses to be super-sensitive; at one point, Kiba states that his nose is now more sensitive than a ninja hound's.
    • Kakashi has supersensitive smell as well, to the point where he can track or detect people by smell at the age of twelve.
    • Not to mention the Sharingan and Byakugan. Clearly Masashi Kishimoto loves this trope.
    • One super sense or another, even just through training, is a common trait of ninja in the series: Zabuza and Dosu both have super-sensitive hearing, to the point wear the former could fight by sound alone and the latter could listen to people's pencil stroke and tell exactly what they were writing.
  • Rurouni Kenshin
    • The Oniwabanshu are ninja trained to hear the faintest of sounds.
    • Usui's hearing was enhanced at the cost of his sight. He uses it to read both his opponent's motions, like sonar, and emotions, which is why he christened it the Shingan ("Heart's Eye").
  • Sapphire of Pokémon Special. Amongst the many abilities she gained from having more-or-less grown up as a Wild Child include an acute sense of smell for tracking, a sense of hearing that allowed her to continue moving despite being momentarily blind, and a sense of sight powerful enough to clearly read the tiny writing on Jirachi's wish tag even though it was floating far away. And capable of catching a tree limb with a human on it.
    • Marlon has an acute sense of smell that is especially sensitive to water; he can tell where a water-type Pokemon (or a Pokemon that lived in water) came from by scent alone. He also deduced that the Hood Man likely didn't have all eight badges despite participating in the League anyways due to the fact he didn't smell like the water you had to pass by when you went through the Badge Gates.
  • Black Star of Soul Eater. His heightened senses are used early on to track Masamune, more recently in an attempt to find Medusa, and is said to compensate to an extent for his lack of soul perception.
  • Gavrill of Franken Fran has a sense of smell sharp enough to detect individual molecules. Due to the pungent odors the human body can produce, she generally considers dealing with other people unpleasant.
    • Her youngest sister Veronica also has much sharper senses compared to a regular human's, which helps her in her job as an assassin and bodyguard. Though her senses still pale in comparison to Gavrill's.
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Hundred Power enhances the senses along with strength, speed, and endurance. It doesn't see much use, but it ends up being quite helpful in episode 17 when Kotetsu has to find his lost daughter.
  • In Dragon Ball, Namekians are noted to have incredibly acute senses of hearing (explains why their ears are so huge), which is a plot point several times. In one movie, the downside was pointed out when Piccolo experiences extreme pain due to Gohan whistling, a weakness they later exploit to defeat a Namekian villain.
    • Saiyans, at least in Goku's case, appear to have super scent. Goku even stated that he can smell as well as a dog and can pick up the scent of people or objects. He demonstrated this by first being able to find a rock Master Roshi threw by smelling for it and knowing that Bulma was approaching by picking up her scent. He also suspected that General Blue was nearby by saying he smell something funny. Saiyans also appear to have better eyesight than humans since Goku is able to see people from far distances before anyone else even noticed anything.
  • In Toriko, the Four Heavenly Kings all have one of their senses enhanced:
    • Toriko - Smell
    • Coco - Sight
    • Sunny - Touch
    • Zebra - Hearing
  • Kotoura-san already deconstructed telepathy already, so why not this trope as well? Yuriko's mother had telescopic vision and was using it in a high-profile way, but was Driven to Suicide when people accused her for being a fake.
  • InuYasha pretty much defines this trope. Hearing and scent wise. His nose is sensitive enough that you can knock him out with something like pouring gallons of ink on him. His ears were able to pick up Shippo's whispering from a good distance away and called out Shippo for it mainly for the fact Shippo commented how he was a bit like a mutt. He also has made a crude comment when Miroku asked him if he heard or smelled anything unusual...
    Inuyasha: Oh, so I'm your faithful terrier all of a sudden?! Wondering if I've sniffed out a scent or heard something with my doggie ears?! Dang you guys tick me off! Every single one of you!

    Comicbooks 
  • Daredevil has all the above except sight, which he compensates with a radar sense that he has described as "like touching everything at once". Among his feats, he can smell water, judge a person's weight by listening to their footsteps, and read by touching ink. He also has to sleep in a sensory deprivation tank because otherwise he'd just be overloaded.
  • Superman is probably the best example since Depending on the Writer, he has superhearing that allows him to hear clouds scraping together or a cell splitting, or hear across a vacuum, telescopic vision, microscopic vision that allows him to see electrons, can see the entire electromagnetic spectrum (including infrared, X-Ray, etc.), and more.
    • Plus all the other Kryptonians under a yellow sun, such as Supergirl, Power Girl, Chris Kent/Nightwing and General Zod.
  • Batman has this in the crossover "Planetary - Batman" but it's not explained what specific supersense he's got.
    • "I know you're behind me. From this position there are nine ways to take you down; six of them kill you outright. All of them lead to your friend here being accidentally rendered unable to walk for the rest of his life. Think carefully."
  • Wolverine in X-Men has this - his super-smell gets most of the screentime, allowing him to track prey like a bloodhound.
    • Actually, we should just include all the mutants in X-Men who have feral-type powers (Wolverine, Sabretooth) or transform into animals (Wolfsbane, Catseye). Also Warpath, who can hear pins drop.
  • Being a parody of Wolverine that he is, Lobo has what has to be the most absurdly powerful sense of smell ever, allowing him to track targets across interstellar distances.
  • Wolfsbane in X-Men has enhanced senses of smell and hearing when she's in human form. She tells Rictor that she has her wolf senses in her human form but changes the subject before explaining further.
    • She receives a power boost in X-Force (v3) because of her pregnancy with the child of the Asgardian wolf prince Hrimhari.
  • The Orphan, a Marvel superhero who was also called Mr. Sensitive, had all his senses enhanced. He also had large antennae (or "feelers") protruding from his forehead. He had to wear a special suit to prevent all the information coming in through his skin from driving him insane.
    • Possibly a deconstruction of the idea of super-senses. As mentioned, he had to wear a special suit constantly, but he even had to use a special salve to dull his senses if he wanted to...eh...get physical with anyone. And at one point, a villain who has knowledge of the Orphan's power uses it against him: he has a henchman hold the Orphan tight, then tears open the suit and tortures him...by lightly scratching him with a penknife. To the Orphan's enhanced senses, it was unimaginably painful.
      • The Orphan, as a member of X-Statix, was a parody of all sorts of things. As well as deconstructing Super Senses, his Blessed with Suck powers were a pastiche of characters like Cyclops.
    • Callisto of the Morlocks suffered a similar fate when she lost her powers due to M-day and got a flawed version of them thanks to Terrigen Mist exposure. The Mist enhanced her sense of touch to such an insane degree that raindrops caused her tremendous pain. Fortunately for Callisto, the Mist powers wore off over time.
  • Diviner from Justice Machine.
  • The titular character in Paul Chadwick's Concrete had an interesting combination of this and Sense Loss Sadness. Concrete is a man whose brain, for reasons unknown, was transplanted by aliens into an eight-foot tall, sexless body made out of a substance similar to, well, concrete. Because of this, he has no sense of taste or smell at all, and his sense of touch is extremely limited. (He can feel being shot by an AK-47, but that's about it.) His hearing seems to be unchanged. His one consolation: his eyesight is far better than any human being. He can read newsprint from fifty feet away, or count the feathers of an eagle flying overhead. This one super-sense doesn't make up for the loss or near-loss of three others (or the loss of his genitals), but it's something.
  • This is one of the Ninja skills possessed by John Doe and Dr. Yagyu from Nth Man: The Ultimate Ninja .
    Dr. Yagyu: "You're getting mighty sloppy, boy! I could hear you breathing and walking through a solid steel door! I taught you better than that!"
  • Domenic of ClanDestine has this power to such a degree that it makes day to day life rather difficult. He can see into the infrared and ultraviolet spectra, and can see his sister Samantha's Instant Armor before she conjures it, and his sense of taste is so acute that the taste of chocolate once caused him to slip into a catatonic state (albeit that was when he hadn't tasted anything but seafood for over a decade). His other senses are equally acute. Sometimes this comes in handy, and he did use his powers to become a successful escape artist at one point, but they've also incapacitated him more than once, and he views them as more a curse than anything else at this point (it's strongly implied that his powers have grown much stronger over the years, so the problems may not have been that severe at first).
  • The Falcon's mask gives him telescopic, night, and infrared vision.
  • Deconstructed in Irredeemable. The Plutonian's hearing is so great he can hear almost everything at once. This means he can hear the cries of people he is unable to help and feels that he must be active in saving people twenty-four hours a day. It also lets him hear every criticism and snide comment, slowly driving him insane. It gets so bad he flies to the moon for ten minutes just to get away from it all.

     Fan Works 
  • Three out of the four in With Strings Attached have these:
    • John's hearing has been increased dramatically, to the point where he can hear things miles away, ultrasonics, etc. Luckily he's also able to tune his hearing so he doesn't overload. However, until he learns to do this, he spends some sleepless nights being awakened by "every stupid trivial sound."
      • Once he gets the Kansael, he also can sense the water in things, and can use this sense as a kind of radar.
    • Ringo's mindsight gives him a whole package of sight-related abilities, including microscopic vision (he can see atoms), telescopic vision, perfect night vision, and much more. However, he cannot see invisible things, or things that have been magically hidden.
    • George has the potential to have any super-sense as long as he can think of a creature to become that has that sense.
  • In Mega Man Defender Of The Human Race, Bass has highly advanced senses that can scan through walls and detect human heartbeats.
  • One of the members of the Dusk Guard is Sabra, a zebra monk who has hearing keen enough to use it as a sonar.

    Film 
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
    • One of the (great many) things that they did wrong with the film version was that they took the Badass Normal Alan Quatermain and claimed that he has superhuman visual acuity in the advertising materials. Fortunately though, this was averted in the actual film itself. He needs glasses to see that far (and not ultra glasses either, he's just old and can't see all that well), and is able to pass the skill onto his protege.
    • Hyde has animal-level smell and hearing. When listening to a record left by the Big Bad, Jekyll looks in a mirror and sees his Hyde alter-ego covering his ears. Apparently, the record was secretly playing a signal at ranges only heard by dogs and other animals with heightened hearing.
  • Hannibal Lecter is enough of a predator that he verges on this.
    You use Evyan skin cream and sometimes you wear L'Air du Temps, but not today.
  • Grenouille in the book and the film Perfume. He can replicate perfumes, track an individual over miles, and even sense an incoming projectile.
  • Teen Wolf can hear dog whistles.
  • E.T. "Sonar" Lovacelli in Down Periscope. "Someone just dropped 45 cents..." He also comments at various times about a colleague eating an Oreo, another in the restroom (by name), and a scuffle between lobsters on the ocean floor.
  • The whole "drawbacks" aspect is lampshaded in The Specials. "The world is covered in urine!"
  • As a boy, Clark was overwhelmed by his super hearing and X-ray vision in Man of Steel.
  • In both the movies and in the novels of The Lord of the Rings, Elves have spectacular vision: at one point, Aragorn asks Legolas to look for what a band of Uruk-Hai is doing, and while said Uruks are well out of eyeshot for Aragorn (and the viewer), Legolas apparently has no problem seeing them and noticing where they go.

    Literature 
  • Discworld
    • Angua's sense of smell. One character once described her abilities as being able to smell the result of a coin toss. While her sense of smell isn't quite that good while human-shaped (she's a werewolf), it is a lot better than most peoples (perhaps due to to bleed-through from her wolf form), and it stays good for a few minutes after turning.
    • Also in Discworld are the Listening Monks, who are trying to hear the echo of the universe's creation. They will not even accept a monk for training unless he can hear the result of a coin toss. When he's done, he's expected to hear what color the coin is. As an aside, they succeed. The sound is: "One. Two. One, two, three, four-"
    • Vampires have good smell, perhaps almost as good as werewolves. But they do have excellent hearing, at least where heartbeats are concerned.
  • In the Codex Alera series, the Canim (a wolf-like Proud Warrior Race) have an extremely acute sense of hearing and smell. How good is their sense of smell? We find in a later book that the Canim can literally smell if two people are closely related, which makes a dramatic scene in an early book Hilarious in Hindsight as the Canim knew a certain bluff was not a bluff, but the character making the statement thought it was merely a bluff.
  • Grenouille in Perfume is able to smell out every constituent part of a perfume and replicate it on the first try without measuring any of the ingredients.
  • Older Than Radio, from Edgar Allen Poe:
    • The main character from The Tell-Tale Heart suffers from an "over-acuteness of the senses," which may or may not be why he killed the old man.
    • The Fall Of The House Of Usher. Roderick Usher suffers from bouts of hyperacute senses, which are portrayed as entirely a burden, never an advantage.
  • In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West "had only one eye, but it worked like a telescope", letting her see anything that happened in her territory.
  • In the Uglies trilogy, Specials can apparently smell a burnt out campfire from ten kilometers away, see in the dark and hear better than bats. Shay in particular can always smell what someone is feeling. Specials got super senses as a result of the operation that gave them super strength and super speed (and scary faces).
  • In PN Elrod's Vampire Files series, the vampire Jack Fleming has unusually acute senses. This is one of the few stories I've seen that mentions the disadvantages of this, because Jack finds violin music painful even if it's well-played.
  • In Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn, Allomancers can achieve this through burning tin. Spook ends up burning so much tin for so long that his senses become stretched to ridiculous levels, allowing him to do such things as avoid swords because he can "feel the vibrations in the air". Sanderson also does a good job of portraying the drawbacks of having Super Senses, with things such as bright lights and loud noises momentarily disabling the characters multiple times throughout the series.
    • Feruchemy can "store" a power and bring it out later, and using tin can suffer from debilitated senses for a time in order to be able to boost them later. Unlike with Allomancy, this only works with one sense per storage object.
  • The title protagonist of Isobelle Carmody's Alyzon Whitestarr experiences a head injury and gains mystical-seeming heightened senses combined with Hyper Awareness and photographic memory, to the point where she can sense personalities and emotions through smell. She has to learn to screen out the excess stimuli and interpret the new information she is receiving.
  • Nancy Farmer's The Ear, the Eye and the Arm delves into the severe down side of having Super Senses. The Eye has to wear special glasses to tone down the light level whenever he leaves home; the Ear can easily be overloaded through abundance of noise. The Arm has the ability to sense emotions - no, not a Super Sense per se, but play in much the same manner - and it frequently overwhelms him (so many all at once!), occasionally affecting his mood directly. When the Arm bonds with a baby, he goes to sleep when she does, and at one point they start echoing fear back and forth between them, each one scaring the other in a magnifying cascade of horror.
  • Honor Harrington's artificial eye gives her both telescopic, and microscopic vision. And when she activates the pulser built into her artificial hand, a targeting reticule.
  • Mike, the sentient computer from The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress can make a reasonable judgment of a person's health, just from the sound picked up by a common telephone receiver.
  • Tarzan can track prey by smell. Even though that's not really possible.
  • Bean from the Shadow books is described as being unusually good at picking significant things out of background noise, for instance being able to hear people coming up behind him despite being near a running helicopter. It's made clear that his ears are normal, and it's his brain that's doing the heavy lifting. Implied to be a side effect of his condition.
  • With a proper diet, the vampires of The Madness Season have heightened senses of smell and hearing. Even when weaned off of blood, they are still able to see into the infra red spectrum.
  • In Tales of MU, Mack learns that she can use her innate magical ability to boost her senses.
  • The Wheel of Time: As a Wolfbrother Perrin can see and hear at a great range and smell people's emotions.
  • Members of the new Human Subspecies homo post hominem in the novel Emergence have unusual sensory acuity, including vision in the infrared range. Protagonist Candy (a hominem) comments that learning this explains a lot that's puzzled her about dealing with the humans around her.
  • Legolas's feats of eyesight in the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers novel include counting both the fast-moving Riders of Rohan and their riderless horses and observing that their leader is very tall while said Riders are still a dozen miles away.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Jake20 had all of his body functions enhanced.
  • Vampires frequently have this. In fact, in the Vampire Detective show Moonlight, there was a drug, "Black Crystal", that temporarily gave its users vampiric-level sensory prowess, which made for a pretty good trip.
    • Additionally, they can somehow use the sense of smell to reconstruct recent events with amazing precision. Spilled blood may or may not have to be involved.
      • Since we only see Mick doing this, and he's a private investigator, this may just be a visual representation of his investigative skills coupled with this trope.
    • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel all vampires have excellent hearing and smelling abilities. Angel, in the latter series has been able to find out if two characters have had sex (for example, Cordelia and Connor) just by smelling one's scent on the other. His son, Connor, has also been shown to have such abilities, such as when he overheard Fred and Gunn from a distance.
  • Thermoman in My Hero also seems to have this power. He can smell natural disasters. Yes, smell natural disaster.
  • The show Teen Wolf has this. Being a werewolf grants one such powers.
    • Unfortunately for Derek, when he was feeling the incapacitating effects of the wolfsbane bullet, he received a painful sensory overload from the overwhelming noise and activity happening in the school. Especially from the school bell that happened to be placed right above him.
  • The show called The Sentinel had this as a premise. It came with a catch, though: Whenever the titular Sentinel focused on one of his senses, making it super-acute, he lost the other 4 almost completely. So while he can spot a sniper in a darkened window from half a city-block away on a moonless night, he meanwhile can't hear the guy right next to him screaming at him to get his head down.
    • There is also a lost temple somewhere in the jungles of Peru, specifically built to increase the powers of the Sentinels to better protect the tribes. Unfortunately, it also appears to fry their brains after a while due to Sensory Overload. This is only shown once, and it's not clear if this Sentinel was doing something wrong.
    • His super-senses also somehow translate into Improbable Aiming Skills. In one episode, he disarms a suspect by putting a bullet directly into her gun barrel from the other side of a bus. In another, he takes out a bad guy from a huge distance away while both he and the bad guy are in different helicopters. Oh, and he's always using his standard-issue police 9mm. Granted, Jim did have special ops training prior to becoming a cop, but this is pushing it.
  • Clark in Smallville does this, as his build up to becoming Superman.
    • In one episode of the '90s The Adventures of Superboy series, Lex Luthor attacked Superboy with a noise-device that inflicted pain thanks to the target's super-hearing ability.
  • The super-sense for the titular The Six Million Dollar Man was sight.
  • Radu from Space Cases has super hearing, with the requisite complaining about loud (and small, irritating) noises, especially when he's in the same room as Catalina when she uses her supersonic screaming ability.
  • Time Lords have highly advanced senses, including a strong sense of smell, so strong they can smell when another Time Lord is on the same planet. They also have a magical "Time Lord sense" that allows then to sense changes in the timeline and determine which points are fixed and which are in flux. The Tenth Doctor in Doctor Who also appears to have a ridiculously good sense of taste, able to identify some material compositions by tasting them. In The Christmas Invasion, he identifies not just human blood, but what blood type it is.
    • Which Fridge Logic suggests is a bit worrying; it's not enough to have super-taste, you also need to be familiar with the taste of different types of human blood...
    • He could also identify mistletoe oil by licking the wall. And he stuck two fingers in a jar of jam and licked them in Fear Her. And he licked sand in Planet of the Dead. All of which leads fans to believe that he has an, ahem, oral fixation.
    • The Eleventh Doctor has this trait as well. When companion Amy Pond asks him about it after eating some grass, ("Have you always been this disgusting?") he says, "No, that's recent." It appears he first acquired that ability in his tenth incarnation.
    • Don't forget that Eleven was actually able to tell how much time had passed just by licking the wood off of Amy's shed
    • There are also the Raxacoricofallapatorians, who can smell human sweat.
  • Clement McDonald in Torchwood: Children of Earth'' has a superhuman sense of smell which he can use to determine everything from the presence of aliens to a person's sexuality.
  • Constable Fraser in Due South can also identify unexpected things by taste.
  • House. The hostage taker in the 5th season episode "Last Resort" suffers from hyperacusis. When talking on the phone he suddenly hangs up, runs across the room, and has someone open the blinds revealing a SWAT team sneaking outside the window. Even the hostages standing right next to that window didn't hear them approaching.
  • Gus from Psych dubbed his nose the Super Sniffer and it has proven useful during investigations.
  • Two members of the GUYS Crew in Ultraman Mebius have heightened senses — George with his sight, and Marina with her hearing.
  • Hyde in Jekyll. "Oooh, nice...but it's not your usual perfume, there's another one underneath." He later senses what gender a pregnant woman's baby is, how long ago an ex-smoker gave up, and how long said ex-smoker has to live before his tumor kills him.
  • In Star Trek, Vulcan hearing is much more sensitive than human. In the original series episode "The Way to Eden", the antagonists use sound to knock out the crew of the Enterprise and Spock is shown covering his ears in pain several seconds before anyone else even notices the noise.
    • They also have a heightened sense of smell.
      • That's mostly females.
  • In Community episode "Social Psychology" Pierce receives a ear-nocular for eavesdropping.
    Pierce: You see Jeff. There was certain things man was not meant to hear. We were designed, by whatever entity you choose, to hear what's in this range and really this range alone because you know whose talking to us in this range? The people we love.
  • Rachel Pirzad in Alphas has the same ability as Jim Ellison in The Sentinel and with the same drawback: if she focuses on one super-sense, she temporarily loses the others. This is shown in the pilot, where she breaks into the apartment of an Alpha suspected of murder and focuses on super-sight so much that she doesn't hear her teammates screaming in the radio to get out.
  • Desserians in Tracker have evolved on a desert world and have adapted their tongues to be able to taste poisons. Apparently, this ability also works when they're possessing a human body.
  • Monk can decypher what someone is writing on his back, even hours after it has happened. It's a gift... and a curse.
  • Dale from Heroes has super-hearing, which she considers a gift but still has to listen to music at ridiculous levels to drown out the noise. When Sylar kills her and takes her power, he is at first having trouble with the overly-loud noises.
  • Ferals in Mutant X have animal-level senses, especially Shalimar, once she "evolves". Said "evolution" results in her hearing Jesse sneak up on her while listening to loud music on her MP3 player.
  • Kyle XY can "concentrate" on one of his sense to supercharge it, being able to see in almost complete darkness or hear things hundreds of feet away through walls and the like. The downside is that he loses a proportionate amount of imput from his other senses, e.g. if he is concentrating on his sight, he can't hear things as well.
  • In later seasons of Red Dwarf, the Cat becomes Starbug's pilot because he can smell Negative Space Wedgies approaching.

    Music 
  • The children's song "John Lee: Supertaster" by They Might Be Giants explores both the pro's and con's of that ability. The fridge logic (no pun intended) is that young children are more sensitive to strong flavors, so they may draw the conclusion they have superpowers from listening to this song.

    Podcasts 
  • Sentry. (His name is not Kid Sentinel. He's not a sidekick, he's an assistant, thank you very much.) Played by Daniel in Fandible's Rotted Capes game. His superpowers grant him enhanced senses, including the eyesight of an eagle, and the taste of an Italian. Often wears a blindfold, so he doesn't have to bear witness to the zombie apocalypse around him.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In GURPS the super sensory Advantages for vision alone include: Telescopic Vision, Microscopic Vison, Infravision, Ultravision, Hyperspectral Vision, Acute Vision, Dark Vision, See Invisible, Night Vision and Penetrating Vision.
    • And then there are still advantages for the other senses on top of that
      • Also the Blind Fighting Skill
  • In D&D 3.5 nearly every species except humans had some sort of enhanced vision powers.
    • In 4th edition, About half or so of the basic races have low-light vision.
      • Some monsters (and the drow) can see without light using Darkvision. Absolutely necessary for the drow since they live in the Underdark, a place with almost no natural light. In 3.5 at least they suffer in-game penalties to their abilities if they go out in the daytime since they aren't used to the light of day.
  • Mutants & Masterminds allows a wide variety of Super Senses through its Super-Senses power. Basically, any sense can gain enhancements to do things like allow it to be performed over a 360-degree radius, be hyper-acute, be able to sense fine details, perform the sense over a long distance, etc. And, of course, it allows for entirely new senses.
  • Shows up a few times in The World of Darkness games:
    • Vampires (in both games) can acquire the Discipline of Auspex, which allows those who've just gotten into it to increase their senses by superhuman levels. Of course, this comes with the downside of being knocked for a loop by sudden sensory changes.
    • Likewise, werewolves in both games get access to superhuman level of smell, allowing them to easily track others.
    • Beasts in Changeling: The Lost can buy the Contracts of Fang and Talon, the second level of which allows them to borrow the senses of the Contact's type of animal (e.g., the sight of a bird of prey, the scent tracking of canines). If the animal in question is not known for heightened senses (e.g., goats), they get a sizable flat bonus to Perception rolls instead.
  • Eclipse Phase has sensory enhancement augmentations:
    • Enhanced Vision: the character gains the ability to see a significant portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, letting them see "a total of several dozen colors, instead of the seven ordinary human eyes can perceive". Additionally, they have telescopic capabilities equivalent to binoculars.
    • Enhanced Hearing: doubles the character's audible frequency range, as well as drastically increasing their auditory sensitivity. The given example is that they can "easily overhear even a softly spoken conversation at another table in a small restaurant".
    • Enhanced Smell: a sense of smell "equal to that of a bloodhound", giving them the ability to identify people and objects by smell, track recent trails, and ascertain the health and emotional state of nearby people.
    • Additionally, there are a few augmentations that provide the character with whole new senses: echolocation, direction sense, electrical sense, radiation sense, chemical sniffers, nanoscopic vision, lidar, and radar (although these last four are only available to synthmorphs).
  • The Bio-Augmentation process for Warhammer 40,000 Space Marines includes a trio of organs that allow perfect vision in near darkness, enhanced hearing with the conscious ability to filter sound, and an enhanced sense of taste which allows them to track targets or distinguish specific chemical compositions.
  • Exalted allows most of the characters who can use Essence to get some sort of super-sense. This ranges from the ability to perceive Essence flows to being able to recognizing the presence of a tasteless, odorless poison in wine by the dilution of the wine's own taste to seeing through all deceptions and attempts to conceal the truth.

    Toys 
  • Played with/Deconstructed in BIONICLE.Dalu's Chargers can temporarily enhance one of her enemies' senses, which serves as a distraction as they try to cope with their new abilities. Gali actually went temporarily insane after having her vision enhanced.

    Videogames 
  • Touhou: Momiji has the ability to see great distances. Miko has all around excellent hearing, being able to hear soft sounds, sounds from far away, and comprehending large numbers of different things at once. Miko also has a super-inference power, so she can figure out all sorts of things about a person by talking to them for a short time.
  • Nessiah is confirmed in Blaze Union to have superhuman hearing and sense of smell. This makes sense, as he isn't, after all, human and it's perfectly reasonable that his already-strong senses would develop further to compensate for his blindness.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: With the right Alchemy perk you can taste which ingredients can be used to make what potions, without this perk you can only learn the first effect of a possible four.
  • Mass Effect 3 reveals that the Protheans had senses so incredibly developed and acute that they bordered on Psychic Powers, allowing them to literally read information encoded on a genetic level. Javik, the sole surviving Prothean, uses this ability to instantly absorb all known galactic languages from Shepherd's Translator Microbes, as well as all of Shepherd's knowledge of the current galactic situation, with a single touch.

    Webcomics 
  • Gwen's soulstone power in Earthsong.
  • From Schlock Mercenary:
    • The titular Schlock is a Carboscilicate Amorph, who has been described as having "Molecular recognition better than a whole team of bloodhounds", allowing him to easily identify people by smell or taste. Arguably, he also classifies as having superior eyesight, not because his eyes are particularly good, but because of how many he can use at once, and the fact that he can move them around at will - thus allowing him to determine the altitude, speed, and climb-rate of an aircraft through triangulation.
    • "Legs" has a superb sense of taste, assisted by a long, prehensile tongue.
    • "Ebby" has a very large single eye that has amazingly high resolution, allowing him to see the recording implant in an human iris and that overcomes the 3D vision of a cycloptic race by focusing very quickly and repeatedly, giving him better rangefinding than the average human.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Snookums the Tentacle Bunny is a Kaiju who got shrunk to the size of a basketball. Snookums still has all the nerve endings of a huge creature, now compressed down to a small space, granting him Super Senses. This makes him an excellent tracker.
  • Terezi from Homestuck is blind, but she can approximate sight by smelling colors and occasionally tasting them as well for greater clarity. She isn't really treated as having a superhuman ability to smell normal smells, but it counts anyway. (She's an alien, but the trolls' senses are basically the same as humans' in general. Except for the part where about a third of them have psychic powers, but that's not the point.)
  • Michelle of Skin Deep can read a magazine from high on a cliff due to her being a sphinx (part lion and part eagle). Merial, on the other hand, can see well underwater but needs glasses on land.
  • Shelly of Wapsi Square now seems to have super eyesight due to being a sphinx
  • Vampires in The Kingfisher seem to have all senses heightened. Occasionally a human will be differentiated in the comic with a fiery aura, which represents a vampire observing their body heat.

    Web Original 
  • There are lots of mutants with one or more enhanced senses in the Whateley Universe. Aquerna has the spirit of the squirrel, so she has enhanced sight and smell (as well as being regarded as one of the school losers). Chaka has figured out how to use her Ki abilities to simulate seeing in slow motion. Jinn Sinclair can see emotions and magic and superpowers. And so on.
    • There's also a boy at the school who has super-smell. It has only been shown as a liability, like the time Jade went to class after working in the sewers (her regular job) and getting monster goo splashed on her clothes (it's a really dangerous sewer system), and the boy passed out from the smell.
    • Phase also has an amazingly good sense of taste, but this is probably not a true superpower, just something acquired from years of being a rich kid dining on the best foods in the world.
  • The Worm universe has quite a lot of super-powered individuals with enhanced senses of some kind — the first one encountered is the supervillain Lung, who has supernaturally-acute hearing in his Scaled Up form.

    Western Animation 
  • In Futurama, Professor Farnsworth creates a Smelloscope that can sniff out far away galaxies.
  • Wildmutt, one of Ben's alien forms in Ben 10 has no eyes, but can navigate through smell, echolocation, infrared sensing, a combination of those, or something similar. It isn't entirely clear.
  • Bravestarr. BRAVESTARR! Eyes of the hawk, ears of the wolf.
  • Freakazoid!: Candle Jack. The guy would whisk you away whenever you said his name.
    • Fooled ya, didn't I? But still, he does do that of
  • In the episode of Teen Titans "The Quest", Robin is challenged in a cave by a snake creature; Robin notices that he's blind, and at first refuses, saying it wouldn't be fair. The snake responds by extinguishing the lighs, saying it's fair now, because they both can't see. Robin soon learns that this isn't true; the snake doesn't need sight, using his hearing to fight, and now Robin is the one at a disadvantage.
  • In the Samurai Jack episode "Jack and the Blind Archers", Jack tries to assault a tower guarded by, uh, blind archers, who have such an acute sense of hearing that he can't get near them. Eventually, Jack uses his own skill at blind-fighting to defeat them.

    Real Life 
  • There are a couple of neural layouts that result in heightened senses. Not to mention there are some mental issues that result in blending of the senses!
  • It is possible to train your sense of touch to become more sensitive, though this does take a lot of time. Blind people rapidly gain super sensitivity in their fingers, allowing some of them to read Braille with amazing speed.
  • It's common for people on the autism spectrum to have an increased sensitivity to sensory input, i.e. a low-key version of this trope. It's a brain thing, though, not a case of having better sensory organs: a neurotypical brain ignores or strips out a lot of the sensory data it receives, so you won't be overwhelmed by the vast amount of things your senses are picking up at any given moment. If your brain doesn't filter that data as much as is typical, your senses will be better but you'll be more susceptible to Sensory Overload. There's also related hazards like perceiving totally ordinary sensations as unpleasantly intense (and perhaps intensely unpleasant), or being unable to concentrate on the important stuff when you're receiving both important and unimportant sensory input.

    A slightly-autistic artist is known for producing hyper-accurate drawings of cityscapes from a single glance from above specifically because his brain doesn't filter out any visual stimulus and he can hold the complete image in his head as he draws.
  • Hypersensitivities, particularly to smells or tastes, aren't all that unusual. Many people who are considered "picky eaters" are simply more taste-sensitive than others, hence find some foods unpalatable due to unpleasant subtleties of flavor.
  • People who use their sense of smell professionally, such as judges of fine wine, often carry nasal-spray bottles of distilled water with them to invoke this trope as needed. That's because spraying water vapor into the nasal cavity liquifies its mucus, making it easier for odors-molecules to reach the olfactory receptors and be detected.
  • Migraines can also increase hearing, sense of smell, sense of touch and the ability to sense light. Of course, since all of those come with the price of pain during said migraine, this is far from a good thing.
  • Humans have more sensory receptors for touch than many other land vertebrates, mostly because we have thin, hairless skin on so much of our body surface. Not as concentrated in one place as a raccoon's paws or a star-nosed mole's snout, but a fairly keen tactile sense overall.
  • Some people with blindness have developed advanced echolocation abilities, allowing them to "see" with their ears. Most notably Daniel Kish, himslef blind since the age of 13 months, trains other people with blindness in the art of listening to echoes from the environment to determine the distance of objects. His own echolocation ability is developed to a degree where he can safely engage in his favorite hobby - mountain biking.


Seeing Through Anothers EyesOne with the IndexMy Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That
Sensory OverloadSensory IndexAnti True Sight
Crystal BallAntagonist AbilitiesSinister Surveillance
Reading LipsDisability SuperpowerSuper Wheel Chair
Super ReflexesStock SuperpowersInnate Night Vision
Rival Turned EvilImageSource/Comic BooksTo Be Lawful or Good
Superior SuccessorAdded Alliterative Appeal'Super Sentai" Stance

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