If I enter a room with certain odor, I can sense the odor. However, if I stay there for some time I cannot sense it anymore. A new entrant to the room can still smell it or I have to leave the room for some time and upon returning I can sense it again. Does our nose detect only if there is change in odor?
Senses in general adapt to continuous stimulation due to various processes. One such process is simply the exhaustion of the reserves of a receptor, or secondary neuron, due to a depletion of neurotransmitters. Entering a room activates a fresh pool of chemical receptors, thereby generating a clear sense of smell. However, this dims due to adaptation. Exiting and re-entering the room after a while revives the neuronal response. More central adaptive responses may also play a role. A comparable effect is seen in the tactile sense. For example, the awareness of wearing a ring or watch fades quickly. Changing its position revives the percept. So yes, sensory systems like olfaction and touch are more responsive to differential stimuli.