What Are the Effects of a Poor Sense Of Smell
For those of us who revel in the scent of freshly baked bread or the blossoms on a cherry tree, we may think people who have lost their ability to smell are suffering mightily. Well, here’s the good news: We’re wrong! According to a new study, people with a reduced sense of smell – including those who have completely lost their ability to sniff anything at all –learn to cope without feeling any significant sense of loss.
Problems with the sense of smell are surprisingly common. Between 13 to 18 percent of people have a reduced sense of smell and four to six percent have no sense of smell at all. What causes the loss? It could be a number of things including viral infections, head trauma, nose and sinus diseases, and neurodegenerative conditions. In most cases it’s simply a matter of getting older.
The olfactory study conducted at the University of Dresden Medical School, included 470 people, half who either lacked or had a reduced sense of smell and the other half who had no difficulty smelling. The volunteers underwent testing of their sense of smell and completed a questionnaire about the importance of the sense of smell.
The study found that those with reduced or no olfactory function rated the importance of the sense much lower than those who had no problem with it. The research also noted that these subjects reported fewer olfactory-triggered emotions and memories, which seems reasonable because patients with this condition experience fewer olfactory triggers. They also used their sense of smell less when it came to relying on it for decision making. The study is in the journal Archives of Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery.