Patient adjustment to reduced olfactory function

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011 Apr;137(4):377-82. doi: 10.1001/archoto.2011.32.


Objective: To compare the importance of olfaction in daily life between patients with olfactory disorders and healthy normosmic individuals.

Design: Quasiexperimental.

Participants: A total of 470 individuals (235 anosmic or hyposmic patients and 235 normosmic control individuals).

Main outcome measures: The Individual Importance of Olfaction Questionnaire (IO) and olfactory testing using the "Sniffin' Sticks" test kit.

Results: The IO scores were lower in people with smell disorders compared with normosmic subjects (P < .001) and lower in patients with anosmia compared with hyposmic patients (P < .001).

Conclusions: These scores suggest adjustment processes in the daily use of the sense of smell by patients. Patients attach less importance to their current sense of smell in daily life than do normosmic individuals. This adjustment might be an example of regaining psychological health despite acquired and long-lasting impairments.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Olfaction Disorders / psychology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sensory Thresholds
  • Time Factors