Hidden consequences of olfactory dysfunction: a patient report series

BMC Ear Nose Throat Disord. 2013 Jul 23;13(1):8. doi: 10.1186/1472-6815-13-8.


Background: The negative consequences of olfactory dysfunction for the quality of life are not widely appreciated and the condition is therefore often ignored or trivialized.

Methods: 1,000 patients with olfactory dysfunction participated in an online study by submitting accounts of their subjective experiences of how they have been affected by their condition. In addition, they were given the chance to answer 43 specific questions about the consequences of their olfactory dysfunction.

Results: Although there are less practical problems associated with impaired or distorted odor perception than with impairments in visual or auditory perception, many affected individuals report experiencing olfactory dysfunction as a debilitating condition. Smell loss-induced social isolation and smell loss-induced anhedonia can severely affect quality of life.

Conclusions: Olfactory dysfunction is a serious condition for those affected by it and it deserves more attention from doctors who treat affected patients as well as from scientist who research treatment options.