How important is your sense of smell? It is probably the most underestimated sense and is frequently taken for granted. It is only when this sense is lost or reduced that we realize how much we rely upon it. As a loss of sense of smell is not obvious to others around the sufferer, the lack of empathy towards its impact on an individual can be frustrating.
A loss of the sense of smell is known as anosmia. A partial loss of smell is known as hyposmia.
The smell of the countryside, the sea-air & the aromas of food can all provide positive sensory stimulation that contribute to our quality of life. Smell is also linked with memory pathways and a loss of these associations can be upsetting. Depression and anxiety symptoms are common in patients with anosmia.
The sense of smell also has an important practical function. There is the ability to detect the foul odour of expired food, recognition of body odour & detecting smoke or gas. In this way, a loss of sense of smell can have serious health consequences.