The sense of smell is crucial to our being able to relish food and experience our environment. Olfactory dysfunction has been trivialised or ignored previously, but the negative consequences of the loss of sense of smell are being increasingly highlighted. For this study, the authors reviewed the experiences of a thousand patients with olfactory dysfunction. The patients answered 43 questions on the consequences of their problem. Although the patients did not experience any practical problems such as those associated with visual or auditory impairments, they did report their olfactory dysfunction as a debilitating condition. Loss of smell induced social isolation and motivational anhedonia having a severe detrimental effect on the quality of life of these individuals. The authors conclude that although educating the patients, the public, and medical professionals about disorders of olfaction would improve the quality of life for affected patients by reducing their practical and social problems, research into an effective treatment alone will provide the best solution to consequences of olfactory dysfunction.

Hidden consequences of olfactory dysfunction – a patient report series.
Keller A, Malaspina D.
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Gauri Mankekar

Department of Otolaryngology-Head Neck Surgery, Louisiana State University Shreveport, Louisiana, USA.

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