Imagine for the moment that you have no sense of smell. At first, you might consider it a minor annoyance. You wouldn’t be able to smell a flower garden or the bouquet of your favorite pinot noir. But losing your sense of smell isn’t just a quality of life problem. Having an impaired sense of smell can be dangerous. How would you smell a gas leak or a house fire? How would you know if the milk you were about to pour on your cereal was sour?
Snell loss has even more profound implications. Your sense of smell is closely linked to your sense of taste. If you can’t smell your food, you can’t enjoy it or even identify it with any certainty. In fact, smell and taste disorders always go hand-in-hand. For those who have a smell/taste disorder, including nearly two million Americans, the world becomes a less joyful and far more dangerous place.
Manynof us have experienced the temporary smell loss due to nasal obstruction from a cold, flu, or allergies. Permanent loss of smell, however, usually comes from some kind of physical obstruction, trauma, or tumor. These causes can include a nasal polyp or scar tissue, a trauma that damages nerves involved in smelling, or rarely a brain tumor. Smoking can also permanently damage your sense of smell, and normal aging can also be a factor. Just as your ability to see and hear well decreases with age, so can your sense of smell.
If you’re experiencing an altered or diminished sense of smell or a complete loss of sense of smell, your first step should be to call an otolaryngologist like Dr. Yagoda, who specializes in the care of the ear, nose, and throat. With her skills as both a facial plastic surgeon and an otolaryngologist, Dr. Yagoda will provide you with the the proper diagnosis and the most outstanding care.