January 08, 2022

Smell Loss or Smell Distortions - Why and What Exactly Happens?

Animation goes over why and what exactly happens when the sense of smell changes, whether complete loss occurs (anosmia) versus phantom smells (phantosmia) or distorted smells (parosmia). Collective, these smell orders can be classified as types of dysosmia.

The smell sense is due to about 400 different olfactory receptors. Quite a bit more than the 3 photoreceptors used in vision. A given smell perception is due to a specific combination of activated olfactory receptors just like how a particular color perception is due to a specific combination of activated red, blue, and green photoreceptors.

Damage to the olfactory receptors results in dysosmia. The TYPE of damage results in anosmia, parosmia, or phantosmia.

Smell therapy instructions can be found here.

Other treatment for smell or taste loss or distortions can be found here.

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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