If you’re experiencing the loss of smell and taste, don’t panic! These may be some of the symptoms of COVID 19, but not all cases are a result of it.
The Process of Smelling and Tasting
Our sense of smell and taste belong to the same chemical sensing system – our chemosensation.
The process of smelling and tasting begins when the molecules released from the things we’re smelling and/or tasting stimulate the special nerve cells found in our nose, mouth, and throat. These special cells transmit messages to the brain where specific smells and/or tastes are identified.
Losing the Sense of Smell and Taste
Why we lose our sense of smell and/or taste depends on several factors and causes.
The most common cause is aging. Our sense of smell peaks at the ages between 30 and 60. After that, it starts to fade.
Another possible cause is smoking. Tobacco smoking impairs our ability to identify odors and distinguish certain tastes. Smokers who quit this habit find themselves having an improved sense of smell and taste.
Other causes of the fading smell and taste include upper respiratory infections, head injury, dental problems, hormonal disturbances, and prolonged exposure to certain chemicals.
How Specialists Test These Senses
If you’re experiencing a loss or fading senses of smell and taste, seeing a specialist is the best way to go.
Our specialists at Greater Knoxville ENT will do a thorough physical check and some tests to identify the underlying cause of it.
Generally, we test the patient’s sense of smell and/or taste by using the lowest concentration of a chemical the person recognizes (through smell and/or taste). He/she may also be asked to compare the intensity of the smell and/or taste. These tests will help us determine if there is definitely a loss of these senses and the severity of it.
From there and other tests we may suggest, we identify the underlying cause and recommend suitable treatment options.
Life can be so bland (no pun intended!) without our sense of smell and/or taste. For appointment requests, you may call us at (865) 244-4396.