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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Loss of taste and smell

11/03/2009

Question:

I have just about loss all taste and smell and need to know if you can help me.

Answer:

That would depend upon what caused the loss, and whether it is truly a loss of smell (more common) or loss of taste.  Taste buds respond only to salt, sour, sweet, and bitter, but when we eat, the odors of food help to characterize its flavor.  When a loss of smell is due to underlying sinus or nasal inflammation, this can be treated.  When the loss is due to other causes, a form of treatment may not be available, but based upon the degree of loss and the cause, we can provide information regarding the possibility of recovery.

I suggest you consult an ENT physician, perhaps one with an expertise in taste and smell problems.

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Response by:

Allen M Seiden, MD Allen M Seiden, MD
Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Division of Rhinology and Sinus Disorders, Director of University Taste and Smell Center, Director of University Sinus and Allergy
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati