Skip navigation
D. Losing One's Sense of Smell: The Cause and Effect

Narrator: This is Science Today. It's estimated that about 25 to 30 percent of Americans have a diminished sense of smell. Terence Davidson, an ear, nose and throat specialist at the University of California, San Diego says one of the most common causes is inflammatory nasal disease.

Davidson: People with ongoing allergic rhinitis have diminished smell. People with ongoing sinusitis have diminished smell. Some of those mild, some of those are moderate, some are severe, but it takes away the pleasure of food.

Narrator: Davidson says it may also lead to fluctuations in weight.

Davidson: When you've lost your sense of smell, food goes flat. Some people will end up eating more just hoping that the next bite will taste, other people, because it just tastes blah, stop eating.

Narrator: Since a loss of smell can also prevent detecting smoke or gas, Davidson recommends that anyone noticing a loss of smell should see a specialist. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.