Smell and taste diagnostics

Only when the sense of smell no longer functions does the personal restriction of the associated quality of life become apparent. Many patients have become aware of this in a very unpleasant way during the coronavirus pandemic. The sense of smell is important for us to warn us of danger, but it is also very important for interpersonal communication and food intake.

When we inhale through the nose, tiny molecules are transported to the olfactory mucosa at the roof of the sinuses. If the sense of smell is fully functional, more than 10,000 can be distinguished from one another.

The sense of smell decreases with age from the age of 40. Regardless of age, viral diseases (Covid-19 infections), polyps, inflammatory diseases of the nose, Alzheimer’s disease, brain tumors or even skull base injuries can cause a reduced sense of smell. The extent of the olfactory impairment can be measured using a side-by-side odor test with defined olfactory substances.

The sense of taste is distinguished from the sense of smell. The taste substances salty, sour, bitter or sweet are perceived on the tongue. Even if the sense of smell is lost, these taste substances can still be perceived. The sense of taste is tested by applying taste substances to the tongue.

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