ENT Head & Neck Surgery Center

Rm 02, 5/F., Kai Seng Commerical Centre,
4-6 Hankow Road, TST Kln, HK
(near Kowloon Hotel)
Tel: (852) 3100 0555
Fax: (852) 3100 0556

Lawrence Chow / ENT Doctor

Everything You Need to Know about Losing Your Sense of Smell

Among doctors, the loss of the sense of smell is called anosmia. This can be a temporary condition, when you’re suffering from a cold or allergies that irritate the lining of the nose. But a permanent loss of smell is also possible, especially when you suffer a serious medical condition that affects the nerves or the brain. Even old age can lead to loss of smell for some people.


Consequences of Anosmia

Losing your sense of smell may not seem all that serious, as in itself it’s not really a fatal condition. But the sense of smell is an important factor for your appetite. If you’re unable to smell, food may not seem as appetizing as before and you may no longer be as interested in eating as much as you should. This lack of appetite can lead to malnutrition.


It’s also possible that you can get depressed when you lose your sense of smell. Plenty of people comfort themselves with food when they feel bad, and you may feel depressed when you realize that food that were once your favorites are no longer as tasty as you remember them.


Several Potential Causes of the Loss of Smell

While the loss of smell can be attributed to several potential causes, here are the main possible reasons:

Irritation of the Nose Lining If the mucus membranes lining the nose have been irritated, a loss of smell is possible. Such an irritation can be caused by the common cold or by sinus infections, allergies, or the flu. Some chronic congestion not related to allergies can also be the cause, and this irritation can also happen if you’re a smoker. Most cases of temporary or partial loss of smell are usually due to colds. Once you’re over your cold, the problem tends to go away as well.


Physical Blockage of Nasal Passages

If something’s blocking the passage of air through your nose, then your sense of smell will certainly be affected. This blockage can be due to nasal polyps or to tumors. It may also be caused by bone deformities inside the nose.


Nerve or Brain Damage

Inside your nose, you have receptors that send sensory information through the nerves into your brain. If something goes wrong regarding this system, such as there’s something wrong with the nerves or with your brain, then you may lose your sense of smell. Many possible conditions can lead to this kind of damage. Potential suspects include brain tumors, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, schizophrenia, and stroke. It can be caused by long-term alcoholism, diabetes, or malnutrition. This kind of damage can be an accident caused by brain surgery, head injury, or as a side effect of certain medications.



The potential treatment of the loss of smell depends greatly on what caused it. It’s normal to lose your sense of smell when your nose is stuffed when you have a cold or allergies. But once you’re over your colds and you still can’t smell anything, then you should consult your ENT doctor. Since ENT problem is quite different from case to case, it is suggested to consult an ENT doctor for the appropriate ENT services.



HK ENT Specialist Ltd.

Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre

For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,

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