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

An Overview of Anosmia due to inability to smell

A strange word for a sense taken for granted by many. The complete loss of smell is called anosmia and it may be temporary or permanent. There is also a condition where loss of smell may only be partial meaning you can smell but not quite called hyposmia.

There may be not much of a complaint for partial inability to smell but a total loss of smell is a matter to be really concerned with since it may put you in a very precarious situation. Making a mountain out of a mound?

You are alone at home having anosmia for a couple of days and the gas tank is leaking in the kitchen. Or, you are so hungry, you’d try anything out of the fridge and the salsa you picked had been sour for a day already.


Sense of Smell

Like the other senses, smelling is triggered by a process. A molecule from a hot soup enters your nose and excites the olfactory nerves that transmits a signal to the brain where the specific smell is identified.

Any disruption in the process may cause one to lose the ability to smell, be it partial or complete and may either be temporary or permanent. The loss of smell, in consequence, affects the sense of taste.

Without smelling, tasting is watered down or limited to a few flavors which, in turn, nips on the quality of your life.



Several factors cause the disruption of the process of smelling, but the most common ones are allergy, nasal congestion due to colds, or just plain poor air quality; forest fires and smog included. However, the list of causes may be longer than you think:

  • medications for Alzheimer’s’ or Parkinson’s diseases, hormone imbalance;
  • old age;
  • polyps inside the nose;
  • head trauma;
  • chemical exposure;
  • medicines such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, or antidepressants;
  • radiation for head or neck cancer.



There is just one and palpable sign in the inability to smell and that is the absence of smell. You begin to doubt that you may have anosmia when certain familiar things to you suddenly smell nothing.

Better yet, Pierre Cardin should have an effect on you; if not, then it is on you, indeed.



Once you know you do have anosmia, know how it came to be is the next step. Starting from the bottom of the stairs, if anosmia is caused by nasal congestion due to cold or simple allergy, no fuss is needed but decongestants.

Other than the first two causes of anosmia, or you have had the lack of smell for a week or two, a necessary visit to a health care professional must be done. It may be infection or polyp growth.

Did you find the information useful? If so, continue reading our posts.


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