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Loss of Smell and Taste

Enjoy food and stay safe!


Smelling is critical and important to our daily lives. The sense of smell can alert us to the smoke of a fire or the odor of a natural gas leak. It also detects rotten and spoiled food. Approximately 80% of our taste is related to smell. Remember the smell and the taste of your mother’s cooking? Taste and smell unlock some of our deepest memories. They are critical to our perception of the outside world. Smell loss can be partial (hyposmia) or complete (anosmia). Partial smell loss, or hyposmia, is if your sense of smell is decreased but you can still smell some things. Complete smell loss, or anosmia, is if you can no longer smell anything. 


Loss of smell can result from a blockage of the nose or from damage to the smell nerves. Swelling of the nasal lining from the viruses, allergies, sinus problems, and nasal polyps can all affect smell. Patients with a septal deviation and turbinate hypertrophy can also have reduced smell. The loss of smell may be caused by tumors in the nose and radiation therapy to the nose. Loss of smell can indicate other health problems including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and malnutrition. It can be a sign of neurological diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and multiple sclerosis.

Recently the loss of sense of smell without any other symptoms has been reported as a sign of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19. The American Academy of Otolaryngology has posted increasing evidence to show that loss of smell or taste is an important symptom of patients who test positive for COVID-19 without any other symptoms. We are currently conducting trials researching the connection between smell loss and COVID-19. We are also leading the way in the latest treatments for loss of sense of smell.


Treatment for smell loss depends on the cause. If a patient’s loss of smell is caused by allergies or other cause of inflammation, antihistamines or steroids may be recommended. These medications decrease nasal inflammation. Surgery may be suggested if patients have a deviated septum, nasal polyps or other surgically treatable disorders. Some patients report improvements after both medical and surgical treatments.


Patients who suffer from loss of smell or taste are encouraged to seek medical attention. It is best to be seen as soon as possible to determine the cause of the loss. While certain smell losses are permanent, others can be treated medically or surgically. Some of these treatments are more effective if started soon after the onset of loss. 

Schedule your visit or telemedicine virtual visit today with smell specialist Dr. Wayne Hsueh. You can get a consultation from the comfort of your own home. Call (973) 973-2548 or email Dr. Wayne Hsueh (

Loss of Smell and Taste: Service
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