Smell and taste disorders have been shown to have a major impact on the quality of life of those affected.   Our sense of smell plays a huge role in our memory, mood and emotion, and forms a major part of many of life’s pleasurable experiences.

Imagine a country walk through flower-filled meadows and leafy woods without being able to savour the smells at any point along the way.  Imagine the seaside without the smell of the sea.  Imagine being in bed with your partner and not being able to recognise them by the smell of their skin and hair.  Or imagine not being able to appreciate any of the tastes and flavours in your favourite meal.

To lose the sense of smell is to lose a rich, powerful and emotional way of experiencing the world, something that is very difficult to understand without personal experience of it.  The huge role that the sense plays in our lives often only becomes apparent to people, unfortunately, when they lose it.

Fifth Sense commenced an ongoing survey of its members in October 2013 to establish the impact of such conditions on their quality of life.  A research paper based on the first 496 responses was published in the Chemical Senses journal in September 2014.  The figures below are taken from the findings.

92% of respondents said that their appreciation of food and drink had been reduced

57% say they feel alone and isolated

43% have suffered from depression

54% have experienced difficulties in their relationship with partners, families and/or friends

85% are afraid of being exposed to dangers such as gas or spoiled food

Support – The Fifth Sense Community

Fifth Sense is a membership organisation, with membership open to anyone who suffers from a smell or taste disorder, or to parents of children with such a condition.

Fifth Sense has created a community where our members can find support and understanding through sharing experiences, and gain information and advice through the partnerships Fifth Sense is developing with clinicians, researchers, and others whose work is based around the senses of smell and taste.

To join us, please email us at

Who We Are

Fifth Sense was established in 2012 by Duncan Boak, who lost his sense of smell as the result of a severe head injury in 2005.  Fifth Sense has grown rapidly since then and is now the first charity supporting smell and taste disorder sufferers, providing a signpost to potential diagnosis and treatment, and playing a leading role in educating society on the huge role that the sense of smell plays in our lives.

Fifth Sense is not yet a registered charity but we plan to apply to the Charities Commission for registered status in 2015.  We are recognised as a charity for tax purposes by HMRC, our HMRC Charities Reference Number is EW14336.

What can you do?

If you suffer from anosmia or any other smell/taste-related disorder and, like many of us, have received no useful information from your doctor, or have been told that nothing can be done, then please contact Fifth Sense using the email address below to find out about what options there are for gaining expert medical advice within the UK.

Fifth Sense Mission Statement

Provide support and advice to smell and taste-related disorder sufferers and act as a signpost to potential diagnosis and treatment

Raise awareness of smell and taste-related disorders, and the impact they can have on people with these conditions

Raise awareness of the role that the sense of smell plays in our lives, and play a leading role in educating society on the role and function of the senses of smell and taste

Promote, support and facilitate research into smell and taste-related disorders and into furthering understanding of the senses of smell and taste

Engage with relevant government and health organisations to improve services for smell and taste disorder sufferers

Contact Us