• Make a Donation
  • Join Fifth Sense
  • Proud to be the British Society of Perfumers 2022 Charity of the Year
  • info@fifthsense.org.uk
  • en English
Smell & Taste

The Impact of Smell and Taste Disorders

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