Support for Young People
When children under 16, and young people between 16-24 years old, report not being able to smell, it is often, but not exclusively, congenital i.e. they are born without the ability to smell.
Congential anosmia is rare – only about 2% of all people without the ability to smell are born this way. When this is the case, they most often have no olfactory bulb or have damaged olfactory systems that cannot easily be repaired. They may appear to identify as being born without the ability to smell but may also have been affected by a head trauma or virus that occurred before they were old enough to be able to recognise what smell is as a sense.
The way to establish the cause of smell loss where there is no memory of ever having been able to smell is by referral to an ENT specialist by the GP or family doctor.
It isn’t uncommon for children to fail to recognise that they lack the ability to smell until they are about 7 years old. This may in part be due to the tendency for parents to be taking all responsibility for identifying risks and dangers that decrease as children get older and start doing things independently.
For example, this awareness may only become obvious as a child starts to cook for themselves but can’t smell it burning. Some young people can often feel embarrassed when speaking about their smell disorder and often pretend they can smell in order to avoid feeling excluded – such as joining in with the jokes when somebody breaks wind or going along with the wincing when a friend comes out of the bathroom. If you a parent or carer and would like further information and support, please contact us email@example.com
For older children and young adults, not being able to smell themselves after a workout in the gym or when trying on perfumes and aftershaves, can cause anxiety and make them feel isolated.
And of course, children can lose their sense of smell just like anyone else. A virus, such as the common cold or Covid-19, can cause smell loss as can a head injury or allergy. Finding ways to support them is a big part of the work we do. We are working with a number of young people to continually develop resources and information designed to help them to live with a smell or taste disorder as they grow up, leave home and beyond.
If you are interested in working with us to develop resources and support for children, young people and their families, please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re a young adult and would like further information and support, please contact us email@example.com