Next steps

There is help

How can smell loss be treated?

If you've lost your sense of smell, see your doctor.

Short-term changes in your sense of smell are common after a cold or sinus infection, but if your symptoms persist or if you’re at all worried about long-term changes in your sense of smell, you should seek medical advice.

In some cases, changes in your sense of smell can be a warning sign of a more serious condition, so it is always best to get medical attention to either rule out that possibility or take early action.

To help you have the most effective conversations with your doctor, download this Talking to my doctor ​​​​​​document to take with you to your appointment.

How is smell loss diagnosed?

Your doctor may refer you to a specialist to try and determine the origin of your smell loss. An ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist ​​​​​could perform an endoscopic exam which uses a tiny camera to look at the inside of your nose. A neurologist might delve into other symptoms you have experienced to investigate more serious brain problems. 

Your doctor may also carry out other tests including:

  • Checking the lowest strength of a smell that you can detect
  • Asking you to compare different smells
  • Observing your olfactory anatomy using an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

Improving your quality of life

Smell loss can be disorienting and depressing. Healing from smell loss involves grieving the loss and adjusting to the "new normal." Keeping the nose and brain exposed to smells through smell training is very important, but learning new habits of eating and enjoying life are also vital. Connecting with others who are already on this journey provides support and will give you new ideas for how to live life fully with a smell disorder.

Smell training

Smell training is a supportive technique developed to help those recovering from post-viral and head trauma-induced smell loss. Smell training involves twice daily sniffing of four essential oils to help the damaged olfactory nerve repair itself. Smell training has been shown to help people improve their sense of smell in over 14 peer-reviewed studies published since 2009.