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26/01/2017

When a patient thinks they can't smell anything when they really can...

By Chris Kelly, Founder, AbScent

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Why it is that a patient can feel they have absolutely no sense of smell, when in reality there is a glimmer of hope?

A man contacted me not too long ago for a guided smell training appointment. He told me he could neither smell nor taste and that this had made his life unbearable. After checking how he lost his sense of smell—a virus—we agreed he would come to me for a two-hour smell training session.

Before a course, I ask patients to fill out a self-assessment form. This is a list of items that might be found at home, with some extra additions for different environments like the country and urban areas. The idea of the self-assessment is to make a judgment on whether any smell at all can be experienced, and whether or not that smell is distorted. What I quickly realised is that this smell assessment did not just serve as a way to fix in time just where recovery was, but also encourage a smell exploration at the same time. Many people seem to acknowledge their smell loss, switch off from smell, and turn away from the experience of smell completely. 

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