Maureen's story

How smell training offers hope

Sharing my smell training tips

Maureen has had hyposmia since early 2020. She found AbScent after no luck gaining patient information from her medical specialists and began smell training shortly afterwards. Here she shares her tips on how best to smell train.

I first noticed I was unable to taste salt like I used to just before Covid-19 became prominent in St Louis, where I live, in early February 2020. I had just recovered from a nasty virus although at the time my doctor did not think I had Covid. Medical professionals who I saw attributed my smell loss to older age.

I was lucky in finding Chrissi and AbScent soon after. I read everything I could and soon saw that viruses can cause smell loss. So I began smell training, starting with the Original Smell Training kit. Having this option really did offer hope that my condition could improve.

AbScent advise that you need to smell train twice a day and I can honestly say that I have not missed my schedule since I started. I also track intensity trends on a spreadsheet. I had an enormous improvement within about three weeks of beginning smell training so I thought I was on my way to total healing. However, this intensity of taste and smell did drop off so I have moved onto the other smell training kits from the AbScent shop - I am currently using the Sarah Collection.

Below are some techniques I use to maximise my training:

  • Look on the internet for pictures that evoke memories of the scents. 
  • Read descriptions of the scents that have resonated with you and add this description above each scent. 
  • Print out the scent’s image and laminate it  (two scents on a side) - this keeps them easily available for smell training.
  • Keep this list close by in your daily tasks so that it makes it easy for you to remember to carry out your smell training. Make it as easy as possible so that you get into the habit of smell training.
  • Become accustomed to what you do in a session - I no longer need a timer as I figured out that doing 5 bunny sniffs, 5 times for each scent, worked perfectly. It is just so easy.

I am very lucky that my husband is sympathetic and I am grateful that I have some of my taste. I am luckier than those who have none or those with parosmia; but there’s no way to sugarcoat it, living with hyposmia is awful. 

I haven’t told many people about my condition as I don’t want to put a downer on get-togethers. Obviously Covid has impacted on social activities but when things get better, I don’t plan on spoiling the atmosphere by sharing my symptoms when people are enjoying their meals.

AbScent talk about fluctuations in what we can smell. I have definitely had these peaks and troughs in my ability to smell and taste so I’m really glad that I track trends in my training - this helps me think I still have the capacity to get better. I also think I had a couple of periods of parosmia recently - I know this can be a positive sign of recovery so I hope this happens again.

We hear stories within the AbScent Facebook Groups that even those experiencing a long period of smell loss get better. And we learn that nerves take a long time to heal. So maybe smell training helps preserve what we have?

I fully support AbScent as the charity are our hope for whatever level of recovery we can achieve.