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In the news

28 Mar 2021: The Independent

28 Mar 2021: The Sunday Times

28 Mar 2021: The Sunday Telegraph

26 Mar 2021: The New York Times

04 Feb 2021: Los Angeles Times

02 Feb 2021: The Australian


The facts about smell

Smell loss is a condition that is estimated to affect five percent of the population - approximately 3.3m people in the UK.

Smell disorders can be caused by illness, head injury, with sinus disease, as a result of chemotherapy/radiation during cancer treatment, as a side effect of medications, or without obvious cause. Those born without a sense of smell are called congenital anosmics. 

There are very few medical treatments for smell disorders, and they don’t work for most people. This is why we need more research into smell disorders.

One therapy demonstrated to support recovery is Smell Training; mindfully sniffing four or more fragrances twice a day. Smell Training is recommended by the British Rhinological Society and effectiveness has been shown in more than a dozen peer-reviewed studies.

We have seen an increase in the number of people living with smell disorders in the UK due to the Coronavirus pandemic; smell loss is one of the recognised symptoms. Most people with Covid-19 recover their smell within a few weeks, but some are living with smell disorders months after infection.

AbScent offers informationsupport and practical advice for people living with smell disorders.


About AbScent

AbScent is a UK registered charity supporting people who are experiencing the distressing effects of smell loss. 

We're working towards a world where smell loss is recognised by the general population as a challenging condition, where patients are fully supported by the medical community and their care circles, and where healing strategies are explored, funded and made available to the world-wide population. 

Our Trustees are Founder Chrissi Kelly, Miriam Block, ENT Simon Gane and Dr Jane K Parker. We are supported by an advisory board and a small team of staff. 

All information and support is evidence-based, and we work closely with scientists and clinicians to provide the latest information and resources. Our active participation in research projects keeps the patient experience at the heart of research.


More about smell disorders

Smell loss is a condition that is estimated to affect five percent of the population, which in the UK represents approximately 3.3m people. 

The number of affected increases in older populations. 

The effects of smell loss can be complex and lead to loss in the patient’s quality of life. 

Terminology that may be helpful:

  • anosmia - a complete lack of smell 

  • parosmia - a distortion of smells 

  • phantosmia - phantom smells 

  • hyposmia - reduced smell 

Smell disorders may occur: 

  • after an upper respiratory illness 
  • after a blow to the head 
  • in conjunction with sinus disease 
  • as a result of chemotherapy/radiation during cancer treatment 
  • as a side-effect from certain medications 
  • without obvious cause, which is called idiopathic 

Smell and taste can also diminish as people age. Smell loss can serve as an early indicator of some neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. 

Smell disorders can affect people in different ways. Common consequences of smell disorders are: 

  • Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure) with resulting depression 
  • Anxiety over safety issues (such as smoke or rotten food going unnoticed) and hygiene 
  • Loss of intimacy with close family members, and diminished social ties 
  • An altered relationship with food that may lead to weight changes