Words: Charlie Leeves
Our sense of smell is quite simply the unsung hero of all the senses. Smells have that uncanny ability to conjure up long-lost memories from the darkest corners of our minds. Our sense of smell also helps in ways you wouldn’t have imagined. For example, did you know that 80% of flavour in food comes from how it smells? Or that a scent can even influence our dreams? You probably can’t imagine a life with no sense of smell, however it effects thousands of people in the UK and is known as anosmia.
What is anosmia?
Anosmia is the temporary or permanent loss of smell. We smell through trapping molecules in our nose and then the information from this is sent to the brain through certain sensors (to learn more about this check out our article on Olfaction). So, when these sensors are blocked, we lose our sense of smell. In extreme cases this could be due to something such as nerve damage, diabetes or a head injury. However, it can also be caused temporarily due by a blocked nose, a virus or allergies. The allergic reaction caused by hay fever, for example, causes the mucus membrane of the nose to become inflamed, reducing our ability to smell. Old age is also a cause of anosmia – just like how our hearing and eyesight worsens overtime, so does our sense of smell.
Losing you sense of smell can be upsetting and often isolating as you can miss out on experiences we take for granted every day such as smelling flowers or perfumes, however people with anosmia have found ways to live with the condition.
Living with anosmia
Losing your sense of smell can be a lot more serious than you'd originally think - aside from not being able to smell all our fabulous perfumes! Having anosmia would mean you wouldn't be able to tell if food is out of date, if something in your home was burning or if there was a gas leak in your house. In some cases anosmia will go away on its own, or with advice and treatment from a GP, however there are cases (such as being born with it) where you'd have to find other ways to experience smells and perfumes.
Choosing a perfume with anosmia
Choosing a perfume is something the majority of us would find an easy task (well, once you've whittled your choices down!). So, how do you choose a scent when you can't physically smell it? We'd recommend taking a friend or family member with you to help explain the scent to you. They could recommend what they think may suit you, which occasion it would best suit and so on. Getting someone you trust to help you pick out a new perfume will soon have you standing out in the crowd, enchanting everyone with your new scent!
Here are a few of our favourite perfumes for you to think about:
Our sense of smell often goes underappreciated, why not show your appreciation to your nose with a brand-new perfume?
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