Anosmia or Loss of Smell from Brain Injury

Question: 

My friend had a brain hemorrhage from a blow to the head 10 years ago and has completely lost his sense of smell. Apparently, the part of his brain that controls his sense of smell was permanently damaged.

Is it possible that even though the brain does not recognize or register any kind of smell, the effects of that smell still be experienced? For example, even though he can’t smell coffee or lavender, could he still get stimulating effects of the coffee aroma or the relaxation effects of the scent of lavender?

Answer: 

Smell loss following traumatic brain injury is often overlooked as doctors tend not bother to ask about or test for loss or change in smell — or taste for that matter. Many times, people with brain injury first report changes in taste when they lose or notice a change in their ability to smell. Typically, complete loss of smell — or what is called anosmia — will be quite noticeable to a person following a traumatic brain injury and may affect numerous aspects of their life. Unfortunately, there is no good treatment cure for post-traumatic anosmia. Typically, if a person doesn’t regain his ability to smell six months after the injury, the loss will likely be permanent.

Because of the complex mechanisms involved in olfaction — a person’s sense of smell — it’s difficult to determine the reason for the loss. Problems with smell loss can result from craniofacial trauma, specifically damage to nasal passage ways, shearing injury of the olfactory nerve, or injury to primary or secondary smell centers in the frontotemporal regions of the brain. There are also other non-traumatic causes for smell impairment including Alzheimer’s disease and smoking, to name just two. This is why it’s important for people with this type of problem to seek out appropriate evaluation by a doctor familiar with post-traumatic smell loss.

If your friend is truly anosmic, that is, he has totally lost his sense of smell, then he would probably not recognize or register any kind of smell since the olfactory nerve is responsible for scent recognition. Therefore, your friend would not benefit from smelling any substance. That said, we don’t have a lot of research on this. Some people have anecdotally described “blind smell” similar to blind sight (a phenomenon in which people who are perceptually blind in a certain area of their visual field demonstrate some response to visual stimuli), and it wouldn’t hurt for your friend to try and experiment with smells.

 

Posted on BrainLine September 20, 2010. Reviewed July 25, 2018.

Comments (257)

I've suffered 3 rear-end collisions in the last 5 years, due to drivers texting or talking on their cell phones. My sense of smell was affected by all three accidents. After the second accident, I couldn't smell very well, only smells that are very strong. After each accident, I smell things that are not present; burnt taco shell smell after first accident and a musky smell after the third accident, especially when I am stressed. Doctors would merely shrug their shoulders when I complained about my inability to smell after the accidents. The insurance company with whom I'm trying to settle has humiliated me; opposing counsel's attorney insinuates that I am not injured (her client was traveling 55 mph when they hit me). I'm 56 years old and never filed an insurance claim for an injury, before the first rear-end accident when I was 50--if I was some low-life, trying to collect insurance money, I think I would have started this practice years ago. I truly feel sad for folks who suffer with the debilitating affects of an inability to smell and to constantly smell something that isn't present.

I lost my sense of smell when I was 16 (hit by car) 28 years ago. it can be frustrating but as in my case it has never returned and it will not now. You do get used to it over time, the worse part eventually is friends and family asking you to smell things, forgetting you can't. It seriously impairs your taste and you find yourself giving compliments on the food your eating (even though it tastes bland) I will say I saw some healers on TV once, healing people with the same condition and claimed to bring it back! I say it's best to just accept it.

I lost my smell 31 years ago after falling off of a horse.The back left side of my head hit the ground and I ended up in the hospital for 8 days. The doctors do not seem to believe me that I can taste but not smell. It has been very frustrating because I consider smell as important as sight . I fear fire a lot and have had nightmares of the house being on fire because of it.

There seems to be some hope. I can smell coffee from time to time, and I smell the cat poop for the first time since age 15. Other than that I have had to do without for some time  Hopefully the medical field will give us more attention.

I had lost my sense of smell from a skull fracture when I was 5.  Two years ago (when I was 42) I was swooped by a nesting bird and it hit me behind my right ear and it really hurt.  It was only when I started mowing the lawn that afternoon that I realised I could smell the cut grass!  It has been nice to smell things that remind me of my childhood as it had been a really long time.  Kim B, Townsville,  Australia

8 years ago I had a head injury which resulted in the loss of smell, occasionally I do sense rather that smell strong odours such as burning or acrid smells.  I am sad that it now appears the loss is permanent I do miss the perfumes in my garden I still wear scent which previously gave me great pleasure. But have become resigned to the loss.

yes i lost my smell august of 2014 and I smell a phantom smell but it smells like burning or something burnt when it does happen

I had a fluke fainting episode in November of 2013. I feel backwards and struck the back of my head on the tile floor. I woke up not knowing what had happened and was in severe pain. I went in the next day to the ER and found out I had suffered a skull fracture and concussion. No bleeding or hemorrhage was found but I was in severe pain for weeks. I remember the first day I was able to think clearly that I not only could not taste anything but also that I could not smell anything. I started researching it immediately realizing it had to be due to my head injury. Doctors that I ask have no idea and almost seem perplexed when I ask about it and if it will come back. They almost act as though it's very rare and never heard of it. It's been 2 years and a month ( to the day) and I can taste mildly but have zero sense of smell. It is so frustrating. I used to love smelling everything from my perfume to lavender, fires at the cabin, fresh rain, baking cookies, my girls hair, my husband, everything that I loved to smell! It's very sad but I also can feel very thankful that I have my memory, health,mobility and life. That is a lot to be grateful for and I am still hopeful for my sense of smell to heal and return.

I am so sorry for those of us that have lost our sense of smell. The only thing that my neurologist can tell me is that when my head impacted the asphalt, the thousands of nerves between my brain and nasal passage have been severed. This part of the brain will not heal, from what I am told. It has been a month and the irritability and short tempered attitude are beginning to reveal themselves. The depression is starting to kick in. I miss the smell of my wife's perfume, hair and several things throughout my life. All I sense is this constant phantom smell of an unfamiliar odor. Never had smelled this before, so not sure what it is, it's very hard to describe other than 'organic fleshy'. Anyone else?

i wrote on this blog a few months back & had a very small sense of recovery. i injured myself in the summer of 2014 due to a golf cart accident. I instantly lost my sense of smell and could not smell anything at all. Not even garlic. It was been over a year ( which doctors say after a year you have no hope) but.... the other day i smelled vanilla. today I put Irish cream coffee creamer in my coffee and i smelled it. And two days ago i was able to taste sourdough bread. I am just writing to let you all know that recovery is still possible after a year. I did entirely was to much reading about anosmia. The brain cells do regenrate. We just have to be patient. i dont know if any of the fallowing we actually a part of why i am improving, but ill going to share anyway incase it is.... if you want to try....

i take zinc whenever i can

i take vitamin b12 when i can

and when i work out, my senses are stronger.

To the journeyman iron worker, I lost my sense of smell in 2000 at the age of 17. I developed a terrible temper, I was impulsive, and I had to work hard to reprogram myself. I honestly woke up from a coma a completely different person. It has been just over 15 years and many people I know have never seen me angry, to the point of being made fun of at work because I never get mad. Keep your head up, I am a metal fabricator and when you feel your leg getting warm it means you're on fire! Having no sense of smell sucks, but on the other hand, I am still breathing, that's alot to say after falling out of a pickup truck!

This July I had an accident while longboarding with my boyfriend. I don't remember anything of that day before waking up in the hospital. I suffered a coup contra coup, essentially my brain pinballing against the inside of my skull when my head struck the pavement. They had me in the stroke ward for ten days. I realized about five days in I couldn't smell anything, but could still taste. After a two or so months, I would catch some scents,and joke that my nose is operating at 20% or such. Then I started getting phantom smells, not pleasant, but vaguely rotting and chemical. They've gotten worse in the past month or so, to the point where I'm unable to eat, as its effecting my taste now too. I'm almost wishing I had just stayed at smelling nothing. I've been told that this is perhaps my smell returning to normal as my brain heals, and I hope that's the case. It comes and goes, but seems to come more and more often. I'm terrified I'll end up in the hospital again.

Hi,I’m suffering same situation happen to you. I wonder what happens now? Have you gotten your sense of smell? And how long it takes?
Would you like to share more after that then?

Thank you
Chrystine

I feel your pain guy. I stepped out of a car going 45+ mph and woke up in a ditch for a whole thirty second with my short term memory just shot. No idea how I got there but I knew it was bad and I was fucked up despite feeling no pain. Couple days under an induced coma. Cracked jaw skull and a lil road rash. Subdural hemotoma and bruised brain. Taste buds and smell were gone but toast came back. It's dull but smell is different and usually not there. At first I smelled nothing but phantom smells on occasion. Like some kind of burning metal. Faint but annoying. Pretty sure it might have just been in my head, a phantom smell. After a year I started picking up a few smells but sometimes distorted. All chemical things like aerosols, body spray, household cleaners all had the same smell. Just kinda like some chemical all the same. Then I smelled coffee after year and a half it blew my mind lol. I started kinda forcing it a little bit and more things come but it's threes years later now and I can kinda smell but it's so weak I rarely do.

I was in a bad car wreck dec 2012, fractured my skull on the mid to right back side of my skull. I was in a coma and life support for two days. I didn't realize I lost my smell til I was at my drs office days out of the hospital and he asked me if I could smell. I could smell nothing but I can still taste, only a little dulled.

Every now and then I would have a smell "stuck in my nose" is the only way to put it. I would not know what, when or where I smelled whatever the smell was but it would be there for minutes, to hours. Sometimes it would be so strong that everything tasted like it. One time it smelled like a smoking firecracker was shoved up my nose, and grass freshly pulled up from the ground. They would go fewer and further between. Sometimes I think its my perfume I can smell because it is always the same smell and I walk through my sprays. I would try plugging my nose to try to stop it, but it really does nothing. 

This could happen every couple months but recently when it happens it is for a long time and becomes almost debilitating. I have sometimes been able to pin point the smells. For instance, this lady smokes cigarettes in the stairwell and I will pass her sometimes. Yesterday I could smell cigarettes and the longer the smell lasted the stronger it got. It smelled as though a campfire was burning in my nose at one point, an hour into the smell. Then it gradually turned back into a cigarette. I read that using nose spray helps "block" your sense of smell. I tried but it didn't really work that time (had previously). 

I think I may try to find a good specialist to see if there are any remedies when these situations arise. It looks like my sense it trying to work but is very very confused and generally only regaining bad smells. It is a curse and a blessing and different for everyone, at least were all alive!

I had a concussion after hitting our tile floor after passing out. I had loss of smell and taste. After approx. 9 months or so I went to a chiropractor on a unrelated reason (migraines) and got an adjustment for the first time in my life. I left and IMMEDIATELY was able to start smelling things again and my sense of taste also improved. While it's still not 100%, it has continually gotten better as I go to my chiropractor once a month. I'm not sure if these results are typical, but I certainly recommend it as something to try! It blew my mind when I left and smelled something for the first time in so long! Good luck!

It's been 7 years since my accident and I lost my sense of taste only for the first month after and I also lost my sense of smell and the doctor told me that if it doesn't come back after 6 months it will never be back but you know what I never lost hope and I proved them wrong 3 years after the accident I had my second child and at that time I smelt his dirty nappy and I said to myself if he has done something that means my smell is back...... I don't think I've ever been so happy to see that he had done something cause it meant just by having faith and hope that no doctor could ever tell me that you would never regain the sense of smell again.

I never thought diesel exhaust would smell so good. That is what it has come to for me. Now I treat eating like it's a job. The faster I eat the less depressed I feel. I've become more irritable than depressed. I'm glad someone else knows exactly how bad this affects someone. The doctors sure and the hell don't.

I can only smell very strong odors like diesel exhaust, my body spray, etc. But I only get a few seconds of smell. I can taste sweets, salts, and sour. Except for today, I am able to smell my body spray and my car air fresheners since this morning. Hopefully I won't loose it when I wake up. It's been 4 years since I lost my smell & taste and it's really depressing.

On September 19th 2015 I was assaulted I was hit from behind. As I fell my head hit a car bumper and then smacked the pavement. My brain was bleeding from two different parts and I was minutes from dieing two weeks later I saw a neurologist and I have been told it might take up to 1 year and half to two years for my smell and taste to come back if they don't come back by then they never will I am a 26 years male I wake up every morning dizzy head pounding no smell no taste. It really does suck I really hope someone can either find a cure for this or know how two fix this I really do miss smelling coffee the fresh air my girls perfume I miss tasting food now I don't know what analyzing taste like someone please try and help us

Had a TBI injury with prefrontal and left temporal hematomas as well as inner crannial bleeding. Noticed my total loss of smell while at rehab at Craig hospital. Was told that with my injuries that it was likely that the nerves to brain were sheared off. It has been 20 months since the injury and I notice the loss daily. However it was not until today when somebody was talking about the memories of the smell of beer at an A.A. meeting I was at today that I realized that I can not even pull up the memory of a smell. Is this unusual?

My mom suffered a TBI and cannot smell and barely can taste. I remembered that there is a chiropractor in our town who specializes in Subluxation Therapy. He has helped two of my friends who were victims of whiplash, so I was wondering if any of you have tried this before and what the results were.

I lost my sense of smell (and 80% of my taste) 9 days ago after a minor concussion. I’ve hit the back of my head pretty hard on a concrete floor. I’m keeping hope that this is only temporary. Otherwise, I’m feeling fine. I'm interested to hear what other people with the same injury and consequence and the recovery they had. Thanks for sharing. 

My husband lost his sense od smell and taste after a head injury 2 years ago. But last week he said he has a constant bad taste in his mouth. Metallic. Does this mean it might be improving?

I lost my sense of smell in 1999 after a head injury. Can tell spicy, salty, sweet, sour but nothing else. It sucks. I believe there is a way to fix it. I not willing to accept it cannot be reversed.

While walking across the street I was hit by a car in 1995 and suffered a minor brain injury and a minor skull fracture. Immediately, though, I realize that something was wrong with my smell and taste sensations. A couple of days after the wreck, when I was out of the hospital, I bit into an apple and the taste was like I had bitten into gasoline. I recovered from all the injuries, and in the 20 years since I seem to have some measurable sense of taste, but for 20 years I've smelled nothing. I don't dwell on it, but I do miss what others mention: the smell of grass, the smell of my children, my own smell, the smell of my wife's perfume. On very rare occasions - once while walking down the street - I had a sudden tremendous smell of perfume, but it dissipated in seconds and when I tried to smell something purposefully, there was no sensation. Trying to explain what my taste level is is awkward. The best example I've come up with to answer people is to ask them "Tell me what green is". Think about it. Green is varying, from deep to bright, from yellowish to bluish. It's hard to put green into words. That's the way it is with how I can taste something; I taste pizza but do I taste it on a 10% level of how I did 25 years ago? I can't say. how much of my tasting skills have I retained? I don't know. I've grown accustomed to not being able to smell, and I tried to think it hasn't changed me. But perhaps it has changed how I interact, or perhaps I have underlying anger over it. It's just hard to say. But I could have died in the wreck, so I'm thankful. I came out of it with only a few scars to brag about, and the loss of one sense. I could easily have died at age 33 in that wreck. I didn't, and the sense of smell is a minor sacrifice when considered in those terms.

Sept 2, 2010 I had an accident where I fractured my skull in 6 places and had a brain bleed. Since then I lost all sense of smell and can only taste things that are sweet or salty. I can only tell the difference between sweet and unsweet tea. Sometimes I think I can taste certain foods but I think it's just because I remember how they are supposed to taste and then it's gone. Buy I can stick my head in a bleach bottle and couldn't tell it from water.

I previously wrote on April 27th, 2015 about my fall on January 6th and how I lost my sense of smell and partial taste. I also had this noxious smell and taste appear. I wanted to let everyone know that it does get better. Though I still have a peculiar smell it keeps changing and is much milder. I do get a whiff of certain odors at times. But they come and go. I went to an ENT doctor who told me that my olfactory nerves are going haywire. I asked why I can smell my husband's cologne (sweet smell) but not a flower and he said "certain nerves smell certain things". He said some nerves might be stretched so it's possible some will come back. He also said that where I am a year from January is where I probably will remain. It has been 7 months so I still have hope that I will still see more improvement. I do miss the smell of fresh air and flowers but there are a lot of people out there suffering with much more serious afflictions. Be hopeful!!

I lost all sense of smell in March this year after suffering a fractured skull and bled to the brain . Although it doesn't affect my day to day life, I've really missed it .. I wasn't given any advice by the doctors as to whether it will ever return , as I don't think they know .. Certain foods taste strange now also .

I wish I can smell. My sense of smell left in late December early January. I was visiting my brother for the holidays, A terrible flu/cold was going around my nieces had severely bad colds which I caught. It's now the end of July, my sense of smell hasn't return as of yet..... Hoping/Praying it returns, I know God's timing. I miss the smell of food of course but Perfume, people natural scents, outdoors, bar bee que.... List go on & on....

I suffered a brain injury back in 99 lost my taste and smell, before my smell went completely away I could only smell a sweet blood scent. One year later my taste came back, but not like before. I need salt on my food to really be able to taste. As for my smell it's completely gone. Sometimes I can sense scents in the air by taste, but that rarely happens.

I fell on ice and had bleeding at the front and rear of my brain over 6 years ago. Concussion for sure with strong headache and nausea for a week.  Found out by accident a week later after headache gone that I couldn't smell most things - didn't realize it because my sense of taste was still present.  I can smell many things - savory cooking, coffee brewing, chemical smells, a skunk, however, they don't smell like they used to.  One strange thing, sometimes a certain smell will seem to linger, sometimes for days.  Currently, a musty smell I was exposed to for over an hour in a basement yesterday is still staying with me.  I know it's not present because my wife has a strong sense of smell.  I don't miss most poop odors - human and dog. I can also barely detect decomposition, as in a dead animal in the woods, etc. 

I fell out of a car and hit my head. Apparently, this caused bleeding at or near my olfactory nerve. Was given steroids. I had no sense of smell or taste, everything tasted the same..not good.. an M&M tasted just like, well... anything else. I tried eating the hottest chicken wings to see if it made any difference, no problem eating them. However, my stomach disagreed, I wound up vomiting... and it tasted the same. Sigh! Over the years I think I regained some taste back.... i prefer extreme spice.. hot or sweet, milder seasonings do nothing. On the brighter side... offensive odors don't bother me... I sure don't stink. (c;{ 

I lost my smell after head surgery, a few weeks ago, March 2015. I had a tumor removed from my meninges, very near to where the olfactory system is. My doctor said he hadn't touched the olfactory while operating, but I'm not so sure. I can't smell anything, not even the strong smells of coffee or ammonia. I miss smelling the scents of nature, like freshly mown grass, the salty sea, the trees and flowers, a summer breeze... it seems like I am walking inside a movie... What I do have is a constant sweet soapy/powdery smell and taste, which spoils even the faint basic tastes when I am eating something. I have this same taste/smell all day long and am growing sick of it... :((

I know I have to be grateful that the operation has only affected my sense of smell and not my hearing, touch or eyesight, and I am thankful. But I'm also very sad about not being able to smell anything.

I notice that people don't really understand the impact it has on my life... even my husband occasionally remarks "Why, you must be able to smell thís!" 

I hope and pray it will eventually be restored, although this might take months or even years... 

Hang in there, everyone! Glad to have found this post! <3

I lost my sense of smell 14 years ago after a head injury!! I struggle from time to time because of the fact I can't smell my kids and my pet and the fresh morning smell!! What is real concerning is that I can't smell toxic fumes at work and god forbid a fire when I'm home alone!! Live in a rural area right on a canyon !! I wish there is something I can do !!! Help !!

I came off my bike in January this year and was hospitalised for 2 weeks with a fractured skull, internal bleeding and bruising at the front of my brain. Aside from a few concentration issues and headaches, I have recovered really well - youth being on my side. Initially, I completely lost my smell and taste. Only after 8 weeks or so did I start to develop a constant sweet burning smell. I'm hoping it's the cells healing and signs my smell is returning. I find this constant smell sickening and I'm scared that I will be like this for the rest of my life. The response I seem to get is "you're lucky it wasn't your sight or hearing" which really isn't helpful! People don't understand the effect it has on you. I miss little comforts, like how my boyfriend smells or curling up in clean bed sheets after a long day or freshly mown grass. I recently celebrated my 21st birthday and it was sad to not be able to taste my cake or have a glass of champagne. I'm really struggling to deal with it so it's really comforting to hear that other people are in the same position and that things do get better. I wish you all the best with your recovery!

On January 6th I slipped on the ice and fell backwards cracking the back of my head on macadam in the driveway. I suffered a subdural hematoma and subarachnoid hemmorage and was in ICU for 10 days. I didn’t realize that I had lost my sense of smell and some taste until 3 weeks after the fall. I couldn't smell anything. Then I noticed I could smell only a couple of things like oregano, cloves and garlic, but only slightly. Then a very unpleasant noxious smell and taste appeared which is sickening at times. For some reason, some days can be worse than others. The only time I can escape this smell and taste is when I am sleeping and worry that I may have to live with this for the rest of my life. I am lucky to not have suffered other disabilities but it doesn't make this any easier to deal with. I can see that I am not alone but I wish there were more people who said that it eventually got better. Doctors just say that it is a waiting game.

I lost my sense of smell in 2000.  I did not have a head injury , i had viral pneumonia.  It took me a while to realize this. it wasn't until a month later when I experienced a phantom smell of flowers and no one else could smell them, that i began to realize it was gone. Totally!! Having a brain scan confirmed this. It seems a virus can attack the brain also .  My sense of taste took about 5 plus years to go.  Now here is what I am tryng to figure out , It seems my nose is closing in, as though not needed anymore so close it in,  Is this normal, ,  I  now sleep with my mouth open, have trouble singing ( as though my vocal cords are drying out..  etc etc etc.   . maybe some readers have experienced the same,   thank you. marisol laux

To the last person to comment, just a couple of days ago,

Please stay strong. I've been where you are. I had a brain injury last October. I have anosmia now because of it. For weeks I was scared, depressed, anxios and angry. This coupled with my already existing anxiety and depression. Slowly I got better. It takes different lengths of time. Unfortunately doctors can't give us reasonable time frames on these injuries as they can other injuries. But you will get better. Research calming techniques and have belief you will get better. You will. Concentrate on that first then deal with anosmia. Stay strong and reach out to loved ones. 

I suffered a traumatic brain injury 2-1/2 weeks ago and as many of you, lost my sense of taste and smell. I am in pain, I am dizzy, my head is heavy and sore, my ear, neck and shoulders as well.  I cannot concentrate, I am forgetful, I am fearful of noises and of falling.  I pray to God that I will be myself again after this frightening accident and that I will be able to taste and smell life again.  Dear God, please help.  Sincerely.

I fell down some concrete stairs 3 months ago and split the back of my head open.  I had an MRI and they said I had a slight concussion.  I was off work for 6 weeks and still on a gradual return to work plan.  I am grateful I have all my parts and accessories, and I can eat, stand, steep, and walk, but I too have no sense of smell whatsoever.  I can taste sweet, salty, bitter, and sour but not too much flavour.  Sometimes I think its just the memory or texture that brings pleasure in eating some things.  I try to follow my previous routines on hygiene and cleaning as I have no idea if anything smells bad, and am careful now that I don't eat anything that might have gone bad or expired. Of all the medical professionals I saw, not one mentioned or asked about the sense of smell or taste (family doctor, concussion clinic occupational therapist, neurologist).  I had to bring it up each time.  It is a loss and it does suck, but it could be worse, and I thank God for everything else that I have going for me.  It is comforting to know others are going through the same issues, and I am just thankful its not something worse.  God bless

December 19th.,  2014, I slipped and fell backwards hitting my head on the ice while I was curling. I suffered a severe brain trauma. 3 months later I still have no sense of taste or smell, but all else is just fine. I am lucky to be alive and with no complications. This could have been a lot worse, I have moved on, I suggest that a loss of sense and smell is not the end of the world.

Why hasn't there been research to find a cure for Ansomia? I have had the condition for 7 years at have learned to cope but sometimes I just get so depressed. Why can't I smell and taste dammitt! Why do I have to arm myself with extra fire alarms and extinguishers to make sure that my mother with dementia is safe. Sometimes just get so sad at what my life once was

Oh wow.... despite the depressing reality of our situations, I'm glad to have stumbled upon you all while researching my problem. Comfort in numbers I suppose.

I injured my brain 7 months ago during an epileptic seizure. Slammed the back of my head repeatedly against a concrete floor. For the first 2 months I had completely diminished sense of taste and smell. First a very small ability to taste returned. It was tiny, but a victory, and yes I'm aware this goes against the common knowledge that you can't taste without the ability to smell. It wasn't the same as before though. Then smell returned,lightly. The problem is for the most part, it is the same sickening smell and taste I've grown to hate. Almost everything tastes and smells the same. From my shampoo to burgers to fruit, etc....it's almost impossible to describe. A very distinct flavor/odor, and it's ever present. Even the air smells like it. 

My condition has "evolved" over the months, giving me hope for further improvement.There are a very select few things I consume that taste normal. Maple syrup, peanut butter, Dr. Pepper soda pop (no other soda tho..), and a couple other items I relish in eating now. I don't know why certain few items never changed, while everything else tastes/smells terrible. Every perfume smells identical and disgusting.

I know my window for healing is closing.I see everyone saying we have 6 months to a year to heal or be stuck forever with this. Nobody understands how mad I am. It's very frustrating. I've always enjoyed cooking for others. That enjoyment is gone as I cannot gauge flavors and smells. terrible affliction

I am so glad to have come upon this site.  A little over four weeks ago I fell slamming my head on the outside edge of a shower stall.  I have no memory of the accident, not even getting up and getting dressed!  I spent two days in the hospital and the first day I noticed I had no sense of taste.  My smell is gone also.  I did walk by two women smoking and could faintly smell the smoke.  Also rode a bus and could smell diesel.  Hoping that is a good sign.  I do feel depressed at times.  I want to smell my clean laundry, fresh air, and know whether or not I smell!  And to taste food again...that would be wonderful.  I can sense salt, sour, sweet, and minty gum.  I find myself eating for texture and making myself eat - though sometimes I feel very hungry.  I don't understand why physicians take this issue so lightly. It can be very serious...  I pray we all get at least some smell/taste back.  Best of luck to all. 

I was in a accident 7 years ago where I fractured my skull and had a bleed to the brain, I stayed in hospital for a few weeks and experienced a change in my behaviour, my eye turned inwards for a month or two, and I lost my ability to taste and smell. At this time I was 14 years old and found this hard to deal with I suffered with depression for a long time and lost all of my confidence I found it so frustrating as to why this had happened to me and no one understood how I was feeling. I gave now accepted that I will never be able to taste and smell again and am trying to move on with my life however I do still suffer with very painful headaches down the left side of my face :( I used to think I was the only person in the world this happened to it is comforting to here all of your stories. One thing I have learned is that you have to stay patient and take each day as it comes as there is no cure must stay positive x

I was in a motorcycle accident back in April of 2013, I fractured my skull in 3 places due to the fact that I was intoxicated and had no helmet on (SC has no helmet law).  My family was told that I would not live, then told I would not walk and other things but I'm fine now.  I have the report with several different medical terms of "brain damage" but I have absolutely no sense of smell what so ever, my temper is extremely out of control at times also.  I had lost my sense of taste for a few months but it has returned.  My question is, (and I hope its not true) will this put me at a disability or disadvantage to working, I'm a journeyman Ironworker but I dont want to have to be a pencil pusher.

I found this blog very interesting. My husband was in a four wheeler accident in 2009 and has completely lost his sense of smell and taste. I met him in 2011 and its heart breaking that he has never smelled me or able to enjoy the flavor of the food I cook for him. He has a great outlook on it and says things could have been worse but I am still hopeful for a cure in the future. He is only 27 years old and I want him to be able to have these senses back. It's nice to know we are not alone when it comes to his condition.

These comments are so interesting, especially the more recent ones. I was assaulted by my ex boyfriend who picked me up and threw me into the floor of our apartment. I had a fractured skull, and a concussion. I noticed my loss of smell in the hospital while eating fruit. This was December 4, 2014, and today I still cannot smell most things. However, I do have this really odd smell lately. It gives me a headache sometimes, and is not pleasant, mostly with sweets or yogurt. I'm optimistic, and glad that it's SOMETHING, even if it's not the greatest smell in the world. I haven't lost any weight, I eat a lot of the same things. I miss my sense of smell mostly because I loved horchata, sour cream, and coffee. It's almost been 3 months and I'm just hoping I get some sort of smell back, even if it's not as well as it used to be.

Interesting to see so many challenged by the loss of smell, which I know eventually leads to the loss of taste. My anosmia came on gradually after a severe whiplash in a car accident that occured December 26, 2005. I first realized my loss of smell when I could not smell toast burning or something I left in the oven or on the stove burning. The loss of smell of organic smells like garbage, coffee brewing, etc. was the first to go. I could smell high smells like vinegar and bleach still. Within 6 months I could no longer smell any of those too. When I told my doctor he sent me to an ENT, who confirmed there were no ENT injury and my loss was put down to do with my age. Really, I was only 50 not 90!!! stupid eh? Any how, I did not know it could be linked back to the traumatic brain injury of the accident until going for surgery on my shoulder, which was also caused by the accident 1-1/2 years later, I mentioned my loss of smell to the anesthesiologist and he asked me if I had sustained a whiplash injury. Finally, I have an answer to my loss. Im sure my fellow anosmians can agree, we get tired of the jokes about bad smells, and explaining when someone asks to smell their perfume, flowers, etc. :-) I just pretend. Everything smells great to me.  I carry a timer on me when I cook, invested in more fire sensors for the house and ensure the gas barbeque is lit. On the positive side I was able to lose 70 lbs because I was not lured to the smells of popcorn etc. however, I do miss the homey smells of thanksgiving and Christmas. Has anyone lost their sense of taste for peppermint and garlic?

Lets focus on what senses we still have, touch, sound and sight and I hope someday, researchers will find a way to restore what we all have lost. KC

I lost my sense of taste and smell 6 years ago. I fell backwards and smacked my head pretty good. I was told by the neurologist if it didnt come back in 6 months it probably never will. The first few years were hard. I missed not smelling perfume, the rain, food. I had always had an excellent sniffer so the downside was all the rotten smells were magnified. I dont miss smelling rotten breath and B.O. lol. Seriously though its hard for people to understand. They truly dont get it. I like the comment someone made about this being a super power. I work in a nursing home and not being able to smell is a blessing. I try to remember my accident could have been much worse.

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