Some loss of taste and smell is natural with aging, especially after age 60. However, other factors can contribute to loss of taste and smell, including: Nasal and sinus problems, such as allergies, sinusitis or nasal polyps. Certain medications, including beta blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)
The sense of smell also enhances your ability to taste. Many people who lose their sense of smell also complain that they lose their sense of taste. Most can still tell between salty, sweet, sour, and bitter tastes, which are sensed on the tongue. They may not be able to tell between other flavors.
A total inability to smell is called anosmia. Causes of this smell disorder include chronic nasal inflammation, head trauma that damages nerves involved in olfaction, and sometimes aging.
Sensitivity to the five tastes often declines after age 60. In addition, your mouth produces less saliva as you age. This can cause dry mouth, which can affect your sense of taste. Your sense of smell can also diminish, especially after age 70.
Treatments that may help resolve anosmia caused by nasal irritation include:
It’s unlikely to lose the sense of smell without also perceiving a loss or change in taste.
Some loss of taste and smell is natural with aging, especially after age 60. However, other factors can contribute to loss of taste and smell, including: Nasal and sinus problems, such as allergies, sinusitis or nasal polyps.
Anosmia (smell loss) or hyposmia (reduced smell) could be an early and important sign of Alzheimer’s disease before other symptoms begin. The degree of smell loss may correlate with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
These include diabetes, Bell’s palsy, Huntington’s disease, Kleinfelter syndrome, multiple sclerosis, Paget’s disease of bone, and Sjogren’s syndrome. If you can’t taste or smell after a few days, talk to your doctor to rule out other conditions.
Powerfully aromatic and flavorful foods like ginger, peppermint and peanut butter can help you get your sense of smell and taste back. So can strongly-scented essential oils. Cooks and people who love to eat can’t bear to live without their senses of taste and smell.
“Smell loss is actually an early sign of COVID-19 and usually occurs for those who have a mild form of the virus,” says Tajudeen. “Patients with smell loss are normally at home recovering and not admitted into the hospital or on a ventilator.”
9 Reasons You Might Be Losing Your Sense of Smell
For approximately 95 percent of people, the anosmia lasts 2-3 weeks. Is there a chance the sense of smell could never come back? Absolutely. Fortunately, for the vast majority (95 percent), sense of smell returns within a few weeks.
Intranasal zinc products, decongestant nose sprays, and certain oral drugs, such as nifedipine and phenothiazines, are examples of drugs that may cause permanent loss of smell. Anosmia may also result from diseases of the nerve pathways that transmit smells to the brain.
According to Evan Reiter, M.D., an otolaryngologist at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Eye & Ear Specialty Center in Richmond, dry mouth — whether due to medication or simply dehydration — can adversely affect your sense of taste.