As many as 7 out of 10 older people have an impaired sense of smell — a condition called anosmia — compared to 15 percent or less of younger people, the researchers said in background notes.
How many people with COVID-19 lose their sense of smell? The exact percentage varies between studies, but most suggest that smell loss is a common symptom. One review, published last June1, compiled data from 8,438 people with COVID-19, and found that 41% had reported experiencing smell loss.
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.
Your sense of smell can also diminish, especially after age 70. This may be related to a loss of nerve endings and less mucus production in the nose.
The effects of ageing on smell It has been reported that more than 75% of people over the age of 80 years have evidence of major olfactory impairment, and that olfaction declines considerably after the seventh decade. A more recent study found that 62.5% of 80 to 97 year olds had an olfactory impairment.
In most cases, the loss of smell and taste brought on by COVID-19 is temporary. Most people regain their sense of smell and taste within two to six months. However, there have been cases of lingering COVID-19-related anosmia, lasting more than six months.
If so, when do COVID-19 patients get their sense of smell back? The average time of olfactory dysfunction reported by patients was 21.6 days, according to the study in the Journal of Internal Medicine. Nearly a quarter of the 2,581 COVID-19 patients studied didn’t regain smell and taste within 60 days of infection.
About 86 percent of people who have COVID-19 lose some or all of their ability to smell. But the majority who lost their sense of smell experienced a mild form of the disease, according to new research.
“Sense of smell ‘may predict lifespan’,” BBC News reports. New research suggests people unable to smell distinctive scents, such as peppermint or fish, may have an increased risk of death within five years of losing their sense of 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.”
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.
Without our sense of smell, our sense of taste is limited to only five distinct sensations: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and the newly discovered “ umami ” or savory sensation.
Your sense of smell and taste change as you age. Between the ages of 40 and 50, the number of taste buds decreases, and the rest begin to shrink, losing mass vital to their operation. After age 60, you may begin to lose the ability to distinguish the taste of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter foods.
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.
9 Reasons You Might Be Losing Your Sense of Smell
With aging, nerves within the nose tend to degenerate, decreasing the ability to smell and taste. To some degree, nerve degeneration also affects the taste buds. For most people, that is less of a problem, though, because the tongue has more nerves than the nose.