Treating Taste and Smell Disorders


woman smelling rosemary

Losing your sense of taste and smell can seriously affect your quality of life, compromising your enjoyment of food and aromas. Meanwhile, it can be dangerous if a diminished sense of smell leaves you unable to detect dangerous fumes, natural gas leaks, and other hazards. Our doctors provide effective treatment for taste and smell disorders at our Baltimore, MD, practice. To schedule a consultation, please contact us today.

The majority of taste disorders can be attributed directly to a compromised sense of smell. 

Relationship Between Taste and Smell

More than two million Americans suffer from taste and smell disorders. Although many patients believe that they are experiencing a taste disorder, it may be a combination of the two. About 80 percent of taste is related to smell, which explains why it is difficult to appreciate food when experiencing a common cold. The tongue can sense salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and savory flavors independently, but all other flavors are attributed to smell.

Types of Smell Disorders

Patients can experience a reduced ability to smell (hyposmia), or a complete loss of smell (anosmia). It could be a result of aging, or in more serious cases, it could be the result of inflammatory growths inside of the nasal cavity. In addition to damage to the olfactory cleft or nerve, causes of a compromised sense of smell include:

  • Deviated Septum: The bone and cartilage that divides the nasal cavity is off-center, making it difficult to breathe.
  • Nasal Allergies: Inflammatory reactions can cause sneezing, and itchy nose and throat, as well as a diminished sense of smell.
  • Chronic Sinusitis: Caused when the cavities around the nasal passages become swollen for at least eight weeks.
  • Nasal Polyps: Non-malignant growths that form in the nose or sinuses, which can cause obstruction.
  • Hyperthyroidism: An overactive thyroid gland can compromise both smell and taste.

Depending on the cause, we offer various treatments to restore your sense of smell. If you are experiencing allergies or an inflammatory disease, we may recommend an antihistamine, or a nasal steroid. However, if the cause is due to a deviated septum, chronic sinusitis, or polyps, surgery may be required.

Types of Taste Disorders

The majority of taste disorders can be attributed directly to a patient's loss of smell. Although true taste loss is rare, there are disorders that result in a reduced sense of taste, including:

  • False Taste Perception: A common disorder that leaves an unpleasant lingering taste, even when nothing is in the patient's mouth.
  • Hypogeusia: This diminished sensitivity to taste can affect the ability to perceive sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and savory flavors.
  • Ageusia: Although rare, some patients may be unable to detect any taste. 

A loss of taste senses can be the result of various injuries and illness, including upper respiratory infections, exposure to certain chemicals, head injury, and more. To diagnose and treat your taste disorder, we will thoroughly examine your ears, nose, and throat. It is common to restore a sense of taste with the treatment of a general medical issue such as allergies or a common cold. 

Restore Your Senses Today

Losing your sense of smell and taste can have a great impact on how you experience and enjoy life. Whether you require a minor treatment or a surgical procedure to restore your senses, our doctors at Chesapeake Ear Nose and Throat can provide effective care. To schedule your consultation, please contact us today.