Anosmia Awareness Day
It’s hard to imagine life without the ability to smell. Anosmia Awareness day prepares us to learn, our sense of smell allows us to enjoy the aroma of our favorite foods, recognize the scent of a loved one, and detect potential dangers, such as gas leaks or smoke. However, according to a recent survey, most people would give up their sense of smell over their other senses, including taste, hearing, and vision.
The Global Preference for Losing Smell over Other Senses
An international research team from Monell Chemical Senses Center, Brown University, and HCD Research conducted a survey in six languages across 22 countries with 1,105 participants. The results showed that 64% of participants were willing to give up their sense of smell over all the other three senses. The hearing came in at 7%, followed by vision at 6%, and taste at 22%. Shockingly, more than 10% of respondents said they would give up their sense of smell before social media.
Negative Impact of Anosmia on Daily Life
Anosmia, or the loss of scent, can, nevertheless, have a detrimental effect on people’s lives, leading to social isolation, despair, and low self-esteem. Anosmia awareness was given more attention as a Covid symptom because 15 million people are thought to experience chronic loss of taste or smell. Despite this, there has only been a slight increase in those who value the impact of scent on their life.
Stephanie Feuer, Director of the World Taste and Smell Association, who has been suffering from smell loss since 2017, explains that until it happens to you, it’s hard to understand how significantly a lack of smell impacts every aspect of your existence. New parents, for example, are unable to smell their newborn’s sweet scent. However, re-engaging with our sense of smell doesn’t have to be complicated.
There are simple and low-cost opportunities for engaging with our olfactory system, such as taking a few seconds to smell your morning cup of coffee or lighting a candle at home. Organizations like STANA AbScent and Fifth Sense provide information, support, and more thorough smell training choices for those with anosmia.
Increasing Awareness of the Importance of Smell
The World Taste and Smell Association, a global non-profit association, was founded to elevate anosmia awareness of the importance of our senses of taste and smell and to support innovators, creators, scientists, and people experiencing taste and/or smell dysfunctions. Valentina Parma, Assistant Director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, emphasizes the message that we should start paying more attention to our sense of smell and its connections to health and well-being.
From enhancing taste to reducing stress and flooding our minds with beautiful memories of times past, the sense of smell has a plethora of benefits to offer. The more we support and appreciate it, the bigger the boost. So, let’s appreciate our sense of smell, not just on Anosmia Awareness Day, but every day.
The Undervalued Sense of Smell
While the ability to smell may seem less important than sight or hearing, research shows that this sense plays a crucial role in our lives, including our emotions, memories, and overall health and well-being.
For instance, certain scents can trigger powerful emotions and memories. The smell of freshly baked cookies may remind you of your childhood, while the scent of lavender can help you relax and sleep better.
In addition, our sense of smell can also alert us to potential dangers, such as gas leaks or smoke from a fire on anosmia awareness. This is why it’s important to pay attention to any changes in our ability to smell, such as sudden loss or changes in the intensity of smells.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also brought attention to the importance of our sense of smell. Many people who have contracted the virus have reported losing their sense of smell or taste, and for some, this loss can be long-lasting.
Anosmia Awareness Day: Raising Awareness
Anosmia Awareness Day is observed on February 27th every year to raise anosmia awareness, the loss of the ability to smell. This year, the focus is on the importance of our sense of smell and its connections to our health and well-being.
The World Taste and Smell Association, along with other organizations, is using this day to educate people about the potential impacts of anosmia and the simple steps we can take to re-engage with our sense of smell.
How to Re-Engage with Your Sense of Smell
If you’re looking to re-engage with your sense of smell, there are several simple and low-cost ways to do so. Here are a few ideas:
- Take a few seconds to smell your morning cup of coffee or tea. Notice the aroma and try to identify any scents that stand out.
- Light a scented candle at home. Choose a scent that you enjoy, such as lavender or vanilla, and take a few deep breaths to inhale the fragrance.
- Spend time in nature. Take a walk in a park or forest and pay attention to the smells around you, such as the scent of pine needles or the fresh smell of rain.
For those who have experienced anosmia, organizations such as STANA AbScent and Fifth Sense offer information, support, and smell training options.
The Bottom Line
Our sense of smell may be undervalued, but it plays a critical role in our lives. Anosmia Awareness Day is a reminder to pay attention to this sense and its connections to our health and well-being. By taking simple steps to re-engage with our sense of smell, we can enjoy the many benefits that this sense has to offer.