Anosmia: The Scentless World of Olfactory Silence

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Anosmia: The Scentless World of Olfactory Silence

Smelling Daisies

It’s a scented world we live in. Even as newborns, we rely on the sense of smell to find comfort in the familiar scent of love: the mother’s smell.

We take a deep breath when the kitchen is filled with a mouthwatering smell of our favorite meal. We stop and smell the roses. We love the smell of clean laundry. The smell of rain.

However, the things we take for granted, like the smell of roses from someone we cherish are someone’s greatest desire.

Just imagine yourself living in an olfactory silence, or the medical term being anosmia. The condition is usually defined as temporary or permanent impairment in the sense of smell.

In other words, people affected by it cannot register smells.

Some health conditions are usually connected to partial or total impairment in the proper functioning of the olfactory gland.

The olfactory gland is the “brain” that controls your sense of smell. The most renowned perfumers have trained their olfactory gland and heightened its sensibility and functioning.

As a complete and utter perfume aficionado, I cannot imagine myself walking in the shoes of someone with anosmia.

That is, I couldn’t until a few weeks ago, when I met a very pleasant lady, who due to certain medications she has to take, had been diagnosed with anosmia.

When I tried to get a sense of her condition and urged her to describe it to me, she asked me to describe how clouds smell. I said I cannot do that, since I haven’t smelled them.

Her response: Exactly!

She’s the one who coined the term olfactory silence, because she believed that smells talk to us.

She explained that without scents, the world is much duller place. She still enjoys her favorite meals, however the experience is downsized by the lack of inviting prelude of scents.

She still loves dressing up, but she always feels like she lacks something just because she cannot feel her perfume on herself.

However, she says, “even though I cannot sense my perfume, that doesn’t mean I should stop wearing it”.

That is the essence of selfishness: if we find ourselves in a scentless world, does that mean we should cut all the flowers just because we cannot smell them?

Maybe my perfume will catch the attention of someone who had a rough day, and a single note in it will transport him back to a happy memory.

Count Your Scented Blessings

The next time you open a perfume and your heart starts pounding by its intoxicating fragrance notes dancing in the air, remember how lucky you are.

You still get to stop and smell the roses!

One Comment
  1. Avatar Of Yazmin


    Hi Marina, Your article really helps describe what the world is like for people have no sense of smell. I was born with congenital anosmia. I assume it is permanent. I've taken a positive approach towards it, though. I've learned connecting with other anosmics really helps. As the old saying goes, "When life gives you lemons, make some lemonade (or a margarita)."

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