man holding nose with right hand while holding burger with left hand

Smell training for parosmia? Yes!

A study has shown that parosmics who used smell training felt better and had higher test scores than a control group who did not smell train

Many people who have developed parosmia after a viral infection such as Covid or other upper respiratory illnesses have asked us what they can do to make this phase of recovery pass more quickly

Parosmia is recognised as a sign that things are starting to improve, and damaged nerves are regenerating. The distortions come when the regeneration is not complete, or has been “miswired”. While it is very unpleasant, and sometimes can lead to changes in eating habits, social interactions, and loss of well-being, it is a phase that will eventually pass

A researcher in Turkey, Aytug Altundag, who authored a well-known paper on “modified” smell training in 2015, found that changing up the odours in “classical” smell training (lemon, rose, clove, eucalyptus) to include two other sets of four, meant that the subjects of his study performed better in objective tests of their sense of smell. Simply put, the more odours you train with, the better your improvement. 

So the next question was: will it help for parosmia? Early on in the pandemic, before there was time to prepare, write, and publish a research study on smell training and parosmia, our scientific advisory board here at AbScent suspected that smell training would also benefit people with parosmia. Why? Because anything that helps the sense of smell improve–and smell training has been shown to create changes in the brain matter as well as change the tissues inside the nose–would help the person “pass through” the recovery stage of parosmia more quickly. 

In 2022, Aytug Altundag published his paper on modified smell training (3 sets of four odours) and parosmia. The study was 9 months long. And the results look promising

Seventy-five people with parosmia took part, and they were divided into two groups. One group used smell training twice daily for nine months, changing up the scents over the period of the study. The other group, the control, did not use smell training at all. The mean age of the participants was 33, with a range of 16-60. This is interesting, because it reflects the fact that younger people had smell loss from Covid than you would normally expect from a non Covid illness. 

While both groups showed significant improvement over a 9 month period, the group who used smell training did noticeably better–especially between months 6 and 9. This is especially important for anyone with parosmia to understand–it will take time. 

You can read the full article here

September 06, 2023

Posted in Covid, Parosmia, Smell training.