Friday, April 23, 2010

Hurrah for anosmia!

Naturally, we have become accustomed to using 5 basic sensory devices, these of course, being touch, sight, smell, taste and hearing. I as it happens, fall into the category of people who only enjoy the full functionality of 4. I am not deaf, and I am certainly not blind, those being the two most prevalent cases of sensory disability. I suffer from what is “commonly” known as anosmia. I therefore, cannot smell.

Each sense demands use of a specialised set of nerves that deliver the various types of sensation to our brain, being the optic nerve (sight), tastebuds (taste), cochlear nerve (hearing), olfactory nerves (smell), and the various different nerves used for touch.

I, as it happens, have no olfactory nerves, yes, none. This is a rather uncommon occurrence, which I only discovered when I was about 12. The situation I discovered it in is equally telling. Dad farted, and consequently, the room cleared and I was left sitting there wondering what had happened. We realised there was something wrong, and I had an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan, which found that my olfactory nerves had not developed at all. The MRI scan also picked up a bunch of extra brain tissue, which surely must account for something…

I have no apparent sensitivity to this issue, and find it increasingly interesting the questions that I am asked almost every day by those who happen find out. Here’s the 5 most common, along with the answers I usually provide:

1. So you can’t smell? Does that mean you can’t smell dog shit?

Umm. Well actually my condition provides me with the olfactory faculties that allow ONLY the smell of dog shit. No, I cannot smell dog shit.

2. Can you taste?

Yes, I think my taste is slightly inhibited though, but it’s mostly fine.

3. So I could put a dog shit in your room and you would not notice?

Apparently not dipshit.

4. So what do you get when you sniff?

Nothing. I can’t smell. My nose is permanently set on “default” as such.

5. So we could just chop your nose off and it wouldn’t make a difference?

Well you could, but that would look a bit stupid then wouldn’t it.

When I first arrived at the school I am at, and I told maybe one person, then within a week or two I had had in excess of probably 120 people ask me these very questions, over, and over, and over again. Now that was fun…

Anyway, If there’s anyone that knows of people with this condition, or suffers from it themselves, or is generally interested In the subject of sensory disability, leave a comment and let us know. Thanks guys


  1. I read this blog and it give me Informtion

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  3. Lol. I don't know any one that has your condition but I always wondered if taste somehow intertwined with smell as far as food went.

    Anyways, nice blog. You can check mine out at

  4. love your response to the "so that means you cant smell dog shit" question

  5. I can't imagine what it's like to live without! You need one of those t-shirts that says a few things on it just so people don't need to ask you about them... but knowing people, well, they'll ask anyway!

    i live with Crohn's Disease, you can visit my blog at

  6. SJ - hahah thank you. i enjoy using it.

    Pavitar - I do! not a bad idea. =]

  7. Wow that was really interesting. Are your other senses heightened because of your condition? Or no? Thats crazy you cannot smell. But I guess it has some fun things about it too.

  8. Oh. My. Goodness!!!! I have this same thing. I never knew what it was called until reading this but my dad has it too (naturally I assume this is where I got it) How strange that someone else can FINALLY understand what I'm talking about. :-) This made my day. (even though I'm several months behind)

  9. Thanks. Something new every single day. :D


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