hereditary smell loss?

My mom lost her sense of smell over the course of several years, when she was in her forties. I’m 30 now, and although I still can smell OK, I’m aware that scents are not as strong in my nostrils as they were, say, 10 years ago. Could the propensity to lose one’s sense of smell be hereditary?

Also, my mother claims she doesn't suffer any lack in the taste department, but I've heard that taste and smell are related and that when one loses the ability to smell, the sense of taste often goes with it. I know someone for whom this is true -- he can't smell or taste. Anyone got any ideas/facts about this?

The medical term for being unable to smell is anosmia. There’s a condition called Kallman’s Syndrome that causes hereditary anosmia, but it’s congenital (meaning you’re born with it instead of developing it in middle age). Do a Google search for hereditary anosmia and you’ll come up with a lot of hits. There’s a British website for people with anosmia at .

Ok, that answers my question about the hereditary part of it. But how about the issue of whether loss of smell and taste are linked?

Don’t know if it’s hereditary, as everyone in my family has a great sense of smell, but even as a little kid, I didn’t. I still really have none. I can detect odors, but cannot identify between good and bad. Skunk, perfume, a steak, all smell identical to me. I do have a very good sense of taste though. Nothing near a world class connosieur, but still very good. And I can “taste” the air around me to a certain point (perhaps that’s why girls refer to me as a snake)?? Personally, I think it’s not a smell thing but a brain thing where the connections were screwed up somewhere along the lines. So although I cannot smell a good dinner, I can certainly taste a good one, and tell you what spices were used to season anything. Someday I might ask a doctor what it’s all about, but never having had smell… I don’t really miss it.

I’d love to hear more anecdotes from other people, as well as some scientific theories/facts that might relate to any linkage between smell and taste sensory loss. It’s interesting that you can still smell things, Turbo Dog, although you can’t distinguish between them. I wonder what the smell smells like! No way to describe it, I suppose, since you can’t compare it to any other smells…

To me, everything smells like chicken :smiley:

Actually, going by “taste”, I’d have to say that all odors are processed like a light, oily solvent mixed with garlic. I know it’s there, just not if it’s pleasant or rank. Except death of course. That smell is pretty distinguishable. But at work, in my car, everywhere I am, I have deodorant and breath mints with me cuz I’m so paranoid of smelling bad to anyone else, and go through Febreeze and Pine Sol in record amounts in the house for the same reason :slight_smile:

I lost my sense of smell for a few hours a few years ago. Any ideas what could have caused it?