What If I Can't Smell Or Taste After An Accident?
Do you associate certain smells with special events? How about these things?
- The evocative fragrance of a Christmas tree?
- The aroma of a Thanksgiving turkey and a spice-filled pumpkin pie dessert?
- The nuzzle and sweet smell of a newborn baby?
- The special birthday cake you enjoy every year?
Now, can you imagine:
- Enjoying a day at the beach without the smell of the sea?
- A beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers that you can not smell?
- A hike through the woods without the smell of the trees?
Our sense of smell impacts us more than we realize because we take it for granted when everything is working well. It's an important aspect of the human experience, especially moments of pleasure and joy. Some people's livelihood depends on their sense of smell. What if a baker, chef, or firefighter suddenly lost their sense of smell due to a brain injury? They would not be able to do their job because their sense of smell is an irreplaceable part of it. If you suffered a head injury in a serious accident, you may suddenly find yourself unable to smell or taste. This is a big loss that will impact your life in many ways.
How Does The Brain Process Smell And Taste?
The front of the brain is involved in processing smells. It's called the frontotemporal area. There is a nerve inside the nasal cavity. It sends information to the brain. The information is about smells. The nerve is called the first cranial nerve (the olfactory nerve). If this nerve gets injured, like in a bicycle accident, car accident, pedestrian accident, motorcycle accident, slip and fall, or tractor-trailer crash, the sense of smell can be lost.
Loss of the ability to smell due to head trauma can occur in up to 30% of patients. It can take months or even years to get it back. If the olfactory nerve itself gets cut, your sense of smell may never come back. Although they're inextricably linked, loss of the sense of smell and of taste have different names.
- Loss of sense of smell is called anosmia.
- Loss of the sense of taste is called ageusia.
Do Taste And Smell Equal Flavor?
Here are the parts of the “taste” equation when it comes to food and drink:
What the tongue perceives and the food or drink:
Here are the five basic qualities of taste that the tongue transmits to the brain:
- Savory (the “umami” taste)
How Does My Sense of Smell Impact My Sense Of Taste?
A food's flavor actually happens only after the four parts of the taste equation combine with smell. The brain is responsible for your sense of smell. This is why if your brain gets injured, it can result in an inability to smell and taste. Did you know that your ability to taste your food and drink is a complex interaction of smell, taste, pH, temperature, food texture, and mouth-feel? But, flavor actually depends a lot on smell. That's why saying, “This tastes good” really means “This smells good”!
Why Can't I Smell Or Taste After My Head Injury Accident?
A traumatic brain injury means your brain got hurt. If the part that got hurt includes the area responsible for our senses, you may be left unable to smell or taste. Injuries that cause a loss of smell are much more common than those that directly impact our sense of taste. But, our sense of smell is a critical component of our complete sense of taste.
Traumatic brain injuries can happen as a result of bicycle accidents, bus accidents, car accidents, dog bites (especially if the dog knocks you down), drunk and high drivers, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and falls, tractor-trailer accidents, Uber and Lyft accidents. When the brain gets injured, we may lose some or all of our senses, or those senses may become impaired. Besides not smelling or tasting like you did before your serious personal injury accident, a brain injury can also cause you to smell or taste things that aren't actually there. This is called a smell or taste distortion.
Are Some of Our Senses More Important than the Others?
We have five senses:
It may seem that losing one of these is more traumatic than the others, but as the saying goes, you never know what you have until it is lost. Any loss of any of our senses can cause great distress and a big reduction in the quality of life.
Why Can The Loss of Smell and Taste Be Dangerous?
People who lose their sense of smell can be vulnerable because they're now unable to smell toxins. Now, they must always have two things at home and work: smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Those without a sense of smell are left without any other way to detect these life-threatening hazards. Those without a sense of smell are also unable to smell rotten food. Sometimes, food that has gone bad looks safe. But, one sniff, and you learn it's gone bad. Without this ability, those who can't smell must be extra careful with food safety and marking expiration dates. Those who have lost their sense of smell must also be extra careful with household chemicals, such as cleaners, because they will be unable to detect if dangerous gases are emitted, such as bleach and ammonia. Losing your sense of smell may naturally cause a loss of interest in eating and drinking. This can lead to other illnesses caused by malnutrition. It can also result in weight loss due to insufficient caloric intake.
Is There A Treatment For The Loss Of Smell And Taste?
There is no generally recognized treatment for the loss of smell and taste. One treatment that might help is called smell training. Smell training involves regularly smelling different scents to re-train your system and help it to heal. Unfortunately, smell training has only been shown to help around 1 in 3 people.
Can I Sue For My Loss of Sense Of Smell Injury Case?
If you were injured in an accident that caused the loss of your sense of smell, taste, hearing, sight, or touch, you can make an insurance claim. You can also sue the wrongdoer in court.
Do I Need An Attorney For My Loss of Sense Of Smell Injury Case?
Loss of senses cases can be complex cases. You should not represent yourself on your loss of sense of smell, taste, hearing, sight or touch case. My name is Renée Yvonne Gardner. I am the attorney at Gardner Law. I speak Spanish - hablo español. I am a San José loss of sense of smell and taste personal injury accident attorney. I have experience with personal injury and wrongful death accident.
If you suffered the loss of smell or any other senses as a result of an accident, please contact me for a free consultation at (408) 214-5555 or here: message me here. If your loved one passed away after an accident or dog attack, please call me about your wrongful death case.
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None of the information on this website of Attorney Renée Yvonne Gardner is offered as medical advice.
If you have been injured in any type of accident, please seek immediate medical attention and follow the advice of your doctor.