Taste buds provide just a basic sense of taste, which can be surprising. By smelling, we broaden our sense of taste tremendously. The two are intimately intertwined. Unfortunately, many people report loss of smell or taste after a head injury. And since the ability to taste actually has much to do with olfactory and oral senses, there could be a combination of things going on when one isn’t able to taste after an accident.
Falls and other accidents that lead to head injuries are painful and scary enough. Add a loss of major senses, ones we’ve likely depended on since birth, and it may be quite unsettling. That’s why it can be frightening to realize that you can’t smell or taste after you’ve been in an accident where head trauma was involved.
How Traumatic Brain Injury Leads to Loss of Smell or Taste
Cases of traumatic brain injury (TBI) sometimes involve damage to the nasal passages. TBI can also affect nerves in the nose or mouth. Occasionally, the brain itself is damaged during an accident in the areas responsible for our senses, which sit atop bone within the skull and are easily susceptible to trauma.
There aren’t any known effective treatments for loss of smell and taste. Sometimes, the senses will return on their own. Many times, an accident victim who has lost the sense of smell or taste, or both, may have to learn how to live with the condition.
Studies Confirm Olfactory Loss After Brain Injury
Scientists from the Université de Montréal and the Lucie Bruneau Rehabilitation Centre, working in partnership with the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal, recently published a study in The Brain Injury Journal. The study reflects their investigation into mild and severe traumatic brain injury, and also examines whether the conditions could cause olfactory loss.
Their evidence showed clearly that olfactory loss can occur in both mild and severe TBI. Study co-author and neuropsychologist Maurice Ptito who is an acting professor at the Université de Montréal School of Optometry says that patients who experienced frontal lesions were more likely to suffer from olfactory loss and dysfunction.
The study in question evaluated 49 people with TBI, 73% of whom were male and who had a median age of 43. The participants underwent 2 small tests and completed a questionnaire to determine the level of the olfactory loss. Results of the study show that 55% of test subjects did in fact have an impaired sense of smell, and 41% were actually unaware of reduced olfactory function.
Smell Plays a Critical Role in Our Lives
Whether you live in Texas or anywhere else in the world, your life is greatly impacted by your sense of smell and taste. Aside from pleasure in eating, taste and smell give us the ability to detect toxins that could compromise our health. Smell and taste significantly affect our personal relationships and overall mental health since oral and olfactory senses play a role in depression or joy, true discernment of personal hygiene, and other factors.
Ways to Compensate for Loss of Taste
If you have experienced loss of taste, you may need to learn to compensate by:
- Being imaginative with textures and colors when cooking
- Undercooking produce to retain nutrients that are lost with overcooking
- Experimenting with new foods to keep you interested in meals
- Researching foods with extremely strong flavors that you might be able to sense
If you’ve been in an accident in Texas and have experienced a loss of smell or taste afterward, you may have suffered a severe head or brain injury. First, speak to a doctor. Then, contact Patterson Law Group. Our team of personal injury lawyers want to hear your story and help you get compensation if someone else was the cause of your sensory loss. Fill out the form on this page to get in touch with one of our attorneys today.