Millions of COVID patients still don’t have their sense of smell or taste, Mass Eye and Ear study finds


Many of the patients who lost their sense of smell or taste following a COVID infection still have not fully recovered those senses, according to a new study out of Massachusetts Eye and Ear.

Researchers at Mass Eye and Ear looked at the loss of olfactory and gustatory senses and estimated that about 25% of Americans who had COVID-19 reported only partial or no recovery of taste or smell.

“We wanted to quantify the national impact of smell disorders resulting from COVID,” said Neil Bhattacharyya, professor of Otolaryngology at Mass Eye and Ear.

“With this data we can understand, in big numbers, how many people lost their sense of smell or taste due to COVID infection and how many people never fully recovered those senses,” Bhattacharyya added.

The researchers examined data from the 2021 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a CDC branch, which includes survey data from 29,696 adults.

In the NHIS data, COVID patients were asked about the severity of their symptoms, any loss of taste or smell, and their recovery of those senses.

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