Profiles of Odorant Specific Performance in Olfactory Testing

Rodney J. Schlosser, Zachary M. Soler, Jess Mace, Nyssa Farrell, Ryan Rimmer, Jeremiah A. Alt, Vijay R. Ramakrishnan, Thomas S. Edwards, Timothy L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Olfactory dysfunction (OD) can occur from a variety of etiologies. However, there are few reports examining whether varying etiologies have unique profiles of psychophysical testing that may provide insight into the pathophysiology of OD. Methods: Adults with chronic rhinosinusitis with and without nasal polyps (CRSwNP/CRSsNP) and healthy control adults with no sinus complaints underwent olfactory assessment with Sniffin’ Sticks. Profiles of identification and discrimination were compared between CRS and non-CRS subjects across the spectrum of OD. Results: Normosmics with or without CRS identified apple, pineapple, and turpentine less frequently than expected (range 52%-68% correct). Hyposmics with CRS correctly identified orange more frequently than control hyposmics (83%-93% vs 68% for controls) with similar findings for rose. Hyposmics of all cohorts were unable to identify apple (26%). Discrimination profiles were similar across the spectrum of OD and between diagnostic groups. Conclusions: Identification and discrimination rates of specific odorants may provide unique information regarding the etiology of OD, however psychophysical testing is a complex interplay of olfactory and trigeminal function, the strength of target odorant, distractor choices, and familiarity with odorants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-34
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Rhinology and Allergy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • olfaction
  • olfactory disorder


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