'If I haven't got any smell ... I'm out of work': Consequences of olfactory impairment following traumatic brain injury Academic Article uri icon


  • PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: Although estimates of the incidence of post-traumatic olfactory dysfunction range from 10-66.8%, there has been little research into its functional implications. The objective of this study was to describe the impact of olfactory impairment on daily activities and social participation from the perspective of adults who are living with the impairment. RESEARCH DESIGN: A qualitative research design based on a constructivist grounded theory approach. METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Purposive sampling of five participants with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) who reported post-injury changes in their olfactory function was utilized. No participant had a pre-injury history of olfactory disturbance. The presence of olfactory disturbance was confirmed using the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT). A semi-structured interview was employed to ascertain the participants' experiences. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and thematic analyses applied. CONCLUSIONS: The themes that emerged demonstrated olfactory dysfunction has significant impact on a range of activities and social roles.

publication date

  • 2013