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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

No taste buds

09/05/2007

Question:

For the past 2 months now I havnt been able to taste anything. Ive been to so many docters and none of them could tell me why. Its really annoying please help!!!

Answer:

Most complaints of taste loss actually are related to a loss of smell.  Due to the neural anatomy, it is very unusual to actually lose your sense of taste.  On the other hand, we can lose smell following a bad cold, from underlying chronic sinus problems, from a recent head injury, or other less common causes.  Sometimes people don't recognize the loss of smell, but note that foods no longer "taste" right.  This is because a great deal of the flavor of food depends upon its associated smell.  The sense of smell is stimulated as we chew our food.

The first step should be for you to consult an ear, nose, and throat physician (preferably one at a taste and smell clinic), where you will take a test to measure your sense of smell.  Taste testing can also be performed if necessary.  However, our taste buds detect only salt, sour, bitter, and sweet.     

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Response by:

Allen M Seiden, MD Allen M Seiden, MD
Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Division of Rhinology and Sinus Disorders, Director of University Taste and Smell Center, Director of University Sinus and Allergy
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati