Anosmia comes from the Greek an meaning ‘without’, and osme meaning ‘smell’. Together they mean ‘not having a sense of smell’, no olfaction system. Everyone knows that blind means that you cannot see, and deaf that you cannot hear, but there is no really good simple word for not sensing smells. Not even those that are anosmic usually know that their condition is called anosmia, and neither did I until recently.
Anosmia is an invisible condition. You quickly notice if someone is blind or deaf, but how do you notice if someone is anosmic? It does not show on the outside, or in the way the anosmic behaves. A person that is born anosmic communicate in the same way as everybody else, eat the same food, and appears to function just like anyone else. But underneath the surface there are differences.
In some ways our world is radically different from you world, but having grown up in our world we are so used to living in a world without smells that we seldom think about how different it is compared to your world. One day this thought suddenly struck me, and I started to look for information about anosmia. I suddenly realized that no one around me really understood what it means to live with anosmia in a world where smells are very much at the center of everyone else’s world.
For those that want to know more about anosmia, and especially congenital anosmia, I have written a book (se the menu above) and also collected some useful links to other web sites of interest.
Welcome to my world, a world without smells!