Changes in olfactory function after immersive exposure to odorants

Mehmet K. Mahmut*, Florian C. Uecker, Önder Göktas, Wolfgang Georgsdorf, Anna Oleszkiewicz, Thomas Hummel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Sniffing four different odorants, bi-daily, for at least 3 months can improve olfactory function. The aim of the current study was to examine whether a relatively short (2 week) exposure period, an immersive exposure to a large number of diverse odorants can improve olfactory function. Twenty-five patients with various olfactory dysfunctions were exposed to 72 different odorants dispersed into an air-controlled space, while in a group. Each odorant was singularly dispersed from one side of the room using a purpose-built apparatus. The odorant exposure period ran for 14 consecutive days, with daily sessions for approximately 24 min. Olfactory function (odor thresholds, discrimination, and identification) was tested before the odorant exposure sessions (i.e., baseline) and then again approximately 6 weeks and 25 weeks afterward. The results demonstrated a significant improvement in overall olfactory function test score, six, and 25 weeks after the odorant exposure sessions, compared to baseline. Specifically, 28% of participants experienced a clinically significant improvement in olfactory function. Practical Application: Immersive exposure presents an opportunity to enhance olfactory function in various environments and may be an effective training methodology to increase the olfactory sensitivity of sensory panellists. Moreover, immersive odorant exposure may present a novel experimental approach to consumer testing.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12559
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sensory Studies
Issue number2
Early online date8 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

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Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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    Mahmut, M. K., Uecker, F. C., Göktas, Ö., Georgsdorf, W., Oleszkiewicz, A., & Hummel, T. (2020). Changes in olfactory function after immersive exposure to odorants. Journal of Sensory Studies, 35(2), 1-8. [e12559].