The answer is not really clear. There has never been a census to count the number of people who complain of problems with their senses of smell.

The Anosmia Foundation is working on putting together some statistics but in the meantime, please browse through the following statements from various North American newspapers.

The true incidence of anosmia is difficult to determine, although the National Institutes of Health have estimated that more than 2 million persons in the United States have a smell dysfunction.
- Ear, Nose and Throat Journal December 1, 2001

Anosmia is the term scientists now use for the condition, which affects at least 2 million Americans.
- Omaha World-Herald, September 20, 1999

She is a patient at the Nasal Dysfunction Clinic at the University of California at San Diego, one of only a handful of such clinics in the United States that explore the little-understood phenomenon of loss of smell, believed to afflict 2 million people nationwide.
- Los Angeles Times, March 30, 1987

Almost two out of three Americans have suffered a temporary loss of smell; about 1.2 per cent have "anosmia", which means they have no sense of smell.
- The Toronto Star, September 27, 1989

Several million Americans have a problem with smell or taste.
- Knight Ridder/Tribune December 12, 1997, Friday

Study author Claire Murphy, psychology professor at San Diego State University, said tests showed the prevalence of smell loss among seniors is "much larger than previously appreciated." Earlier estimates put the number of older Americans with smell-related disorders at 2.7 million; this new study suggests it is closer to 14 million.
- The Houston Chronicle January 03, 2003, Friday
- Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA) January 5, 2003 Sunday
- Newhouse News Service December 17, 2002 Tuesday
- The Seattle Times December 23, 2002, Monday

Although statistics for anosmia are shaky, one estimate puts the number of Americans with taste and smell disorders at two million.
- The New York Times, September 22, 2003

Certain medications, prescribed and over the counter, can also diminish the sense of smell. Brain tumors, influenza, allergies and normal aging are other factors that contribute to the loss of the olfactory sense in the millions of people in the United States who, literally, cannot smell anything.
- Capital Times (Madison, WI.) June 2, 1998, Tuesday

The number of Americans with an impaired sense of smell is estimated to exceed two million. Many can still smell, but their ability to do so is reduced, a condition referred to as hyposmia (Greek for "low smell"). Some people completely lose their ability to smell and are said to have anosmia (meaning "no smell").
- The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC) May 8, 2000, Monday

About 2 million people in the United States suffer from some degree of loss of smell and about 200,000 patients go to their doctors for this problem.
- The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC) December 20, 1994, Tuesday
- The Charleston Gazette, December 26, 1994
- Chattanooga Free Press (Tennessee) September 9, 1997, Tuesday

Something strange is happening to our sense of smell. More and more people find it difficult to cope with ordinary odours. In summer, we suffer from hay fever and a host of other allergies. One in five babies is born with asthma, and with immune systems so weak that almost any kind of smell can trigger an allergic response. Anosmia, the medical term for the loss or impairment of the sense of smell, has become common. Are we in danger of evolving our sense of smell out of existence?
- New Statesman September 11, 2000

Taste and smell disorders are common complaints of more than 2 million U.S. citizens. They may vary from an absence of smell (anosmia) or taste (ageusia) to either reduced or even exaggerated sensations of these sorts.
- Knoxville News-Sentinel (Tennessee) April 23, 1996, Tuesday

Researchers estimate that approximately two million people in the United States suffer from some sort of smell/taste disorder.
- Denver Westword (Colorado) December 20, 2001 Thursday

Millions of North Americans suffer from anosmias, disorders of smell, but medical textbooks offer little guidance for treatment.
- The Toronto Star, September 27, 1986

Several million people like me who have no sense of smell. Several million noses that are no more functional than the hood ornament on an old DeSoto automobile.
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania) December 22, 2003 Monday
- The Houston Chronicle December 21, 2003, Sunday

- The Baltimore Sun December 14, 2003 Sunday

Yet thousands of people lose these senses every year - many of them permanently. The phenomenon is known medically as anosmia, the victims anosmics (curiously, despite the fact that smell is our most basic sense, evolved before sight or hearing, there is no common term as there is for the deaf, blind or mute).
- Times Newspapers Limited, August 6 1987

Davidson is director of the Nasal Dysfunction Clinic at UCSD, one of only a handful of such clinics in the United States that have recently begun exploring the little-understood phenomenon of loss of smell, believed to afflict 2 million people nationwide.
- Los Angeles Times, March 29, 1987

Two million Americans suffer from loss, diminution or distortion of their sense of smell or taste or both.
- The Hindu September 19, 1999

An estimated 16 million Americans suffer from smell and taste disorders. A UC San Diego Web site says it has been estimated that 3 million to 5 million Americans suffer from anosmia, the loss of the sense of smell.
- Los Angeles Times October 6, 2000, Friday

Some four million Americans suffer from smell and taste
disorders. 200,000 people visit a physician for a smell or taste
problem each year. 80,000 in the Chicago area alone are victims of
anosmia, or smell disorder.
- PR Newswire, October 26, 1988

The 36-year-old East Syracuse man - one of an estimated four million to 10 million Americans with smell or taste disorders - is enjoying his food again, thanks to a growing interest in the field of sensory research and treatment.
- The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY) April 30, 1993 Friday Metro Edition

Her case is a dramatic example of what can happen when the least understood of the senses goes haywire. Researchers do not know what causes such false signals to occur. Nor do they understand well the much more common problems of partial or total loss of smell that afflicts millions of people like Max Bowman.
Researchers estimate that about 1 percent of the population - or 2.5 million Americans - have major loss of smell. The condition is called anosmia.
- Newsday, April 17, 1990

We rarely think about such benefits, unless our noses betray us. Just ask Darlene Herrick, a retired Iowa schoolteacher who slipped on her icy driveway several winters ago and smacked her head. From that day on, nothing has smelled or tasted to her like it did before.
Herrick is one of 2.8 million Americans with a smell and taste disorder.
- Good Housekeeping November 1, 1998

An estimated 10 million Americans suffer some sort of olfactory or taste disorder, according to the NIH. While the most common problem is a natural decline in the ability to smell after the age of 60, physicians encounter several other types of problems. Among them: anosmias, the inability to smell anything; parosmias, a distorted sense of smell; and phantosmias, which involve mysterious smells that no one else can detect.
- The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY) January 2, 1989 Monday Metro Edition

This website’s contents and materials are Copyright © 2003 Anosmia Foundation of Canada,
all rights reserved, except where otherwise specified.