There’s a lot to smell in this world. So, how are we even able to smell all of those smells and what would it be like to experience the world if we couldn’t?

Image: Path cutting through flower garden

Source: Pixabay

It’s an invisible sense from the molecules that travel up our nasal passageways to our ability to spot an individual who lacks the ability to smell. We just don’t know when we’re going to experience them until they make themselves known.

Before we hear from some individuals living without the sense, here’s a quick overview from TED-Ed on how we’re able to smell in the first place. You may just be surprised by how different we’re all experiencing the world through our noses!

Via: TED-Ed 1

So, let’s focus on those individuals who have full anosmia for a moment (you can hear about anosmia in the TED video above beginning at 2:55).  The beautiful film below from Aeon gives us a look into the experience of individuals who were born without the sense of smell, as well as those who developed full anosmia later in life.

Via: Aeon Video  2

Smell effects more in our lives than those who continually have the sense may realize. For a lot of us, it’s just a normal part of day to day life until a cold, allergy, or sinus infection happens and reminds us that our ability to smell helps build our world.

So take a deep breath in through your nose right now. What do you smell? Does that scent have a specific association with the space you’re in or the people you’re near? How would this space be different if you didn’t have that sense?

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The thing is, yes, losing your sense of smell can alter your life, but the world will still remain a beautiful place. We just may have to put our focus in other senses to receive that beauty. But as they say in the video above, in some situations, not having your sense of smell can be pretty beneficial.

Keep yourself open to new possibilities!


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  1. “How Do We Smell? – Rose Eveleth.” YouTube. TED-Ed, 19 Dec. 2013. Web. 05 Jan. 2018. <>.
  2. “Anosmia.” Vimeo. Aeon Video, 27 June 2017. Web. 05 Jan. 2018. <>.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.