Olfactory nomenclature: An orchestrated effort to clarify terms and definitions of dysosmia, anosmia, hyposmia, normosmia, hyperosmia, olfactory intolerance, parosmia, and phantosmia/olfactory hallucination

Anna Kristina Hernandez, Basile N. Landis, Aytug Altundag, Alexander Wieck Fjaeldstad, Simon Gane, Eric H. Holbrook, Caroline Huart, Iordanis Konstantinidis, Matt Lechner, Alberto Macchi, Patricia Portillo Mazal, Takaki Miwa, Carl M. Philpott, Jayant M. Pinto, Sophia C. Poletti, Jan Vodicka, Antje Welge-Luessen, Katherine L. Whitcroft, Thomas Hummel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Definitions are essential for effective communication and discourse, particularly in science. They allow the shared understanding of a thought or idea, generalization of knowledge, and comparison across scientific investigation. The current terms describing olfactory dysfunction are vague and overlapping. Summary: As a group of clinical olfactory researchers, we propose the standardization of the terms “dysosmia,” “anosmia,” “hyposmia,” “normosmia,” “hyperosmia,” “olfactory intolerance,” “parosmia,” and “phantosmia” (or “olfactory hallucination”) in olfaction-related communication, with specific definitions in this text. Key Messages: The words included in this paper were determined as those which are most frequently used in the context of olfactory function and dysfunction, in both clinical and research settings. Despite widespread use in publications, however, there still exists some disagreement in the literature regarding the definitions of terms related to olfaction. Multiple overlapping and imprecise terms that are currently in use are confusing and hinder clarity and universal understanding of these concepts. There is a pressing need to have a unified agreement on the definitions of these olfactory terms by researchers working in the field of chemosensory sciences. With the increased interest in olfaction, precise use of these terms will improve the ability to integrate and advance knowledge in this field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312–320
Number of pages9
JournalJournal for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number6
Early online date14 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • olfactory disorders
  • Normosmia
  • Dysosmia
  • Olfactory intolerance
  • Olfactory hallucination
  • Hyposmia
  • Parosmia
  • Hyperosmia
  • Phantosmia
  • Olfaction
  • Anosmia
  • Definition

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