Impact of COVID-19-Mediated Olfactory Loss on Quality of Life

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



INTRODUCTION: COVID-19 can be associated with a variety of longer-lasting impairments that can have a significant impact on patients' quality of life (QoL). While this is well described in the literature for limitations in lung capacity or permanent headaches, there is little research on the impact of olfactory dysfunction in the context of COVID-19 on patients' QoL.

METHODS: In 65 patients with a history of COVID-19, the present olfactory ability was assessed using the Sniffin' Sticks test. In addition, olfactory QoL was assessed by the Questionnaire of Olfactory Disorders. Self-assessment was performed with visual analogue scales. The data were compared with the results obtained in healthy individuals and in patients with hyposmia due to other viral infections.

RESULTS: The QoL of COVID-19 patients was significantly lower compared to the healthy control group. Even recovered subjects whose olfaction had already returned to the normal range still had a reduced QoL. The severity of the olfactory impairment correlated with the reduction in QoL. However, the olfactory QoL of COVID-19 patients was not worse than that of patients' olfactory loss due to other viral infections. Patients with parosmia had reduced QoL and rated their situation worse than patients without parosmia.

CONCLUSION: QoL appears to be impaired in patients with long-lasting COVID-19 olfactory disorders several months after overcoming acute symptoms, even if olfaction has normalized. However, the impairment is not more pronounced than in patients with other postviral olfactory disorders of the same duration.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Early online date12 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

External IDs

PubMedCentral PMC9148912
Scopus 85128999218
unpaywall 10.1159/000523893
Mendeley e6f26e74-1166-39af-ba99-dc4a656dc650
WOS 000788497200001


ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Coronavirus disease 2019, Quality of life, Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, Smell disorders, Sniffin' sticks, COVID-19/complications, Humans, Anosmia/complications, Quality of Life, Olfaction Disorders/etiology, Smell

Library keywords