Hyposmia, or the partial loss of smell, is a symptom that has been reported from some patients suffering from COVID-19. In some cases, the symptom lingers for months after patients have recovered from COVID-19, and may impact brain chemistry, personal safety, and mental health, according to an article in Discover Magazine.

Related article: Considering the Benefits of Cochlear Implants

According to Discover, Dr Daniel Coelho, director of the cochlear implant program at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Otolaryngology, is currently working on the development of a cochlear nasal implant, which would potentially stimulate the brain’s olfactory bulb into triggering a sense of smell, much like a cochlear implant turns sounds into electrical signals the brain can interpret, according to an article in Scientific American.

Coelho is working with researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital to develop detailed olfactory maps in the brain. The research teams envisions a device with an odor sensor and external microprocessor that could fit under a patient’s nose or on a pair of glasses, along with an internal part to stimulate the olfactory bulb, according to Scientific American. Though human trials are about 3-5 years away, some researchers are gratified that attention is focused on the issue of smell loss, a condition that often has flown under the radar due to its lack of a standard treatment.

“It’s never been accepted into the medical community in the same way that hearing or vision has been, partly because we don’t have the equivalent of a hearing aid or glasses for people that have smell problems,” said Dr Richard Doty, Director of the Smell and Taste Center at the University of Pennsylvania, who was quoted in the Discover Magazine article.

To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

Source: Discover Magazine, Scientific American

Image: © Axel Kock | Dreamstime.com