New Tests Assess Kids' Sense of Smell, Taste

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THURSDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) -- A series of tests that are the first to accurately assess children's ability to taste and smell have been developed by Australian researchers.

Using these three tests -- the Wholemouth Taste Test, the Regional Taste Test, and the Odor Identification Test -- the researchers determined that most children ages 5 to 7 can identify a majority of 16 different test "odorants" that measure smell function, and four common tastes (salty, bitter, sour and sweet) that gauge taste.

The odorants include: floral, orange, strawberry, fish, chocolate, baby powder, paint, cut grass, sour, minty, onion, Vicks Vapo-rub, spicy, Dettol (liquid antiseptic), cheese, and gasoline.

The study was published in the July issue of the journal Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.

Previously, there was no suitable clinical test to measure a child's smell and taste. Many tests used for adults take too long for children and test for smells and tastes that may not be well known to most children, the Australian researchers explained.

Taste and smell can be lost due to a number of factors, including nasal and sinus disease, head trauma, middle ear surgery and infections, medications, and a number of diseases.

More information

The American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery has more about smell and taste.