View Full Version : So the balloon thing got me wondering...

02-09-2010, 09:31 PM
Can kids with a trach smell??? Kira seems to not be able to anymore. She will sometimes say something smells good, but I have to wonder if it's just the psychological thoughts, the memories. I'm talking about things like roses, cinnamon rolls, common things.

And I asked the RT guru at the hospital and even she wasn't sure. She'd never thought about it. I guess my thought is that they're not really inhaling through their nose.

Maybe it's a dumb question. :o

02-09-2010, 11:18 PM
Tommy's fetal/peds surgeon has a his thoughts on the matter. He thinks kids with obstructed airways and traches have a decreased sence of smell, and a decreased sence of taste (because taste heavily depends on the olfactory sence) because there is no airflow through the nose &/or over the tastebuds. He told us to think about times when we have ever had a really bad sinus infetion; your sence of taste & smell are dramatically reduced. Thus, he recommended when we get to PO feeding, we go with very flavorful foods. I often wonder if Tommy can smell OR taste a single thing!!!


02-10-2010, 07:00 AM
Wow, no, not a dumb question at all! I think it would be helpful for medical people to talk to trached people and ask them these kinds of questions - when Robin was trached at 11 months we were told (among the long list of things that he would NEVER do, and/or possibly/probably never do) that he wouldn't be able to smell or taste. He had horrible oral aversion for many many years BUT when he was between about 2-3 years, his nurses and I suspected that he smelled certain things because of reactions, and when he started to speak after age 3, yes, he would say he likedthe smell of certain things (cinnamon stands out as one)arefully exposed him to different things. His trach is due to chronic lung damage/disease, so that might make a difference? His sense of taste is definitely "different" though and no one can explain exactly why.

02-10-2010, 09:04 AM
Smelling and tasting is connected. If the airflow is blocked--the trach--then no air is moving over the tastebuds and through the nose. So, there is diminished smelling and tasting. I think it depends on the trached person and the reason for the trach.

Nathan was always orally fed even though he was trached at birth. We made his baby food out of organic fruits and veggies so the tastes would be fresher and stronger. He never stopped eating! I also tried to eat spicy things when I was nursing so the milk would taste better--who knows if that worked, but he was a great breastfeeder. When he was trached he LOVED spicy foods, any vegetable--asparagus, greens, anything with a strong taste.

Now that he is decannulated his tastes have gone through a change. He stopped eating cheese for several months but is eating that again. He still loves veggies though not as many. He will not eat yogurt anymore and before the trach was out he couldn't get enough. He also won't eat applesauce but loved it when he was trached.

We have asked him about tasting and smelling and he said there is a difference. He couldn't really articulate it--he is only just 4--but he said he smells things "more." We have noticed that strong smells--someone wearing purfume, cleaners, walking past someone smoking, etc really bother him.

02-10-2010, 10:07 AM
Very sensible question if you ask me.

I asked our ENT this when Dominic was a baby and was told you need very little air flow to be able to smell. It worries me a bit though, smell is such an important sense. Would he smell smoke as quickly as a non-trached person?

Dominic definitely prefers stronger tasting things too and hated those bland purees you are meant to start weaning a baby with.

02-10-2010, 02:16 PM
I've always thought they can smell, but only strong smells and they can taste only strong tastes. My mom lost her sense of smell in her 20's and I think she has said it's like having a cold all the time. She can taste bitter and sweet, and some other very strong tastes, but she can't taste most things and doesn't smell a thing. I figure having a trach is very similar.

02-10-2010, 10:35 PM
Evan's case is so much different than most, he had a tumor removed causing vocal cord and tongue paralyisis. at 12 years old it is the hardest thing for him to yes be able to smell, but no not be able to eat. at the same time the nerve damage caused some loss of sight and hearing, but smell is perfect. poor baby wishes he couldn't smell.

02-12-2010, 03:22 PM
From an adult who recently got a trach, I can say with mine, that I can smell really strong smells, but not normal smells. Also my taste luckily has remained unaltered.

I will try to define what I mean by strong smells. I was in a candle shop and they had Yankee Candles. I could just about smell these.

Though mine might be different from everyone else as I have no upper airway above my trach so I am unable to breathe through my nose & mouth even if the hole is covered.