Smell the Music
The sense of smell has been marginalized as we moved into cities that have a limited and constrained smellscape. The screens that have come to occupy even more of our attention stimulate senses like vision and hearing but offer no smell sensations. This has led to a lack of awareness about the importance of the sense of smell and its potential for improvement. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought the sense of smell to the forefront of public attention. Around 60% of people who contract Covid-19 will lose their sense of smell and taste for one or two weeks. However, one in ten people who lose their sense of smell will have persistent smell loss which can last at least eight weeks and commonly lasts for many months. Many people also experience distorted and disgusting smells as they recover.
Research has shown that the sense of smell can be improved or recovered with training. The more familiar you are with a scent, the lower your threshold for detecting it. After only six weeks of smell training, the brains of people who underwent smell training showed clear evidence of development and their olfactory performance improved.
Therefore, there is a need for a novel type of smell training device that can improve the user’s olfactory acuity. However, existing smell training kits are really basic and lacking playfulness. The users need to follow prescriptions to smell a set of different scents in a period of time, just like taking medicines. This is not a good experience for the user overall, as a result, the user might not use the kit after a while.
In conclusion, while the marginalization of smell has accelerated in modern times, there is hope for improving our olfactory acuity through training. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought this issue to the forefront of public attention, but there is still much work to be done in terms of developing more engaging and effective training devices. By incorporating music and other sensory experiences into these devices, we can help make this process more enjoyable and effective.