European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 270, Issue 6, pp 1855–1860 | Cite as

Characteristics of taste disorders

  • T. Fark
  • C. Hummel
  • A. Hähner
  • T. Nin
  • T. Hummel


Aim of this retrospective study was to obtain information about the frequency of taste disorders, their most frequent causes, and typical symptoms. A total of 491 out of 4,680 patients (presenting for the first time between 1998 and 2011) exhibited taste disorders (10.5 %). All patients underwent a thorough physical otorhinolaryngological examination including detailed assessment of smell and taste functions. The three most frequent causes of disorders were idiopathic (34 %), posttraumatic (24 %), and postoperative (15 %). Patients with idiopathic and postoperative taste disorders complained mainly about hypogeusia and parageusia; in comparison, patients with posttraumatic taste disorders exhibited a relatively higher degree of partial, local, or complete ageusia. Among patients with phantogeusia and parageusia, 38 % reported salty, and 22 % mixed sensations like bitter–salty or sour–sweet. In approximately 1/3 of this group of patients the cause of dysgeusia is unknown. Twenty-one percent of the patients complained of qualitative rather than quantitative taste problems.


Dysgeusia Gustatory function Burning mouth syndrome Parageusia Phantogeusia Frequency 



We would like to thank Bettina Hauswald for her help in diagnosing and counseling the patients; we also are indebted to Elena Flohr for her help with the statistical analyses of the data.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Fark
    • 1
  • C. Hummel
    • 1
  • A. Hähner
    • 1
  • T. Nin
    • 2
  • T. Hummel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Smell and Taste ClinicTechnical University of Dresden Medical SchoolDresdenGermany
  2. 2.Department of OtorhinolaryngologyHyogo College of MedicineNishinomiyaJapan

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