The science of scent, once dismissed as having less to contribute than research related to other senses, is experience a renaissance, in large part due to COVID-19, according to a New York Times magazine article describing the broadening recognition of smell as a “startling superpower.”
While a 2019 survey showed most adults ranked smell as the least important sense, a growing body of research shows smell to be a surprisingly sophisticated way of navigating the world, for humans as much as for other species.
With smell loss emerging as a key symptom of COVID-19 infection, this powerful sense is finally getting its long overdue recognition.
You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Until It’s Gone
“People are unaware smell is important until they lose it,” researcher Noam Sobel of the Weizmann Institute of Science told the Times. “And then they’re terrified.”
Without it, you may not notice when food is spoiled or the stove is left on. Toxic fumes, leaking natural gas and fire can go undetected.
Smell loss or irregularity is also associated with a wide range of autoimmune diseases such as lupus and neural diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Dr. Richard Doty, a pioneering smell researcher at the University of Pennsylvania wonders if this strong link is a sign that some of these diseases have an undiscovered viral cause, the article says.
The Power of Scented Printing
Smell tests can establish loss of smell before people know it has disappeared and have been long used as a means of assessing smell dysfunction among people for whom a sense of smell is critical to safety on the job. Today smell tests are finding broad favor as a medical diagnostic tool, especially for identifying a key symptom of COVID-19.
At H&H Graphics, long experience in multisensory printing, including scent, made us a natural fit for the printing of smell tests used in COVID-19 prevention efforts, including a test created by Doty, who teamed up with H&H to create the Sensonics Smell Test for use in rapid screening for smell dysfunction.
H&H’s research and development team also helped create the Safer Card, a screening tool used in businesses, schools and other organizations to reduce their risks.
Of course, we are not among those who came late to the recognition of scent as a powerful tool – and a driver of human emotion. Scented promotions and packaging have a proven ability to stimulate mood, engagement and memory, which is why so many of the world’s best-known brands have partnered with H&H to create campaigns built around this human superpower.
Multisensory Print Expertise for Your Next Project
Screen printing has the ability to imbue a wide variety of substances with a precisely deposited and long-lasting layer of scent that does not fade away. From diagnostic testing to taco-scented wrapping paper, the applications for scented printing cover a lot of ground, and some of it is covered in moose poop…
Want to learn more about how you can incorporate any of hundreds of scent possibilities into your next project? Give us a call or click on the link below.