We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Original Investigation |

Incidence of and Factors Associated With Hypogeusia in Healthy Children

Courtney A. Hill, MD1; Michael Beach, MD, PhD2; Mark C. Smith, MD1; Eunice Y. Chen, MD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Section of Otolaryngology, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire
2Department of Anesthesiology, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2016;142(3):229-233. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2015.3266.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Importance  There are currently no measures of isolated glossopharyngeal taste in healthy children, to our knowledge.

Objective  To define the taste characteristics of an otherwise healthy pediatric population that could serve as a control group for further investigations.

Design, Setting, and Participants  A prospective study of taste and smell was conducted from August 4 to 29, 2014, at a general pediatrics clinic in a tertiary care medical center in 80 healthy children aged 6 to 17 years who were receiving well-child examinations or vaccinations or in their healthy siblings.

Exposures  Testing of smell and taste.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Demographic data were gathered on age, sex, and body mass index as well as type of insurance. Smell testing was performed with the National Institutes of Health Toolbox Odor Identification Test, with scores based on national averages for age and sex. Validated Taste Strips were used for testing sweet, salty, sour, and bitter tastes. One strip at a time was placed on the midline of the tongue at the circumvallate papillae in random tastant order and in increasing concentrations. Correct identification of the tastant earned 1 point; of 16 possible points, a score of less than 9 signified hypogeusia. Fisher exact test was used for statistical analysis.

Results  The mean (SD) age of the 80 children in this study was 11.3 (3.2) years, and 43 were boys (54%). Hypogeusia was identified in 32 (40%) of the 80 children. Overweight or obesity was identified in 23 children (29%) (15 [31%] with a normal sense of taste and 8 [25%] with hypogeusia; P = .62), and 12 (15%) used public insurance (7 [15%] with a normal sense of taste and 5 [16%] with hypogeusia; P > .99). Age younger than 12 years (24 [50%] with a normal sense of taste and 19 [59%] with hypogeusia; P = .50), male sex (25 [52%] with a normal sense of taste and 18 [56%] with hypogeusia; P = .39), overweight or obesity (15 [31%] with a normal sense of taste and 8 [25%] with hypogeusia; P = .62), insurance type (P > .99), and olfaction less than the 50th percentile (29 [60%] with a normal sense of taste and 17 [53%] with hypogeusia; P = .65) or hyposmia (<10th percentile; P = .47) were not statistically significantly correlated with overall hypogeusia.

Conclusions and Relevance  A significant proportion of otherwise healthy children have hypogeusia according to previously published criteria. This study will provide baseline data from which future investigations studying taste disturbances in patients with chronic tonsillitis and after tonsillectomy can be compared.

Figures in this Article

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?


Place holder to copy figure label and caption
Hypogeusia by Tastant

Number of patients with hypogeusia by tastant (ie, sweet, salty, sour, and bitter).

Graphic Jump Location




Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections