To examine the olfactory function in patients with laryngectomy and to assess the results of the Nasal Airflow–Inducing Maneuver (NAIM) odor-rehabilitation technique.
A prospective intervention study.
Twenty-four patients, 21 men and 3 women, mean age 68 years, who underwent laryngectomy at least 5 months prior to intervention.
Speech therapists trained patients in the NAIM technique: simultaneous lowering of the jaw, floor of the mouth, tongue, base of the tongue, and soft palate while the lips are closed. Three interventions were given within 6 weeks.
Main Outcome Measure
Olfactory testing with semistructured interview, the Questionnaire on Olfaction, Taste, and Appetite (QOTA), and the Scandinavian Odor-Identification Test (SOIT). Quality of life was measured with European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C30 and QLQ-H&N35 questionnaires. The patients were categorized as smellers or nonsmellers based on the SOIT results.
Before the treatment, 10 patients (42%) were smellers (ie, 6 had normosmia and 4 hyposmia), while 14 patients (58%) were nonsmellers (ie, all had anosmia). Thus, 18 patients had impaired olfaction. Using the NAIM technique, 13 (72%) of 18 patients with impaired olfaction showed improvement. Of the 14 nonsmellers, 7 converted to smellers after only 1 intervention session, giving us a success rate of 50% in anosmic patients after 1 session.
Olfactory impairment is common in patients who underwent laryngectomy. The NAIM method is easy to learn and rapidly improves smell and taste. A single intervention session is sometimes sufficient, but many patients benefit from repeated training. The SOIT test is an effective and simple test for the assessment of olfaction acuity after laryngectomy.