Self-Ratings of Olfactory Function and Their Relation to Olfactory Test Scores. A Data Science-Based Analysis in Patients with Nasal Polyposis
Olfactory self-assessments have been analyzed with often negative but also positive conclusions about their usefulness as a surrogate for sensory olfactory testing. Patients with nasal polyposis have been highlighted as a well-predisposed group for reliable self-assessment. In a prospective cohort of n = 156 nasal polyposis patients, olfactory threshold, odor discrimination, and odor identification were tested using the ""Sniffin' Sticks"" test battery, along with self-assessments of olfactory acuity on a numerical rating scale with seven named items or on a 10-point scale with only the extremes named. Apparent highly significant correlations in the complete cohort proved to reflect the group differences in olfactory diagnoses of anosmia (n = 65), hyposmia (n = 74), and normosmia (n = 17), more than the true correlations of self-ratings with olfactory test results, which were mostly very weak. The olfactory self-ratings correlated with a quality of life score, however, only weakly. By contrast, olfactory self-ratings proved as informative in assigning the categorical olfactory diagnosis. Using an olfactory diagnostic instrument, which consists of a mapping rule of two numerical rating scales of one's olfactory function to the olfactory functional diagnosis based on the ""Sniffin' Sticks"" clinical test battery, the diagnoses of anosmia, hyposmia, or normosmia could be derived from the self-ratings at a satisfactorily balanced accuracy of about 80%. It remains to be seen whether this approach of translating self-assessments into olfactory diagnoses of anosmia, hyposmia, and normosmia can be generalized to other clinical cohorts in which olfaction plays a role.