Why Can't You Smell Your Own House?

Why Can't You Smell Your Own House?

Olfactory adaptation happens quicker than you might think. After just two breaths or so of a new, non-threatening smell, the receptors in your nose stop alerting your brain to the odor with the same intensity. This is why we can become accustomed to smells so quickly, whether it's the scent of our perfume, our body odor, or our house. If you'd really like to "refocus" your nose and try to smell something that has become a background scent, try doing a few jumping jacks or running up and down the stairs. Perfumers have found that increasing blood flow with some cardio seems to help their nostrils reset.

03:17

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    You don't notice the smell of your own home because of a process called sensory adaptation. (0:26)

  • 2

    One theory states that adapting to the smells of our environment allows us to quickly notice new smells. (1:15)

  • 3

    Physical activity can slow down the olfactory adaptation process. (1:53)

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