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Olfactory Overload

Does anyone else hear about companies’ attempts to “enhance” our olfactory experience and think, “NOOOOOOO!”?

The latest of these endeavors to assault our senses is the oPhone (“o” for olfactory). A person can attach an smell to a message and the recipient “gets” to smell it. Both the sender and receiver have to have oPhones for this to work, so you won’t be forced to smell every text message.

Of course, if this technology takes off, it won’t matter if you don’t have an oPhone yourself. We will all be surrounded by people who are not only shouting into their cellphones, but polluting the air with even more artificial scents than already abound.

As someone who has scent-triggered migraines, news reports of odor-spreading technology fill me with an almost visceral dread. Living in the modern world with heightened senses is already hard enough. At least sounds can be muffled with ear plugs and lights can be managed with TheraSpecs. There’s no effective way to block odors.

Let’s hope that even people who aren’t sickened or panicked by sensory overload will have no interest in smelling a fake version of the croissant their friend just ate.

4 thoughts on “Olfactory Overload”

  1. Melanie, I’m so sorry that your migraines are worsening with menopause. That has to be a blow considering that women are always told they’ll improve with menopause.

    My fingers are crossed that your campus goes smoke-free!


  2. Smells bother me too, and can be a trigger. My college still allows smoking and it is mostly impossible to enter or leave one of our buildings without going through a cloud of smoke. (We are supposed to go “smoke free” in the fall– I’ll believe it when I see it.)
    In the past few months I’ve had an occasional hard to pinpoint, vaguely metallic smell in my nose. After researching it, I see it may be an olfactory hallucination or aura. This is a new symptom to me as my migraines continue to change for the worse through menopause.
    Yes, please no more smells! Gads!

  3. Please – no more smells! I walk down the hall at the school where I teach, and am assaulted with the various cleaning supplies, and the scented candles, plug-ins,colognes, etc. No – wait – it starts before that, when I get out of my car, parked by the 2 month old wooden fence that still bothers me with its smell, even during the winter.(bummer, because I used to like the smell of fresh wood!) Actually, my co-workers are really good about trying not to overdo smelly items, and unplugging plug-ins if we are going to have a meeting – good people! Oh for the days when smells and flourescent lights, etc., didn’t bother me – weather either! I have pretty much solved the lighting problem in my classroom with many lamps – floor lamps, table lamps – nice, peaceful lighting, plenty bright enough for my students, but they don’t send my cowering beneath my desk. Flashing lights on tennis shoes and book bags, however—–!

    Sorry for the rant – it is amazing how previously unnoticed smells, cologne, etc., now almost knock you off your feet when someone passes you in a store aisle, etc.

    I enjoy your blog, and feel for your search to find solutions – I am presently trying paleo/primal eating because I got tired of feeling like crap all the time. It has helped, and I’ve lost 22 lbs in 3 months just from the eating change (needed to, and more), and I think it is and will help with the chronic migraines. Took me awhile to get in this state, will probably take a while to get better.(preventatives and triptans don’t work) If nothing else, I’ll lose some weight and feel better. if anyone is interested. Is it ok to put that on here?

    Thank you for your blog, and all the information you give, and good luck with your migraine journey.

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