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Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2010 Dec;267(12):1911-7. doi: 10.1007/s00405-010-1276-1. Epub 2010 May 22.

Normative data for a solution-based taste test.

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  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University of Rostock, Doberaner Strasse 137-139, 18057, Rostock, Germany.


The aim of our study was to study gustatory function in a large portion of the general population using liquid tastants, extending previous research. Further, we investigated the test-retest reliability of the test used. Data from 944 healthy subjects were used (498 women and 446 men, mean age 45 years; age range 5-90 years). For lateralized assessment of gustatory function, liquid taste solutions were used with different concentrations of each tastant (sweet 0.03, 0.1, 0.4, 2 g/mL sucrose solution; sour 0.01, 0.05, 0.1, 0.15 mL citric acid; salty 0.025, 0.075, 0.15, 0.36 mL sodium chloride solution; bitter 0.0002, 0.0005, 0.001, 0.01 mL quinine hydrochloride). A drop (approximately 20 ┬ÁL) of liquid tastant was applied on the right side or on the left side of the anterior/posterior third of the extended tongue. The taste test had a good test-retest reliability r (304) = 0.78 (P < 0.001) for the total score and r (304) = 0.77 (P < 0.001) for the right-sided measures and r (304) = 0.75 (P < 0.001) for the left-sided measures, respectively. Gustatory sensitivity was found to decrease with age; women were more sensitive to gustatory stimuli than men. Irrespective of the sex-related differences, the total score at the 10th percentile was 28 in subjects younger than 15 years, 26.1 for ages from 16 to 35 years, 25 for ages from 36 to 55 years, and 24 for subjects older than 56 years of age. In conclusion, this test is recommended for clinical assessment of the ability to taste. The test provides reliable data, which is easy to handle, inexpensive, timesaving and can be self-made.

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