Children smell test

The children smell test U-Sniff was developed by Burghart and can be used to assess the odor function in children aged 6 to 17 years. This children smell test exist out of 12 Sniffin’ Sticks which are pens filled with 12 different odors. The test results of this children smell test can be used to differentiate between Normosmia, Hyposmia and Anosmia. The development of this children’s smell test was urgently needed because testing the sense of smell in children is an underexposed topic. With the advent of the U-Sniff odor test, children can now also be tested reliably.

On this page you will find background information about the odor test based on this research.

Olfactory dysfunction in children

Olfactory dysfunction is frequent. Several large population based studies reported that the prevalence of olfactory dysfunction is 19-24%. However, the frequency of olfactory dysfunction in children is still unknown. The most frequently used smell tests in adults are the Sensonics scratch-and-sniff tests (such as the UPSIT) and the Burghart Sniffin’ Sticks tests. In part because of their limited attention span and unfamiliarity with the odors, it is a challenge to evaluate olfactory function in children using either one of these tests.

Previous studies showed that olfactory identification performance on the two tests in children is lower than that of adults. However, the performance on the “Sniffin’ Sticks” test and UPSIT may not accurately represent the children’s olfactory ability. Therefore, there are several odor identification tests which have been developed for children but unfortunately these tests are not used widely, partly because most of them are not commercially available and they have not been examined in a cross-cultural fashion.

U-Sniff children smell test

To overcome these issues, Schriever and colleagues developed an international 12-item odor identification test, the U-Sniff test. The U-Sniff test shows a high test-retest reliability (r=0.83), and was validated in children with isolated congenital anosmia (ICA). The results showed that the test allows to distinguish children with normosmia from children with ICA with a sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 86%. In addition, normative data were established for 19 countries (Africa: Egypt; America: Canada, Chile, Mexico, United States; Asia: India, Japan; Europe: Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom). In a further study, Gellrich and colleagues provided normative data for the U-Sniff test for a large sample of children and adolescents aged 6-17 years. However, most of the 19 countries included in the study by Schriever and colleagues are from Europe and America. In this study the results were extended with 8 additional countries: China, Germany, Iran, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Paraguay, and Russia. The conclusion of this study is that the 12-item U-Sniff test for children has a high test-retest reliability in the eight countries investigated in the current study, and can be used globally, as now shown for a total of 27 countries.

Test procedure children smell test

u sniff children smell test
Answering cards U-Sniff

The U-Sniff children smell identification test includes 12 Sniffin’ Sticks with 12 different odors: apple, banana, butter, coffee, cut grass, fish, flower, lemon, onion, orange, peach, and strawberry. Each odor is presented to the test person by using the Sniffin’ Stick. Each item was presented separately by uncapping the Sniffin’ Stick and keeping the stick approximately 2 cm for 2-3 seconds beneath the child’s nose. Children were asked to identify each odor with the help of four descriptors. Before odor presentation, the descriptors (pictures and words) were shown and read to the children, and then, after odor presentation, the children were asked to identify the smell. This was based on previous work showing that presenting the descriptors first leads to better results than presenting the odor first. If uncertain, the child was allowed to smell the odor up to three times. No immediate feedback as to the accuracy of the responses was given to the children.

Ordering information U-Sniff identification test

You can easily order the U-Sniff children smell test through our webshop or by sending your purchase order to The test will be delivered including a holder, instructions for use and evaluation material. The materials are available in German and English. Because the answering cards contains recognizable images the tests can be used two test children worldwide. The evaluation is very easily achieved by means of a template matching the evaluation sheet.

U-Sniff Children Smell Test