UF Health Shands Hospital will begin a new program in early 2018 to provide clinical and educational expertise to patients with smell disorders.

The program is being developed through the combined efforts of physicians in UF Health’s Department of Otolaryngology — the study of the ear, nose and throat — and researchers with UF’s Center for Smell and Taste.

Steven Munger, director of the UF Center for Smell and Taste, that a smell disorder is anything that impacts your sense of smell. Five to 15 percent of the population have some level of a smell disorder, or about 16 million people in the U.S.

“A smell impairment is silent,” Munger said. “You can’t tell if someone has it unless they tell you.”

Patients will be able to go to the clinic, located at 200 SW 62nd Blvd., for a diagnosis. The clinic is a combination of care and educational and emotional support, Munger said.

The program will work with patients throughout their life to improve their standard of living, he said.

Kelly Allocco said she misses the smells of coffee brewing and bacon sizzling ever since a sinus infection left her without her senses of smell and taste. She said she’s excited for the center’s research.

“The sad thing is no one can tell you if you will ever regain your sense of smell,” Allocco said. “There is no treatment and little research.”