Cultural Adaptation of Sniffin’ Sticks Smell Identification Test: The Malaysian Version

Document Type: Original

Authors

1 Department of Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

2 Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

10.22038/ijorl.2019.34346.2138

Abstract

Introduction:
Sniffin’ Sticks smell identification test is a tool used for evaluation of olfactory function but the results are culture-dependent. It relies on the subject’s familiarity to the odorant and descriptors. This study aims to develop the Malaysian version of Sniffin’ Sticks smell identification test suitable for local population usage.
Materials and Methods:  
The odorant descriptors and distractors of the original version of Sniffin’ Sticks were translated into Malay language. It was then tested for familiarity and identifiability in 30 normosmic subjects. The descriptors were replaced until the familiarity of all descriptors and identification rates of odorants achieved ≥ 70%. The validity of the new cultural-adapted version was tested in 60 hypo-anosmic subjects and 60 normosmic subjects with Student t-test. The test-retest reliability was evaluated after two weeks with interclass correlation.
Results:
Two odorant descriptors and nine distractors achieved familiarity <70% (13.3% - 66.7%) and were replaced. Another three culturally inappropriate distractors were also replaced. The mean score among the healthy subjects was significantly higher than the subject with smell dysfunction [13.7 (1.12) and 7.3 (3.42); t= 7.24 (df= 34.23), P<0.001]. The coefficient of correlation (r) between test and retest scores was 0.93 (P<0.001).
Conclusion:
The cultural adapted Malaysian version of Sniffin’ Sticks smell identification test is valid and has high test-retest reliability. This is the first smell identification test validated in Malaysia. It is effective for evaluation of olfactory function in local population.

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