For smell, the most sensitive of our senses, it is enough that few odorous molecules reach the olfactory epithelium so that the nervous system transmits signals to the brain center, which receives them and distinguishes thousands of smells.
With the years sensitivity decreases, but except for anatomical dysfunctions, irritating or harmful external aggressions, remains with sufficient capacity.
As for taste, although it is independent of smell, it is seen enhanced by it since the nerve connection that originates on the papillae of the tongue shares the same receptor center in the brain.
And just as the papillae receives flavor molecules through saliva, the smell requires molecules to enter the nose on contact of the air with the cilia.
Total laryngectomy means that, when breathing through the stoma, the upper airways remain inactive - the air no longer enters and leaves through the nose - and, also, that salivation decreases.
Thus, in the case smell anosmia or hyposmia occurs and, in the case of taste, it is increased by deficiency olfactory, ageusia or hypogeusia. (Loss or decrease in the uptake of odors and loss or decrement of the ability to taste.)
The ability to taste is not usually lost, although it is diminished and altered by the lack of smell, especially if receiving radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment.
However, in general it is recovering well for the simple act of eating.
Even so, it can happen that some flavors feel increased and others decreased and this effect becomes normal with the passage of time.
Some still have hypersensitivity to salty and spicy flavors, and when they have tried drinking a sip of wine, they have noticed a lot of the burning of the alcohol and little of the taste of the wine itself.
Salivation is recovered by drinking water, limiting the ingestion of dairy products, chewing and talking, also thinking about tasty foods and the visual stimulus that food can elicit; the capture of odors, reactivating the passage of air through the nose. In fact, many laryngectomees do not reach the total atrophy of the olfactory system and perceive odors whose molecules have a high environmental concentration.
However, if some system of induction of the passage of air through the upper respiratory tract is not exercised that makes the odorous molecules reach the olfactory epithelium, its atrophy can be definitive.