What are the symptoms of Bell's palsy?

The symptoms of Bell's palsy, which vary from person to person and range in severity from mild weakness to total paralysis, include twitching, weakness or paralysis on one or both sides of the face, drooping of the eyelid and the corner of the mouth, drooling, dryness of the eye or mouth, impairment of taste, and excessive tear formation in one eye. Mostly, these symptoms, which usually begin suddenly and reach their peak within 48 hours, lead to significant facial distortion.

Other symptoms may include pain or discomfort around the jaw and behind the ear, ringing in one or both ears, headache, loss of taste, hypersensitivity to sound on the affected side, impaired speech, dizziness, and difficulty in eating or drinking.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

You may notice that you cannot smile on one side of your face. Sometimes, patients with Bell’s palsy temporarily cannot close one eyelid completely, which may lead to eye irritation or the feeling of something stuck in the eye.

People with Bell’s palsy may experience facial numbness, although their skin usually retains some sensation. Pain may occur either before the paralysis begins or as it develops. Other symptoms may include:

  • Decreased tear production
  • Blurriness in your vision
  • Diminished taste sensations
  • Distortions or discomfort in your hearing

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.