Bell's Palsy: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 2/22/2021

Bell's palsy is a condition involving damage to or loss of function of the facial nerve. There are two facial nerves, one on each side of the face, and these nerves control facial movement.

Bell's palsy typically occurs on one side of the face and comes on suddenly, sometimes overnight. Associated signs and symptoms can include

  • disordered movement of the muscles that control facial expressions,
  • loss of feeling in the face,
  • headache,
  • tearing,
  • drooling,
  • loss of the sense of taste on the front two-thirds of the tongue,
  • hypersensitivity to sound in the affected ear (hyperacusis), or the
  • inability to close the eye on the affected side of the face.

Cause of Bell's palsy

Bell's palsy refers to the paralysis of the facial nerve without a known cause, although there are many known causes of facial nerve damage such as trauma, tumors, toxins, and neurologic diseases.

Other bell's palsy symptoms and signs

  • Disordered Movement of the Muscles That Control Facial Expressions
  • Drooling
  • Headache
  • Hypersensitivity to Sound in the Affected Ear (Hyperacusis)
  • Inability to Close the Eye on the Affected Side of the Face
  • Loss of Feeling in the Face
  • Loss of the Sense of Taste on the Front Two-Thirds of the Tongue
  • Tearing

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References
Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.