Justin Bieber’s Journey with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Popular Canadian singer Justin Bieber stunned the world when he announced he was diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome following his facial paralysis.

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Ramsay Hunt syndrome (herpes zoster oticus) occurs when a shingles outbreak affects the facial nerve near one of your ears. In addition to the painful shingles rash, Ramsay Hunt syndrome can cause facial paralysis and hearing loss in the affected ear.

Ramsay Hunt syndrome is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After chickenpox clears up, the virus still lives in your nerves. Years later, it may reactivate. When it does, it can affect your facial nerves.


The two main signs and symptoms of Ramsay Hunt syndrome are:

  • A painful red rash with fluid-filled blisters on, in, and around one ear
  • Facial weakness or paralysis on the same side as the affected ear

Usually, the rash and the facial paralysis occur at the same time. Sometimes one can happen before the other. Other times, the rash never occurs.

If you have Ramsay Hunt syndrome, you might also experience:

  • Ear pain
  • Hearing loss
  • Ringing in your ears (tinnitus)
  • Difficulty closing one eye
  • A sensation of spinning or moving (vertigo)
  • A change in taste perception or loss of taste
  • Dry mouth and eyes


Ramsay Hunt syndrome occurs in people who’ve had chickenpox. Once you recover from chickenpox, the virus stays in your body — sometimes reactivating in later years to cause shingles, a painful rash with fluid-filled blisters.

Ramsay Hunt syndrome is a shingles outbreak that affects the facial nerve near one of your ears. It can also cause one-sided facial paralysis and hearing loss.

A Shocking Announcement

Fans of Bieber were in awe after he shared the announcement via Instagram. The video showed Bieber with facial paralysis on one side of his face as he went on to explain his diagnosis of Ramsay Hunt syndrome. Despite the syndrome being more common in those who are older than 60, the 28-year-old has found himself dealing with the neurological disorder.

He also announced he would be taking a break from his Justice World Tour since he is physically unable to perform and needs to give his body a chance to have a break. Bieber shared he has also started facial exercises to help his facial paralysis and mitigate any permanent damage.

He has used his social medias to keep his fans updated as he comes to term with his diagnosis, including both his struggles and accomplishments. Bieber openly shared his frustrations as it has become more difficult for him to eat with his paralysis. However, he also used Instagram to share a hopeful message, saying he has found comfort in his connection to his religion.

Increasing Awareness

Ramsay Hunt syndrome is not as common of a varicella-zoster virus reactivation compared to shingles, affecting only five out of every 100,000 people in the U.S. each year. However, Bieber’s diagnosis has led to people researching and spreading awareness about the disease. As people continue to wish for Bieber’s swift and successful recovery, they are educating people about the disease since early diagnosis is key for treatment success.

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