Jun 10, 2022 - Health

Justin Bieber has Ramsay Hunt syndrome. Here's what we know about it

Singer Justin Bieber attends an NBA game. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Singer Justin Bieber attends an NBA game. Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Justin Bieber announced Friday that he will take a break from performing after being diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome.

Why it matters: The syndrome can leave people with hearing loss and facial weakness if left untreated.

Driving the news: Bieber described in a video that Ramsay Hunt is a "virus that attacks the nerve in my ear and my facial nerves and has caused my face to have paralysis."

  • "As you can see, this eye is not blinking," he said as he pointed to his face in the video. "I can't smile on this side of my face. This nostril will not move. So there's full paralysis on this side of my face."

The big picture: Ramsay Hunt syndrome happens when a shingles outbreak affects the facial nerve near the ear, per the Mayo Clinic.

  • Shingles and Ramsay Hunt syndrome are caused by the virus that causes chickenpox. Those who had chickenpox are at risk for shingles.

Symptoms: The syndrome can lead to a painful rash and severe pain in the ear.

  • It can also create the sensation of things spinning, according to Mount Sinai Health System.
  • It can cause facial paralysis and hearing loss near the impacted ear..
  • Ramsay Hunt can cause permanent facial muscle weakness and deafness if it is not treated promptly, per the Mayo Clinic.

Treatment: Ramsay Hunt syndrome can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs such as steroids. Antiviral medicines can also be given.

  • Mount Sinai recommends people wear an eye patch to prevent injury to the cornea and other damage to the eye.
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