What Is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome? What To Know About Justin Bieber's Diagnosis

By Dani Medina

June 11, 2022

Photo: Getty Images

Justin Bieber revealed Friday (June 10) he has Ramsay Hunt syndrome, a medical condition that has left the right side of his face paralyzed.

In a nearly 3-minute-video, the "Ghost" singer announced he would be postponing his "Justice Tour" while he rests and recovers from his diagnosis. He said he's "gonna get better," but was also transparent about what he's currently going through:

"It is from this virus that attacks the nerve in my ear, my facial nerves, and has caused my face to have paralysis. As you can see, this eye is not blinking, 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. So, for those who are frustrated by my cancelations of the next shows, I’m just physically, obviously not capable of doing them. This is pretty serious, as you can see. I wish this wasn’t the case, but obviously my body’s telling me I gotta slow down. I hope you guys understand.
"I’ll be using this time to just rest and relax, and get back to 100% so that I can do what I was born to do. But in the meantime, this ain’t it. I gotta go get my rest on so that I can get my face back to where it’s supposed to be. I love you guys. Thanks for being patient with me. I’m gonna get better. I’m doing all these facial exercises to get my face back to normal, and it will go back to normal. It’s just time. We don’t know how much time it’s gonna be, but it’s gonna be OK. I have hope, and I trust God and I trust that this is all gonna — it’s all for a reason. I’m not sure what that is right now, but in the meantime, I’m gonna rest. I love you guys. Peace."

Here are some things to know about Ramsay Hunt syndrome, according to Mount Sinai:

Causes of Ramsay Hunt syndrome

Ramsay Hunt syndrome is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox and shingles. The virus infects the facial nerve near the inner ear, which leads to irritation and swelling of the nerve.

Symptoms of Ramsay Hunt syndrome

  • Severe ear pain
  • Painful rash on the eardrum, ear canal, earlobe, tongue and roof of mouth on the side with the affected nerve
  • Hearing loss on one side
  • Vertigo
  • Weakness on one side of the face that causes difficulty closing one eye, eating, making facial expressions, facial droop and paralysis

How to treat Ramsay Hunt syndrome

Steroids like prednisone or antiviral medicines are usually given to the patient. Pain killers are also needed if pain continues.

How long Ramsay Hunt syndrome recovery takes

Some Ramsay Hunt syndrome patients recover within a few weeks if there's not much damage to the nerve. If damage is more severe, a full recovery might be unlikely, even after several months.

Possible complications of Ramsay Hunt syndrome

  • Disfigurement from loss of movement
  • Change in taste
  • Damage to the eye, loss of vision
  • Nerves growing back to the wrong structures that cause abnormal reactions to a movement
  • Persistent pain
  • Face muscle or eyelid spasms

To learn more about Ramsay Hunt syndrome, click here.

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