What Are the Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy?

Medically Reviewed by Christopher Melinosky, MD on October 16, 2020

The symptoms of Bell’s palsy tend to come on all of a sudden. You may go to bed one night feeling fine. But when you look in the mirror the next morning, you see that part of your face seems to be drooping.

Some people feel pain behind their ear 1-2 days before they notice any weakness. Others say that sounds seem much louder than normal in the days before they see any other symptoms.

You might also notice the following things before the onset of Bell’s palsy (remember that these symptoms will probably only happen on one side of your face):

  • You’re unable to close your eyelid or blink
  • Your eye is drier than usual because of difficulty closing the eyelid or blinking
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Decreased sense of taste
  • Your facial muscles twitch
  • Pain or numbness behind your ear

Facial weakness and drooping typically reach their peak within a day or two. Most people start to feel better within a couple of weeks. They usually recover completely within 3 months. Some people who develop Bell's palsy have a longer recovery period. In rare cases, they may have some permanent symptoms.

WebMD Medical Reference



NIH, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “Bell’s Palsy Fact Sheet.”

Merck Manual: “Bell Palsy.”

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