Ear shingles: What are the signs?

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Shingles is an infection brought about by the herpes zoster virus which is also responsible for chicken pox. The condition arises among those who had chicken pox where the virus in the nerve is reactivated.

The condition triggers a sore rash on one side of the body and can involve the ears. It is important to note that the virus can also affect the facial nerve which supplies the facial muscles which is specifically known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome. This results to the formation of rashes around the ears along with facial paralysis.

Usual signs of ear shingles


Ear shingles starts as a reddened and painful rash on the eardrum. Blisters are also present which form on the external ear, canal, eardrum, neck and mouth. Take note that these blisters might ooze and drain a watery discharge.

Swelling and infection of the inner ear structures can affect balance and hearing on the side where the rash is.

Facial paralysis

It is important to note that the virus also involves the facial nerve close to the inner ear. This results to weakness of the muscles surrounding the mouth and eye. The smile of the individual appears twisted and there is difficulty in closing the eye. In addition, there are changes in the taste and a dry eye.

Ear symptoms

Swelling and infection of the inner ear structures can affect balance and hearing on the side where the rash is. Take note that hearing loss is seen in almost half of cases. Oftentimes, the hearing loss might be permanent.

The individual will experience a spinning and rotating feeling known as vertigo that can last for a few days up to weeks. Ringing sounds are also present if the individual has ear shingles. In addition, there is intense pain deep inside the ear. The pain typically arises a few hours prior the manifestation of the rash.

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