We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Herpes Zoster Oticus?

By Christina Edwards
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Commonly referred to as Ramsay Hunt syndrome type II, herpes zoster oticus is a disease that affects a bundle of nerve cells in the ear. It is typically a complication of herpes zoster, or shingles. Symptoms include pain and a variety of other problems in the ear, as well as problems in the mouth and eyes.

Herpes zoster oticus is believed to be caused by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus, which causes chickenpox. It happens in a number of shingles patients, and occurs when this virus infects the seventh or eighth cranial, or facial, nerves. These specific nerves are responsible for a number of things, including facial movements, saliva and tear production, transmitting sound to the brain, and balance.

The most commonly reported symptom is typically intense ear pain. Hearing loss or ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus, sometimes occurs, and because this virus affects the part of the ear that regulates equilibrium, a person with this condition may have balance problems or become dizzy easily. A rash and blisters, similar to those of chickenpox and shingles, may also be present on both the inner and the outer ear, as well as the roof of the mouth and the tongue.

A change in one's sense of taste may occur in patients with this disease. Saliva and tear production may also slow down or even cease, resulting in taste changes, as well as dry eyes. Some patients with herpes zoster oticus also report partial facial paralysis or weakness.

Herpes zoster oticus can be mistaken for a condition known as Bell's palsy because these conditions have very similar symptoms. In Bell's palsy cases, however, there is no rash. Diagnosing the condition is usually done after a complete examination of a patient and his symptoms. Samples of fluids from blister sites may also be sent to a lab to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment for this disease can vary, depending on the severity of the symptoms and how long the disease has been present. Some patients may not require any treatment at all, while others may be prescribed certain antiviral medications like acyclovir or famciclovir. Corticosteroids and pain medication may also be prescribed.

Although nearly everyone can get this disease, there are a few types of individuals that are more at risk than others. For example, research has shown that elderly people are more at risk than younger people. People with weakened immune systems are also considered to be more likely to suffer from herpes zoster oticus.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.