External signs and symptoms of Bell's palsy include paralysis, weakness or drooping on one side of the face, drooling, and difficulty making expressions, explains WebMD. Increased sensitivity to sound, headaches and aching behind the ear are other common symptoms. Bell's palsy may affect tear and saliva production as well as the ability to taste.
Most symptoms, such as increased sensitivity to sound and pain in the jaw, appear only on the side affected by the facial paralysis and drooping, notes WebMD. While the condition typically only affects facial nerves on one side, some people may have drooping on both sides of the face.
People with this condition should seek medical attention for drooping on one side of the face so doctors can determine the root cause. Though Bell's palsy presents with facial paralysis, the condition is not associated with paralysis in any other body parts. Patients experiencing muscle weakness or paralysis on their limbs or on one side of the body may be experiencing a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke, notes WebMD.
Bell's palsy is linked to inflammation of the facial nerves, while strokes and TIAs result from blood clots in the brain, according to WebMD. Patients with Bell's palsy often recover on their own, though corticosteroids and physical therapy may aid in recovery. By comparison, those with strokes or TIAs may suffer permanent brain damage. Since all three conditions may cause facial drooping, determining the cause of that symptom leads to more effective treatment.