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What causes numbness and tingling sensation in the outer part of the ear?

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Neurologist
Practicing since : 1988
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What could cause tingling/numb sensation in the outer part of ear on left side of head?
Sat, 16 Jun 2018 in Brain and Spine
 
 
Answered by Dr. Dariush Saghafi 16 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Variety of causes- but list is NOT exhaustive though fairly comprehensive

Detailed Answer:
Good afternoon and thank you for your question.

There are several potential causes for the symptom that you are mentioning.

1. Compression or "pinching" of one of the upper cervical spinal roots, most commonly C2 or C3. This could be part of a larger syndromic picture referred to as the CERVICAL SYNDROME but if at this time your only symptom is what you mention then, we would simply restrict the diagnostic possibility to a compression of a cervical root by whatever the process whether it be due to mechanical considerations or degenerative arthritis, etc.

2. Metabolic imbalances such as Vitamin D, B12, folate deficiencies.

3. Prodrome of any sort of viral infection but most notably something such as herpes simplex that could be related to Bell's palsy or a herpetic rash that could manifest itself or change in nature as may happen in varicella zoster

4. Cerebrovascular cause which I believe is one of the most UNLIKELY causes to worry about in someone of your age although I must also say that I have no other information to base your overall state of general health so we should not entirely discard that from the list of possibilities....but it would certainly one of the least likely things to worry about.

5. Demyelinating types of diseases in the nervous system involving the trigeminal nerve within the central pathway from brainstem to the face by any process such as MS or sarcoidosis although again, I believe that as in #4 this is a less likely possibility without more information compared to other options I've mentioned above.

6. Finally, stress/anxiety can also cause numbness and tingling sensations in the face most notably and usually on one side or the other but almost never both at once.

If I've provided useful and helpful information to your questions could you do me a huge favor by CLOSING THE QUERY and be sure to include some fine words of feedback along with a 5 STAR rating? Again, many thanks for submitting your inquiry and please let me know how things turn out.

Do not forget to contact me in the future at: www.bit.ly/drdariushsaghafi for additional questions, comments, or concerns having to do with this topic or others.

This query has utilized a total of 15 minutes of professional time in research, review, and synthesis for the purpose of formulating a return statement.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: What causes numbness and tingling sensation in the outer part of the ear? 30 minutes later
This strange tingling/numbness started back in July 2017. I nodule was then found on my thyroid and I had surgery to remove it in August (non cancerous). I’m currently on Synthroid. I also have TMJ and have had anxiety in the past however the anxiety I believe had a lot to do with the thyroid. Does that information change your perspective?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Dariush Saghafi 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Does not change the list of what I originally presented

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for that clarification but the list I generated for you was in direct to your question of what could possibly cause the symptoms of numbness and tingling of the ear as you described.

Therefore, the additional information doesn't really change that list of possibilities. What I might add based on the above information is that under METABOLIC causes of paresthesias in the face could also be a thyroid deficiency of some sort and so now that you mention the nodule I might recommend that a thyroid panel of tests be run to include AT LEAST and FT4 AND TSH. If one were to also include TT3 and FT3 as well I think that would be appropriate given the history of a benign nodule but in my opinion the FT4 and TSH are sufficient to look at. If those labs show abnormalities of any type then, perhaps appropriate treatment would resolve the symptoms. If not abnormal then, the symptoms are not due to any thyroid involvement.

Cheers!

Once again- if I've provided useful and helpful information to your questions could you remember to include positive feedback and a 5 STAR rating on this set of questions? I'd be very grateful.

Do not forget to contact me in the future at: www.bit.ly/drdariushsaghafi for additional questions, comments, or concerns having to do with this topic and I would certainly be interested in knowing any details of a workup if you chose to pursue one and get any testing ordered.

This query has utilized a total of 23 minutes of professional time in research, review, and synthesis for the purpose of formulating a return statement.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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