We present the case of a 47-year-old woman with left otalgia, rotatory vertigo, sensorineural hearing loss and acute facial nerve palsy. An enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan showed discrete enhancement of the facial and vestibulocochlear nerves in the left internal auditory canal as well as of the labyrinth. This appearance was compatible with that in Ramsay Hunt syndrome and acyclovir was started prior to the appearance of any vesicular eruption. The diagnosis was subsequently confirmed serologically. She regained full facial function but the sensorineural hearing loss persisted. The literature pertaining to the role of the MRI in acute facial palsies is reviewed.