A cholesteatoma is a skin growth that occurs in the middle of the ear behind the eardrum, which is considered an abnormal location. This is usually a repeated infection, which oftentimes leads to an ingrowth of the skin in the eardrum. A cholesteatoma may take the form of a cyst or pouch and it then sheds layers of skin that build up inside in the ear. The dangers of cholesteatoma are that over time it may increase in size and negatively affect the surrounding delicate bones that are within the middle ear. In some serious cases cholesteatoma may result in hearing loss, dizziness, and facial muscle paralysis. If you are experiencing any of the below listed symptoms, it is important for you to contact your ENT doctor  right away.



The signs and symptoms of cholesteatoma include the following:

  • Initially, the ear may drain and there may be a foul odor
  • Once the pouch or sac enlarges, you may experience a feeling of pressure or fullness
  • Hearing loss
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle weakness on one side of the face

It is a good idea to seek the attention of your ENT doctor if you or someone you know if experiencing one or more of the above symptoms, as it may be a sign of cholesteatoma or some other condition.



Your ENT doctor will perform an examination in order to confirm the presence of cholesteatoma. If you do have this particular type of growth, an initial cleaning will need to be performed and antibiotics and ear drops will likely be prescribed.If the cholesteatoma is large or complicated, it may require surgical treatment in order to protect the patient from more serious complications. Your ENT doctor may also recommend hearing and balance tests, as well as a CT scan of the temporal bone. These tests are designed to determine the hearing level remaining in the ear and the extent of damage the cholesteatoma has caused. If your cholesteatoma does require surgery, it will be performed with the patient under general anesthesia. The main goal of the surgery is to remove the growth and infection leaving you with an infection-free ear. Your ENT doctor will also work to preserve or restore your hearing during surgery. If left untreated, cholesteatoma can be a serious condition that may cause additional harm to your ear. It is important for you to contact your ENT doctor in order to ensure this condition is properly diagnosed and the appropriate treatment plan is in place.