Cholesteatoma is the abnormal growth of skin cells behind the eardrum that can cause serious permanent damage to your hearing, balance, and brain.

Cholesteatomas are destructive cysts found in the middle ear, and can be contracted at any point in your life. They can be a result of a tear in the ear drum, and can result in a strong-smelling discharge from the ear (usually yellow or brown), dizziness, hearing loss, vertigo, ear aches, difficulty balancing, headaches, facial nerve weakness, or ringing in the ears. However, some cholesteatomas do not cause any symptoms.

What Are The Symptoms Of Cholesteatoma?

Symptoms can include a feeling of fullness, dizziness, earache, drainage from the ear, and hearing loss. These symptoms are also very common with a variety of other conditions, so the best way to get a definite diagnosis is with a CT scan. Cholesteatomas will keep growing if they are not treated and can have the following complications:

  • Deafness
  • Facial paralysis
  • Brain abscess
  • Meningitis

Are Cholesteatomas Treatable?

Cholesteatomas can be removed with surgery, which may also include a mastoidectomy to remove a small portion of mastoid process bone that may be contributing to the problem. If they are not treated, they cause deafness, vertigo, nerve deterioration, imbalance, and severe infections.

A comprehensive evaluation with an ENT surgeon and an audiologist is critical to the treatment and recovery from a cholesteatoma.