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What is a cholesteatoma?

  • An expanding cyst comprised of dead skin cells behind the eardrum.
  • May be congenital or acquired.

What causes a cholestatoma?

  • Prolonged retraction of the eardrum.
  • Components of the cyst harbor bacteria, which may lead to infection.
  • Expansion of the infection into the middle ear space may damage the ossicles (middle ear bones).


  • Ear pain, discharge from the ear, dizziness or balance disturbance.
  • Gradual conductive hearing loss (hearing loss in the middle ear) may also occur.


  • Surgical removal of the cholesteatoma may be done to prevent damage to the middle and inner ear.
  • After diagnosis, your ENT physician may choose to monitor your hearing through egularly scheduled hearing tests.
  • An audiologist may help alleviate hearing loss symptoms through the fitting of a hearing aid.

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