A cholesteatoma is growth of abnormal skin that is located in the middle ear behind the eardrum. Causes may include reoccurring infections, a tear, and poor Eustachian tube function. Over time, the cholesteatoma can grow larger and damage the bones of the inner ear, leading to hearing loss.
The most common symptom of a cholesteatoma is gradual hearing loss. Depending on the size and severity of the growth, conservative measures including medication and medically provided cleaning of the ear may halt the growth. Surgical removal is usually required for those larger in size.