Condition of the middle ear that generally starts with a hole in the ear drum; usually in the upper part of the drum. This can become infected and the ear drum sheds dead skin which mixes with other debris in the ear to form a mass – called a cholesteatoma.
If left untreated this mass can grow causing damage to different parts of the ear; leading to hearing loss, tinnitus and sometimes balance problems. In very severe cases it can cause meningitis or brain infections, although this is very rare. There are two types of Cholesteatoma: acquired and congenital. Acquired Cholesteatoma is more common, while the congenital are less common and occur as cysts deep within the ear drum. Congenital Cholesteatoma occur in three places: the middle ear, Petrous apex and the cerebropontine angle.
Accordig to a study in Iowa from 1975-6 there was only one case within 10 000 people who are affected by this condition. It affects people of all age, gender. Symptooms for this condition inlcude: pain, balance disruption, tinnitus, ear ache, headaches and bleeding from the ear. It is very important for a person who have any of the symptoms to go to the doctor, and not allow it to go any further. It is a treated condition.