What is Cholesteatoma

Cholesteatoma is a form of abnormal skin growth usually resultant from the ear attempting to heal itself following a rupture of the eardrum. Instead of healing normally, skin may begin to grow into the perforated eardrum. Infection can cause this skin to swell with fluid, forming a benign tumor that exerts pressure on the delicate bones of the middle ear and may cause dizziness, conductive or sensorineural hearing loss, and balance problems. Though often described as a tumor of the ear, the presence of a cholesteatoma does not indicate cancer.

Common Causes

The key to preventing a cholesteatoma is the prevention of eardrum perforations. These injuries can have many causes, including sudden loud noises, blows to the ear, and even overzealous or inappropriate cleaning of the ear canal.


Most cholesteatomas are first identified by foul-smelling fluid draining from the afflicted ear, but other symptoms include:

  • Pain and/or pressure in the ear
  • Dizziness
  • Hearing loss
  • Numbness leading to facial paralysis

Treatment Options

If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, contact your physician. After a thorough evaluation to determine the extent of the damage, your doctor may treat the existing infection using antibiotics. You may also be required to return to the office for a series of ear canal cleanings. Once the ear canal is relatively healthy and dry, your specialist will determine whether the growth requires surgical removal. Surgery is recommended for most healthy patients, but your doctor will determine the best treatment course based on your unique condition.

Exposure to loud noise

Certain medications


Head trauma


Eardrum blockage

Jaw joint disorders

Hearing loss

Masking: An electronic device called a masker may be worn to distract from the ringing sensation. Maskers fit in the ear similarly to hearing aids and produce low-level sounds. In addition, bedside sound generators and other devices can also help remove the perception of ringing.

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy:A therapeutic process in which we specialize, and has given relief to many of our patients. Our process is a combination of sound therapy and counseling, which alters the brain’s neural signals and weakens the perception of tinnitus, allowing you to live your daily life far more peacefully.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:A type of counseling that helps to change the body’s emotional reaction to tinnitus by altering negative thought patterns and helping to relieve stress.

Sit or stand 3 to 6 feet away to maximize audibility

Raise your voice slightly

Use short, simple sentences

All my questions were answered, and Dr. Harold Kim gave me all the time I needed. Dr. Harold Kim explained things well and gave detailed answers to my different options.


Very nice. [Dr. Harold Kim] gave information I could understand.


Dr. Harold Kim is knowledgeable, efficient, and a good communicator. Great combo of expertise and professional/personalism. I appreciate being able to get appointments fairly easily at the clinic — flexibility with scheduling and communication.


Forms Download

Ready to Start Your Journey to Better Hearing?

Contact our ENT and hearing professionals today to begin.

Created By
Cascadia IT Services, LLC