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A cholesteatoma is a type of cyst found in the middle ear behind the eardrum. It is a noncancerous tumor.
A cholesteatoma forms when the skin grows through the hole in the middle of the ear. It can occur due to a damaged eardrum or a defect at birth.
Factors that increase your risk of a cholesteatoma include:
- Chronic ear infections
- A poorly functioning eustachian tube
- Down syndrome
- Turner syndrome
- Cleft palate
- Abnormalities of the bones of the skull and face
- A family history of chronic middle ear disease or cholesteatoma
- Hearing loss
- Discharge from the ear, sometimes foul-smelling
- Pressure in the ear
- Numbness of the ear
- A sensation of spinning
- Muscle weakness in the face on the affected side