Cholesteatoma is a disease of the ear that can cause deafness. A person with cholesteatoma suffers from an epithelial skin cist that grows in the middle ear and mastoid. While cholesteatoma is not cancer, it can cause the destruction of the tissue and bone surrounding the cyst, resulting in deafness.
Although doctors are still not sure what causes cholesteatoma, most agree that the cyst forms due to improper functioning of the Eustachian tube, which drains mucus and equalizes pressure in the ear. In addition, doctors link cholesteatoma with ear infections.
One of the biggest problems associated with cholesteatoma is the fact that the cysts grow slowly, so patients may not be aware of them, although they are jeopardizing their hearing.