Although relatively uncommon in the community, ‘cholesteatoma’ is a common cause of hearing loss and ear infection seen among ENT surgeons. In essence, cholesteatoma is a collection of abnormal skin growing within the middle ear and related bony spaces (the ‘mastoid’). If left untreated cholesteatoma can cause serious damage to the hearing bones, inner ear, skull base and brain. Cholesteatoma is a complex and chronic disease, and usually requires at least two surgeries and prolonged follow-up by your ENT surgeon. By definition, cholesteatoma is “squamous (dry) skin within the middle ear and mastoid which tends to recur”. As a result, it is essential that patients with cholesteatoma be managed by an ENT surgeon with expertise in the disease and its treatment options, and it is important patients select a surgeon they are comfortable seeing over a number of years.