Child Wellness: Cholesteatoma
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Ear infections in children are not uncommon nor are they dangerous, but left untreated, the side effects can be serious.
Up until the age of 8 or 9, part of the ear called the eustachian tube is not fully developed, predisposing kids to ear infections. Some can become chronic, increasing the risk for developing cholesteatoma where skin can grow through the ear drum to the middle ear.
"That causes a reaction within the middle ear that is kind of like an little aggressive tumor that can hurt the hearing and it can grow into the brain and cause brain infections and grow into the facial nerve that makes the face work and cause facial nerve paralysis," neurologist Dr. David Foyt said.
Symptoms may include dizziness or muscle weakness on one side of the the face. Hearing loss is a risk.
"Cholesteatoma will most commonly erode the hearing bones and cause a hearing loss that is correctable, but it can also grow in inner ear and cause hearing loss (that is) more permanent," Dr. Foyt said.
Surgeons using lasers can precisely remove the tumor. Most of the hearing loss after surgery is expected to be recovered.