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Getting to Know Dr House

It was on this date (Dec. 7, 2012) that Dr. William F. House died in Oregon at the age of 89.

image from House Ear Institute

Dr. House is credited with installing the first cochlear implant in 1961. He was told by experts the electric current he was using would destroy the ear, but that didn't stop him. He believed in what implants could do to change someone's life. Here's a little about him:

  • Known as the "father of neurotology."

  • He received his doctorate in dentistry from the University of California at Berkeley.

  • Practiced medicine in Newport Beach, California until 2000, when he moved to Aurora, Oregon, next door to his son.

  • His cochlear implant was approved by the FDA in 1984.

  • When he started performing the cochlear surgery on children some claimed he was just after money.

  • His half-brother, Howard P. House founded the House Ear Institute which became the House Research Institute.

  • He completed some 3,000 implants throughout his career.

  • Developed a new approach to removing tumors on the nerve that connects the ear to the brain.

  • Created a new surgical procedure for Meniere's disease, an inner ear disorder contracted by Astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space. He couldn't have flown to the moon had it not been for House's surgery. He wrote a memoir called The Struggles of a Medical Innovator.


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