The Real Dr. House, R.I.P.
December 13, 2012 3:53 PM   Subscribe

William F. House, known by many in the field as the "Father of Neurotology," has died at the age of 89. Dr. House is credited with developing the cochlear implant, pioneering the use of the operative microscope in ear and brain surgery, and, with his brother Howard, establishing the House Ear Institute.

The cochlear implant, which Dr. House developed despite opposition from the ENT community at the time, has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of hearing impaired and profoundly deaf children and adults, by making everyday sounds audible.

One of Dr. House's most famous patients was astronaut Alan Shepard, who, after becoming the first American in space, was grounded due to debilitating vertigo from Meniere's disease. House developed and performed an endolymphatic shunt procedure on Shepard, who was then able to return to space on Apollo 14.

(And I must include a previous thread that shows an 8-month-old baby's cochlear implant activation.)
posted by robstercraw (2 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Every ENT I've known has spoken highly of the House Ear Institute. I went to it for a while for my Meniere's when it got rather bad shortly after I loved to LA. The doctor I saw (not House) was really top-notch and the Institute overall was pretty impressive (even the giant mock-up of the inner ear in the lobby). But he was also I thought just a little too convinced that an endolymphatic shunt was the only way to go for serious treatment. I did quite a bit of reading through medical journals and the evidence for its efficacy seemed less strong than he suggested, particularly with regards to very new literature. Still, to his credit, he never pushed the procedure on me and only said it was the way to go if things got worse. They didn't - and then I moved from LA and sold my car, and now the tinnitus and partial deafness are the only things that remind me I have Meniere's. While I don't think the treatment for Meniere's is as clear-cut as HEI thinks, I very much appreciate their overall remarkable contribution to the field.
posted by williampratt at 4:39 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


My parents took me to the House Ear Institute when I was a toddler, shortly after they learned/realized that I was hard-of-hearing. Ultimately, there was little the Institute could do for my particular condition, but I remember that the staff and doctors were wonderfully kind and reassuring. They convinced my family that my hearing loss didn't have to be limiting, during what was surely a scary and uncertain time for them.
posted by arianell at 7:04 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

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