William F. House D.D.S., M.D. is called “the Father of Neurotology”—the treatment of inner ear disorders. In this fascinating memoir, he describes his struggles to introduce new ideas to ear surgery and how medical professionals were always slow to accept his “radical” approaches. He tells of dental school, time as a dental officer in the U.S. Navy and his medical training, including time at Los Angeles County Hospital. Seven chapters each describe a problem in the treatment of ear disease and hearing loss and how he went about finding solutions. These chapters give insight into the thought processes of this giant in his field; including his use of the operating microscope for ear surgery, development of surgical approaches to remove tumors on the hearing nerve without killing the patient, and a surgical treatment for Ménière’s disease that enabled one of his patients, the astronaut Alan Shepard, to fly to the moon. Perhaps his greatest achievement was the first cochlear implant, allowing so many to leave their silent worlds. Dr. House gives readers an inside look at his development of this revolutionary device and the significant opposition he faced in trying to make it a clinical reality. The controversy, struggles and ultimate success of this work is a story of commitment and dedication. He also tells of his experiences with the entertainment industry, the legal system, his world travels, and more. Finally, we hear from many of the doctors he helped to train and grateful cochlear implant patients, among others. An Appendix discusses in technical detail Dr. House’s theory about how cochlear implants work.
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Dr. William F. House obtained a doctorate of dental surgery from the University of California, Berkeley and his medical degree from the University of Southern California’s School of Medicine in Los Angeles. Board certified in otolaryngology, he dealt with problems of hearing loss, including removal of tumors from the auditory nerve and the cochlear implant, which he developed in the face of great skepticism, criticism, and censure by professional colleagues. He is noted by the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery to have developed more new concepts in otology than almost any other single person in history. He has received many awards in his lifetime, including the Physician of the Year award in 1985 by the President’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped. He is retired but continues to think about and try to solve problems of hearing loss, such as the early detection of hearing loss in infants.
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