When my father, Howard P. House, MD, finished his residency in 1937, he traveled to various centers of excellence in the US and Europe, where he spent 18 months watching and learning from the leaders in the field of ear, nose and throat. Howard even met Julius Lempert, MD, a physician in New York who is known today as the Father of Modern Otology. He returned to Los Angeles armed with the knowledge he gained from experts around the world and began to perform procedures to restore hearing to his patients.
Howard’s dream to fund research and professional education came true in 1946 when two of his grateful patients got together and made a generous contribution to launch the Los Angeles Foundation of Otology, known today as the House Institute Foundation (HIF).
In 1970, the first successful implants were performed by William House, MD, Howard House’s brother. Although he was met with resistance, he persisted, and thanks to him, cochlear implants have restored hearing to millions of people around the world. William did not stop there; he found a way to restore hearing to those who could not benefit from a cochlear implant by implanting electrodes directly into the brain.
Today, more than 30,000 physicians worldwide have visited and learned from the experts at the House Clinic. Over the years, there have been many groundbreaking developments such as the use of the operating microscope, improvement of surgical procedures to restore hearing in patients with otosclerosis, the safe removal of tumors of the hearing and balance nerves, the cochlear implant, and the international facial nerve grading system (the House-Brackmann Scale—the most cited paper in ENT literature).
These are only a few examples of all the groundbreaking research that has been accomplished at the Institute, changing the world of hearing science into what we know it as today. Looking back over the past 75 years, HIF faculty and staff have made my father’s dream into a reality. At the House Institute Foundation, we take hearing science and elevate it to an art.
John W. House, MD