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Howard P. House, 1908-2003

Howard Payne House, M.D., founder of the House Ear Institute (HEI) and pioneering ear specialist, died from heart failure at St. Vincent Medical Center; he was 95 years old.

Howard Payne House, M.D., founder of the House Ear Institute (HEI)and pioneering ear specialist, died from heart failure at St. VincentMedical Center; he was 95 years old. House established HEI in 1946 as aresearch facility dedicated to the advancement of hearing research andpracticed otology at the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles. During his64-year medical career, House treated thousands of patients, includingsome of Hollywood’s brightest stars including Howard Hughes, Bob andDolores Hope, Nanette Fabray, Phyllis Diller, Florence Henderson andformer President Ronald Reagan.

“It is an overwhelming loss for many who found in him a mentor toguide them in their clinical and applied research,” said James D.Boswell, CEO of the House Ear Institute. “By establishing aninternational ear research and education center, Howard providedthousands of ear specialists around the world with the opportunity toattend unique surgical courses and benefit from the Institute’sresearch achievements.”

“Dr. Howard House is an outstanding example of what has made Americagreat,” read a tribute written by former President Ronald Reagan. “Ourcountry is so full of wonderful men and women who, like him, throughdiligent effort and creative drive, have made a tremendous differencein our world and brought to pass amazing scientific discoveries thathave helped countless people everywhere.”

A graduate of University of Southern California Medical School,House perfected the wire loop technique to replace the stapes bone ofthe middle ear and developed procedures to reconstruct middle earparts. Under his leadership, HEI was the first to adapt movie camerasand accessories for use with a surgical microscope to createprofessional, medical training films. In 1947, he was appointedchairman of the Subcommittee on Noise and directed the national studyon industrial noise that set the Occupational Safety and HealthAdministration (OSHA) hearing-conservation standards in use today.House was head of the Department of Otolaryngology at University ofSouthern California School of Medicine from 1952 to 1961 and served onthe faculty as clinical professor of otology.

House is survived by his sons, Kenneth M. House, M.D.; John W.House, M.D.; daughter Carolyn Helmuth; brothers William F. House, M.D.(pioneer of neurotology and the cochlear implant) and James House,D.D.S.; and nine grandchildren. A memorial service for House isplanned, but no details are available at this time. Memorials may bemade to further the research and education that was House’s work.Contributions can be made to the Howard P. House, M.D., Endowment Fundat the House Ear Institute, Development Office, 2100 West Third St.,Fifth Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90057-1922.

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