William House was one of the pioneers of Cochlear Implants. He invented one of the first implants which was a forerunner to the current cochlear implants sold currently.


William House moved out of implant design and manufacturer. His brother Howard, also a CI surgeon, established what is now known as the House Research Institute. The House Research Institute has been a world leader in the hearing-implant field.

House Research Institute’s historical advancements in hearing sciences include the development of the first clinically useful cochlear implant and auditory brainstem implant as well as the introduction of the first the middle cranial fossa and then the translabyrinthine approach for removal of acoustic neuromas. The translabyrinthine approach uses the operating microscope and reduced mortality rates from 40% (in California) to less than 1%. It has also developed a variety of diagnostic tests, including the Hearing In Noise Test (HINT), the first hearing test that measures an individual’s functional hearing ability in everyday environments where background noise is present (see also: King-Kopetzky syndrome), the ABaer screening device for detecting hearing loss in infants, and the Stacked ABR, a highly accurate screening device to detect the presence or absence of acoustic neuromas.

House Research Institute and its companion facility, House Ear Clinic, are affiliated with the University of Southern California School of Medicine and provide instruction in otology to theotolaryngology residents at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. The doctors at the House Ear Institute and Clinic have trained two to three Clinical Fellows a year in Otology Fellowship after completion of ENT residency. Through the Clinical Otology Fellowships, about one hundred fully trained otologists have carried the House techniques around the world and to other clinical training programs. Through one and two week surgical temporal bone courses, thousands of doctors from every continent have come to study ear surgery. To date, over 22,000 doctors have received training in their facilities.

In 2008 the William House Cochlear Implant Study Group published a Position Statement on Bilateral Cochlear Implantation. Here is that statement:

Although unilateral CI generally provides good speech understanding in quiet and has been highly successful in the rehabilitation of hearing-impaired adults and children, patients with only 1 CI frequently report difficulty in everyday listening conditions. Functional localization of sounds is not possible with only 1 implant, often creating a safety issue, and hearing in noise is very difficult. During the past decade, a substantial body of literature has accumulated demonstrating improved speech intelligibility and sound localization with bilateral CIs.

In addition, the use of 2 CIs substantially expands the receptive sound field. These findings are consistent with the psychoacoustic literature that shows the importance of bilateral hearing for normal-hearing people and hearing aid recipients. Binaural mechanisms that use the head shadow effect and central processing of cues based on timing, frequency, and level between ears markedly enhance speech understanding and sound localization compared with listening with only 1 ear. The literature is clear that both children and adults perform better with 2 CIs than with 1.

The William House CISG acknowledges the findings reported in the literature and strongly endorses bilateral CI in clinically appropriate adults and children. Bilateral CI is now considered as an accepted medical practice.