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Sunday, August 3, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Los Angeles ear specialist Dr. Howard House, 95, dies

LOS ANGELES — Dr. Howard Payne House, 95, groundbreaking ear specialist and founder of the internationally renowned House Ear Institute, died Friday of heart failure at a hospital here.

Dr. House established the Los Angeles-based institute in 1946 to develop treatments for hearing problems. He treated thousands of patients at the institute and abroad, including Bob Hope, Howard Hughes and former President Reagan.

Dr. House perfected the wire loop technique, a procedure to correct a common hearing problem in which the bones of the inner ear become calcified and stick together. By surgically inserting a wire loop into the middle ear, the innovative procedure allows for the transmission of sound from the middle ear to the inner ear.

Dr. House was also instrumental in the development of the cochlear implant, a tiny device that is surgically inserted behind the ear and, when used in conjunction with a small external receiver, can help compensate for hearing impairments. The institute has continued to develop those devices, which have restored some auditory sensation to more than 50,000 people worldwide.

Dr. House is survived by his two sons, Dr. Kenneth House and Dr. John House; daughter Carolyn Helmuth; brothers Dr. William House and Dr. James House; and nine grandchildren.

Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company

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