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biomedicalstudents:

Dr. William F. House, Inventor of Pioneering Ear-Implant Device
Dr. William F. House, a medical researcher who braved skepticism to invent thecochlear implant, an electronic device considered to be the first to restore a human sense, died on Dec. 7 at his home in Aurora, Ore. He was 89.       
Dr. House pushed against conventional thinking throughout his career. Over the objections of some, he introduced the surgical microscope to ear surgery. Tackling a form of vertigo that doctors had believed was psychosomatic, he developed a surgical procedure that enabled the first American in space to travel to the moon. Peering at the bones of the inner ear, he found enrapturing beauty.
Even after his ear-implant device had largely been supplanted by more sophisticated, and more expensive, devices, Dr. House remained convinced of his own version’s utility and advocated that it be used to help the world’s poor.
Today, more than 200,000 people in the world have inner-ear implants, a third of them in the United States. A majority of young deaf children receive them, and most people with the implants learn to understand speech with no visual help.
Link to full article (to an awesome article!): http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/health/dr-william-f-house-inventor-of-cochlear-implant-dies.html?_r=0