Hearing for the first time

This is today’s viral video that’s racing through the pneumatic InterTubes today and it’s perfect for a Friday.

As someone who is in the process of losing the ability to hear, I would think it thrilling to be living in the other direction, hearing sound for the first time, as Joe Milne experienced after being deaf since birth.

This moment would not have been possible without Dr. William House, who invented cochlear implants. He had a sign in his workshop that said, “Everything I did in my life that was worthwhile, I caught hell for.” There’s actually a piece of bone in your inner ear that’s called “Bill’s Island.” It’s named after him.

“When I started (doing implants in) children, I was really criticized,” House told the Oregonian newspaper in a June 2012 interview, just a few months before he died. “They said, ‘My God, these parents will do anything to get their child hearing, and you’re just taking advantage of them.'”

House is also the man who invented a surgical procedure to cure astronaut Alan Shepard’s Meniere’s disease, which kept America’s first man in space grounded. On the day after the launch of Apollo 14, House received a phone call. It was Shepard, calling him while on his way to the moon.

That surgery, by the way, is no longer considered a particularly effective cure for the disease.