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MED-EL USA Launches 3rd Annual Ideas4Ears Children’s Invention Contest


Winner of global competition plus one parent/guardian will receive a trip to MED-EL’s international headquarters in Innsbruck, Austria

November 5, 2019 – (DURHAM, NC) – Hearing implant leader MED-EL USA announced today that the company is participating in the 3rd annual international Ideas4Ears Children’s Invention Contest. The competition invites children from the United States to create an invention to improve the quality of life for people with hearing loss. The contest celebrates children’s creativity and aims to improve understanding of the challenges associated with hearing loss and deafness as well as the benefits of treatment. Children with lightbulbs on their heads

The contest will open on Saturday, November 9, 2019, in celebration of World Inventors’ Day. Entries must be submitted by midnight EST on Friday, January 17, 2020, which is also Kid Inventors’ Day.

Open to children aged 6-12 years old, the Ideas4Ears contest encourages the youngest generation of inventors to share ideas designed to improve the quality of life for people with hearing loss. Participants are asked to showcase their invention through various media, such as artwork, drawings, videos, or sculptures. The contest is designed to challenge kids with their creative skills: a new invention, an improvement to something that already exists, or a clever idea that helps people with hearing loss and makes their lives easier.

Winners will be announced on January 31, 2020. One winner and one accompanying parent/guardian from the USA will be awarded a trip to MED-EL’s international headquarters in Innsbruck, Austria. Winners will tour MED-EL‘s hearing implant research and development facility, will meet with the company‘s many inventors and engineers, and will interact with other Ideas4Ears contest winners/child inventors from around the world. 

Innovation is a fundamental part of the MED-EL story, which is based on a powerful idea that has influenced the lives of many people with hearing loss worldwide. The panel of MED-EL judges for Ideas4Ears is led by Geoffrey Ball, an inventor who holds more than 100 patents and who invented a middle ear implant solution for his own deafness. 

“Hearing loss affects children and their families all over the world. When I was a kid suffering with deafness growing up, I didn't have all the options that we have today. Today, we have so many options for hearing loss, and we have such good outcomes with hearing implants,” said Geoffrey Ball, Chief Technical Officer at MED-EL, and inventor of the VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE middle ear implant.

“The Ideas4Ears contest is a global search for the next generation of bright minds who want to share their extraordinary inventions to help those with hearing loss. Through the contest, parents can encourage children to think without limits and to channel their creativity for the greater good. We look forward to receiving the ideas from the young inventors,” he continued. 

From practical solutions for daily life to unique one-of-a-kind inventions, all ideas are welcome; the only criteria are the inventions need to have the potential to help improve the lives of people with hearing loss at any age. Past winning invention ideas have included invisible hearing implants, a Viking helmet to protect cochlear implants in the playground, to a laser bed which must be slept in twice a week to restore the hair cells in the inner ear overnight. 

Follow the Ideas4Ears Facebook page to be kept up to date on the contest and to view the best invention submissions. Updates will also be posted on MED-EL USA’s Facebook page.

About Hearing Loss in America

About 20 percent of Americans, or 48 million people, report some degree of hearing loss. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, hearing loss has been shown to negatively impact nearly every dimension of the human experience, including physical health, emotional and mental health, perceptions of mental acuity, social skills, family relationships, and self esteem, as well as work and school performance.[1] The World Health Organization recommends a range of interventions to improve communication once hearing loss has occurred, including hearing implants.[2]

About MED-EL 

MED-EL Medical Electronics, a leader in implantable hearing solutions, is driven by a mission to overcome hearing loss as a barrier to communication. The Austrian-based, privately owned business was co-founded by industry pioneers Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair, whose ground-breaking research led to the development of the world’s first microelectronic multi-channel cochlear implant (CI), which was successfully implanted in 1977 and was the basis for what is known as the modern CI today. This laid the foundation for the successful growth of the company in 1990, when they hired their first employees. To date, MED-EL has grown to more than 2,000 employees and 30 locations worldwide.

The company offers the widest range of implantable and non-implantable solutions to treat all types of hearing loss, enabling people in 123 countries to enjoy the gift of hearing with the help of a MED-EL device. MED-EL’s hearing solutions include cochlear and middle ear implant systems, a combined Electric Acoustic Stimulation hearing implant system as well as surgical and non-surgical bone conduction devices.

[1] Hearing Loss Association of America. Hearing Loss Facts and Statistics. Accessed November 6, 2018.

[2] World Health Organization. Deafness and hearing loss factsheet. Accessed November 6, 2018.

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