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MED-EL - Bonebridge - August 2023

MED-EL USA Launches Annual IDEASforEARS Children’s Invention Contest


Child inventors Compete for a Trip to MED-EL’s International Headquarters in Innsbruck, Austria

November 9, 2023 – (DURHAM, NC) – In celebration of World Inventors Day, MED-EL USA, a leading global hearing implant manufacturer, today launched the 2024 IDEASforEARS competition, its annual search for future innovators. Young inventors from around the world submit their best invention ideas to help improve the lives of people living with hearing loss. The grand prize for one U.S. winner and a parent or guardian is a trip to MED-EL’s international headquarters in Innsbruck, Austria, where the company’s products are designed and manufactured.

IDEASforEARS is intended to inspire young minds to dream big and harness their skills to make a difference in the lives of people living with hearing loss and deafness.

The annual competition invites children aged 6 to 12 years old from around the world to participate and discover their inner innovator. IDEASforEARS encourages children to create new solutions that could one day improve the lives of people living with hearing loss. Participants are invited to express their creativity with submissions in the form of videos, drawings, or sculptures. The closing date for entries is January 17, 2024, at midnight (CET). 

Creativity from Around the World

Since the competition first launched in 2017, more than 1,000 entries have been submitted from over 40 countries, showcasing its global reach and popularity. The contest bridges the gap between imagination and real-world impact by celebrating children's boundless creativity and simultaneously raising awareness about the challenges of hearing loss and the transformative treatments available.

Parents are invited to explore to submit their child's entry. Submitted inventions should aim to make life better for people with hearing loss, regardless of age.

Ideas and Inspiration

IDEASforEARS came to life under the vision of inventor Geoffrey Ball, who also serves as the Head Judge for the contest. Geoffrey's life journey is nothing short of remarkable. He lost his hearing as a toddler but later invented a groundbreaking middle ear implant that restored his own hearing. As a highly successful inventor himself with an impressive portfolio of over 100 patented innovations and numerous contributions to medical device development, Geoffrey draws from his personal experiences to inspire and support the budding inventors participating in the contest.

“IDEASforEARS has grown over the years and is now not just about rewarding creativity, but about cultivating it. It's about instilling a sense of wonder and curiosity in kids from all walks of life, and I couldn't be more proud of what the contest has become," says Geoffrey Ball, Chief Technical Officer at MED-EL and inventor of the VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE middle ear implant. “Children often have a completely different approach to things, bringing entirely new aspects to an idea,” adds Geoffrey. “To all the children out there like me who have hearing loss and want to find a better solution for themselves, or just want to do something great for other people, I say never give up inventing, believe in yourself, keep trying, and go for your dreams!”

Follow the IDEASforEARS Facebook page to keep up with the latest news and information.


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 and quality of life. The Austrian-based, privately owned business was co-founded by industry pioneers Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair, whose groundbreaking research led to the development of the world’s first micro-electronic 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 2,500 employees from around 80 nations 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 140 countries to enjoy the gift of hearing with the help of a MED-EL device. MED-EL’s hearing solutions include cochlear implant systems, a combined Electric Acoustic Stimulation hearing implant system, as well as surgical and non-surgical bone conduction devices. 

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