The contest challenged children 6-12 years of age from across the world to create an invention to improve the quality of life for people with hearing loss. Competition entries came in the form of video presentations, detailed drawings, colourful paintings and even real-life prototypes, all aiming to improve the lives of people with hearing loss.
When a child has been born deaf, often a parent will worry if their newborn baby can have a life without limitations. Will they be able to develop spoken language, will they be able to attend a mainstream school, and will their deafness prevent them from living the life that they most dream of?
The ideas4ears contest proves that children whose lives have been affected by hearing loss not only manage to survive with a hearing impairment but thrive within their own families and wider communities.
Ready for take-off: children with hearing implants are using their life experiences to reach for the stars and help other youngsters just like them with their inventions to support those with hearing loss.
The ideas sent in the contest ranged from the imaginative to the everyday. From a sonic drill worm which crawls inside people’s ear to restore their inner hair cells, to a ringing dog collar so no child must tell their teacher, ‘the dog ate my cochlear implant processor!’.
Overall, 108 children from 28 different countries participated in the competition and sent in 86 invention ideas. From these entries, the best and brightest children with the top 13 worldwide submissions were chosen to win.
Now introducing the grand prize winners for ideas4ears 2021:
• Abeni Radassa Silva Borges (6), Minas Gerais, Brazil
• Cambria & Kayla Henry (8), California, USA (joint entry)
• Dylan Sandey (12), Cheltenham, United Kingdom
• Gonzalo Zafra Gutiérrez (9), Madrid, Spain
• Hugo Benjamín Jovanovics (8), Tucumán, Argentina
• Juan Pablo Nicolás Anicama La Serna (12), Lima, Perú
• Laurin Hehl (8), Düsseldorf, Germany
• Luca Hägi (10), Köniz, Switzerland
• Lucianna Buck (7), Tegucigalpa, Honduras
• Mohammad Hossein Jamshidi (10), Tehran, Iran
• Paul Pareiss (8), Vienna, Austria
• Rahul Ram (6), Jodhpur, India
• Tanvi Chhahira (10), Bangalore, India
The mastermind behind ideas4ears and the contest Head Judge is Geoffrey Ball. Geoffrey became deaf as a toddler and then went on to invent a revolutionary middle ear implant to treat his own hearing loss.
“The inventors may be young, but they are so insightful, seeing the future of hearing implant technologies often well ahead of the curve. The world seen through a young person’s eyes is one full of optimism, they approach an invention challenge with an unfiltered lens and offer their perceptive insight for innovations. The future is in safe hands with such inspiring ideas4ears inventors to lead the way going forward,” says Geoffrey Ball, inventor of the VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE middle ear implant.
Even as an accomplished inventor with over 100 patents to his name, Geoffrey uses his knowledge and past experiences himself growing up as a deaf child to encourage the next generation of hearing implant inventors to get started on their invention journey from a young age.
“The inventing is one part for these kids, a real part of the challenge is presenting your invention and new ideas These inventors all did that in very creative and very cool ways! Often, we see the same children are entering every year with additional ideas, really showing the true spirit of an inventor to never give up and to keep on inventing,” says Geoffrey.
The grand prizes for the up-and-coming inventors
Due to the COVID-19 situation worldwide, the ideas4ears contest this year focused on children who are currently doing home-schooling and the parents who are supporting them. The contest proved to be a great opportunity for families to participate in a fun and educational activity together while at home to improve the whole family’s understanding of hearing loss and deafness as well as the benefits of treatment.For this reason, the grand prize winners will receive a laptop or a tablet to support their homeschooling efforts and to further recognize their achievements each child will have a special ideas4ears celebration party at home.
You can join along with the winning inventor’s festivities by following the #ideas4ears
and via the Facebook page
If you are worried about your hearing loss or the hearing loss of a family member contact firstname.lastname@example.org
to receive a free information package on hearing and the solutions available.
About hearing loss
Over 5% of the world’s population – 466 million people – are living with disabling hearing loss (432 million adults and 34 million children). Approximately one-third of people over the age of 65 are affected by disabling hearing loss.1 The World Health Organization recommends a range of interventions to improve communication once hearing loss has occurred, including hearing implants.1
1 www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss (last accessed February 2021)
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 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 2,200 employees from around 75 nations and has 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 124 countries 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, auditory brainstem implants as well as surgical and non-surgical bone conduction devices. www.medel.com
Doz. DI Dr DDr med. h.c. Ingeborg Hochmair
MED-EL Medical Electronics
T: +43 5 7788-1029