Ideas for Ears: MED-EL launches children’s competition to discover the next generation of inventors of hearing technology

Jan 26, 2017

Global competition launched to raise awareness of hearing loss and the benefits of treatment.

January 26th, 2017 — (Innsbruck, Austria) — MED-EL has launched a worldwide search for inventions of the future through a global children’s competition, Ideas for Ears.

The competition invites children aged 6-11 years old from participating countries to create a piece of artwork showcasing their invention to improve the quality of life of people living with hearing loss. The competition 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.

“From day one innovation has been, and remains a key focus in our drive to overcome hearing loss as a barrier to communication,” said Geoffrey Ball, Chief Technical Officer at MED-EL and inventor of the SOUNDBRIDGE middle ear implant. “Born from inventors ourselves, the MED-EL story is proof of the power of a good idea and the impact that inventions can have on the lives of people living with a condition like hearing loss. The MED-EL Ideas for Ears competition will hopefully inspire young people and educate them about hearing loss communities around the world.”

The top inventions will be awarded the prize of a trip to MED-EL headquarters in Innsbruck, Austria. While there they will tour the facilities and have the opportunity to meet with MED-EL’s many inventors. The overall ‘global’ winner will be announced on Inventors’ Day, 9 November 2017, at a ceremony at MED-EL’s Austrian headquarters.

The panel of MED-EL judges for Ideas for Ears, led by Geoffrey Ball, are looking for creative, one-ofa- kind inventions which could have the potential to help improve the lives of people with hearing loss at any age. Children might express their ideas through a painting, collage or video.

Children and their parents are encouraged to share their inventions and progress on social media using the hashtag #ideas4ears.

To learn more about the competition visit The closing date for entries is midnight on Sunday 3 September 2017.

About hearing loss

Over 5% of the world’s population – 360 million people – are living with disabling hearing loss (328 million adults and 32 million children).1 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

About MED-EL

Austria-based MED-EL Medical Electronics is a leading provider of hearing implant systems with 29 subsidiaries worldwide. The family-owned business is one of the pioneers in the industry. The two Austrian scientists Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair developed the world’s first microelectronicmultichannel cochlear implant, now considered the modern cochlear implant, which was implanted in 1977. The cochlear implant was and remains the first replacement of a human sense, the sense of hearing. In 1990 the Hochmairs laid the foundation for the successful growth of the company when they hired their first employees. To date, the company has grown to more than 1,700 employees around the world.

MED-EL offers the widest range of implantable solutions worldwide to treat various degrees of hearing loss: cochlear and middle ear implant systems, EAS (combined Electric Acoustic Stimulation) hearing implant system and auditory brainstem implants as well as the world´s first active bone conduction implant. In July 2016, MED-EL acquired the technology for a novel non-surgical bone conduction system from the Swedish medical device company Otorix, further expanding the number of people who can benefit from innovative hearing technology and reinforcing MED-EL’s mission to overcome hearing loss as a barrier to communication. People in over 100 countries enjoy the gift of hearing with the help of a product from MED-EL.


Doz. DI Dr DDr med. h.c. Ingeborg Hochmair

Press contact

Gareth Beazant
MED-EL Medical Electronics
Fürstenweg 77a
A - 6020 Innsbruck
T: +43 5 7788-237 

1World Health Organization. Deafness and hearing loss factsheet. Available at Last accessed November 2016.

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