ideas4ears: MED-EL calls on young inventors to create an invention for people with hearing loss

Nov 9, 2019

09 November 2019 - (Innsbruck, Austria)  – MED-EL, a leading provider and inventor of hearing implant systems, today launched a worldwide search for inventions of the future through a global children’s contest,  ideas4ears.  


The contest invites children aged 6-12 years old 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.

The children with the top worldwide inventions will be awarded the prize of a trip to MED-EL headquarters in Innsbruck, located in the Austrian Alps. The winning child and their guardian will get to tour the research and development factory and will have the opportunity to meet with MED-EL’s many inventors and engineers. 

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 around 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 on a global search for the next generation of bright minds who want to share their extraordinary invention ideas 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,” said Geoffrey.

Children are encouraged to express their ideas visually through a video, collage or painting. Parents interested in entering for their child should visit to submit their entry online via the website. The closing date for entries is midnight on Friday 17 January 2020.

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.  

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. The World Health Organization recommends a range of interventions to improve communication once hearing loss has occurred, including hearing implants.  

About Geoffrey Ball - ideas4ears Head Judge and Inventor of the VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE

Geoffrey Ball's extraordinary adventure in technology began in the legendary Silicon Valley of California and ultimately led him to the mountains of Austria, where he now lives and continues his work. Even as a child, Ball knew that sign language, conventional hearing aids, and lipreading were not for him, so he decided to find a cure for his deafness. Never letting his disability stand in his way, he became a kind of modern Renaissance man with wide-ranging interests and abilities, all coupled with an undeniable talent for entrepreneurship and invention.

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 33 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 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.


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

Press contact

Lisa Azwanger-Geser 
MED-EL Medical Electronics 
Fürstenweg 77a 
6020 Innsbruck 

T: +43 5 7788-1029 
E: (last accessed November 2019)