ideas4ears: Child geniuses win a trip to Austria with their ideas to help people with hearing loss!

Feb 4, 2020

Winners created innovations as part of a global competition to raise awareness for hearing loss. 

February 04, 2020 — (Innsbruck, Austria) — MED-EL, a leading provider and inventor of hearing implant systems, recently announced the winners of its global children's invention contest, ideas4ears.

The contest challenged children aged between 6-12 years old from across the world to create an invention to improve the quality of life for people with hearing loss. 
Overall 215 children from 28 different countries participated and sent in 171 ideas. From these entries the children with the top 12 worldwide invention ideas were chosen to win a trip to visit MED-EL’s Headquarters this June in Innsbruck, Austria.

Now introducing the grand prize winners who will meet the minds behind MED-EL’s hearing implant technologies:

  • Anuk Gohlke, 11 years old from Geesthacht, Germany
  • Aliona and Aryna Vlasenka, 8 and 11 years old from Hrodna, Belarus (joint entry)
  • Dylan Monaghan, 10 years old from Rolleston, New Zealand
  • Eden Birdsey, 7 years old from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  • Federico Malagnino, 10 years old from Florence, Italy
  • Freya Chipperfield, 9 years old from Sale, United Kingdom
  • Kenzi Cayton, 8 years old from Vancouver, USA
  • Gergana Petrova Angelova, 9 years old from Ruse, Bulgaria
  • Julián Gómez, 12 years old from Medellín, Colombia
  • Noël Grolimud, 11 years old from Grenchen, Switzerland
  • Renata Bravo Staiti, 9 years old from Godoy Cruz, Argentina
  • Tejasveer Sharma, 7 years old from Noida, India

Whilst celebrating children’s creativity, ideas4ears aims to engage parents to participate in an interactive activity with their children to improve the whole family’s understanding of the challenges associated with hearing loss and deafness as well as the benefits of treatment.

Geoffrey Ball is the brains behind the contest and is also the Head Judge of ideas4ears. Geoffrey lost his hearing as a toddler, but then later in life he went on to invent a revolutionary middle ear implant to treat his own hearing loss. He has the tough task (along with selected representatives from each country), to help choose the best ideas and brightest kids who will win the unforgettable trip of a lifetime to Innsbruck. 

Growing up with deafness myself, I know how much deaf and hearing-impaired kids want to fit in and be cool, not stand out as being different and just be accepted. The ideas4ears contest is so important because it gives deaf kids a voice and encourages them to use their own experiences to help others with hearing loss,” says Geoffrey Ball, inventor of the VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE.

It’s fantastic how the ideas4ears invention contest unites children and families globally with their motivations to make the world a better place for people who are hard of hearing. The ingenuity the young inventors have shown this year is inspiring!” says Geoffrey.

Each entry included written descriptions of their idea and in addition included a video, drawings or even real prototypes. Many of the children’s inventions focused on improving their own experiences with hearing implants so they can be a regular kid who enjoys time with their friends, without experiencing further difficulties, bullying or discrimination because of their deafness.

Learn more about some of the imaginative but practical invention ideas! 

Anuk from Germany loves to swim just like a mermaid, so her idea comprised of a heart shaped water protector for her cochlear implants. Anuk’s mother even used a 3D printer to create a prototype to bring her daughters creation to life!

Dylan from New Zealand affectionately calls his hearing implants ‘my ears’. As a gifted sports enthusiast he wants to charge his implants with movement while he is playing his favourite team sports of cricket or football.

During the ideas4ears trip to MED-EL’s headquarters, the winners will have the opportunity to meet other young inventors from around the globe, explore beautiful Innsbruck the capitol city of the Austrian Alps and get to know the engineers and scientists behind MED-EL’s many life-changing inventions.

ideas4ears aims to educate everyone in their community, children and adults alike, about hearing loss and the devices that exist for treatment. 

If you are worried about your hearing loss or the hearing loss of a family member contact to receive a free information package on hearing and the solutions available. 


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

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.



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



1World Health Organization. Deafness and hearing loss factsheet. Available at Last accessed February 2020.