MED-EL founder Ingeborg Hochmair-Desoyer named new honorary doctor at Uppsala University’s Faculty of Medicine

Feb 9, 2020

Ingeborg Hochmair-Desoyer’s groundbreaking research led to the development of the world’s first microelectronic and multi-channel cochlear implant (CI). This technology enables children who were born with a profound hearing loss to hear and thus develop spoken language. It also allows adults who lost their hearing later in life to hear again. The cochlear implant is thus far the only product able to replace a natural human sense.

Uppsala University’s Faculty of Medicine is now naming Ingeborg Hochmair-Desoyer as an honorary doctor – a title awarded to individuals who make outstanding contributions to science or who otherwise help to promote research at the university.

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I am hugely honoured to be named an honorary doctor by Uppsala University’s Faculty of Medicine. Working with clinics and universities has always been very important to us. MED-EL developed from research that my husband and I pursued during our years at university,” says Ingeborg Hochmair-Desoyer.

A conferment ceremony for the new honorary doctorates has been held at University Hall in Uppsala on Friday 31 January 2020.

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Ingeborg Hochmair-Desoyer’s research has changed the lives of thousands of people who have been able to hear thanks to the development of the cochlear implant. She is one of the world’s leading researchers within this area and together with her husband she developed the first ever microelectronic, multi-channel cochlear implant in the world, which was first successfully implanted in 1977. From 1990 onwards, she has worked with her husband to develop and operate MED-EL in Innsbruck, Austria. Ingeborg Hochmair-Desoyer runs MED-EL with a firm focus on research and development, supporting successful investigations within the field of hearing all over the world.

Leading supplier

MED-EL is a world-leading supplier of hearing implants and offers a broad range of implantable and non-implantable solutions for the treatment of different kinds of hearing losses. Some of its most notable innovations include:

SONNET 2 – an audio processor with wireless controls that actively adapts itself to different environments so that the user does not need to manually adjust settings or change programme.

RONDO 2 – the world’s first ever audio processor for the cochlear implant with an integrated lithium battery and wireless charging. The processor offers 18 hours of battery life after four hours of charging which means that users can place RONDO 2 on the charge pad when they go to bed and wake up to an entire day of hearing.

ADHEAR – a Swedish invention and the first in the world of its kind, this is a solution for people with impaired hearing who do not want to undergo surgery. This small device is affixed behind the ear by a specially developed adhesive adapter and uses bone conduction to transmit sound directly into the inner ear.

Biography: Ingeborg Hochmair-Desoyer

  • Ingeborg J. Hochmair-Desoyer was born in Austria and began her studies at the Vienna University of Technology (TUW) in 1971. She was the first woman to graduate from this institution with a doctorate in electrical engineering in 1979.
  • Alongside her husband Erwin Hochmair, Ingeborg undertook ground-breaking research which led to the development of the world’s first ever microelectronic, multi-channel cochlear implant which was successfully implanted for the first time in 1977.
  • Since 1990, she has run the company MED-EL which she founded with her husband. The business is still privately run today and has its global headquarters in Innsbruck, Austria.
  • Ingeborg Hochmair-Desoyer has published more than 100 scientific publications and is registered as the inventor or co-inventor on more than 50 patents and patent applications.
  • She has been awarded a number of accolades for her scientific advancements, including the Holzer Award (1979), the Leonardo da Vinci Award (1980) and the Sandoz Award (1984). In 1995 she won the Business Woman of the Year Award (Prix Veuve Clicquot) and in the following year she was presented the Wilhelm Exner Medal.
  • Ingeborg Hochmair has already received three honorary doctorate degrees in medicine: in 2004 from the Faculty of Medicine at the Technical University of Munich, in 2010 from the Innsbruck University of Medicine, and in 2018 from the University of Bern.
  • In 2013, she was awarded the prestigious Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award – which has been referred to as “America’s Nobel Prize” – for her role in the development of the modern cochlear implant. For this achievement she and her husband were honoured with the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Award in 2015 and the Technology Prize of the Eduard Rhein Foundation in 2016.

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

Patrick D`Haese 
MED-EL Medical Electronics 
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T: +43 5 7788-0 


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T: +43 5 7788-0