Design meets technology: International artists with hearing loss create covers for audio processors

Jul 6, 2022
July 6, 2022 – (Innsbruck, Austria): Globally, more than 1.5 billion people live with hearing loss and although it affects one in five people, it is often seen as an invisible disability. To increase public awareness of hearing loss and empower recipients of hearing implants to wear their audio processors with confidence and pride, MED-EL is showcasing creative talents of people who use cochlear implants.
Under the theme “What does sound mean to you” four professional artists will create unique and outstanding designs that will form limited edition covers for the MED-EL hearing implant audio processors. This project not only allows the artists to share their experiences with hearing loss in a creative way, but also gives them the opportunity to support and empower other hearing implant users on their own hearing journey.

  • Chella Man is a 24-year-old American artist, actor, model, and disabled and LGBTQ+ educator and speaker from Brooklyn, New York. His artwork features the continuums of disability, race, gender, and sexuality. Since the age of 12, he has been wearing cochlear implants, and with the implants he feels less isolated and is able to reconnect with the world again.
  • Olivia is an artist from Argentina who specializes in acrylic paintings. During her childhood, she lost her hearing in one ear, but as time progressed her hearing worsened and at a certain point of life she was profoundly deaf. Getting an implant was a difficult decision for her, but at the age of 50, after 15 years of not listening to music or being able to hear people talk to her, she chose a cochlear implant.
  • Freddy Rode is an 80-year-old German artist who specializes in portrait paintings. He lost his hearing at the age of 44 due to an operation on his right ear and made the decision to get a cochlear implant just seven years ago. This decision not only restored his hearing, but also gave him his life back.
  • Alessia Florea is a 31-year-old artist from Moldavia who currently lives in Turin. Tragically, when she was 3 years old, her parents’ house caught on fire – thankfully she was saved, however lost her hearing as a side effect of the medication she needed. It was this significant life event that led her to pursue her passion and love of arts and painting. When she was 22, she moved to Italy and received her first cochlear implant.

The special audio processor design covers are as diverse as their artists. “At MED-EL we believe that creativity helps to drive innovation, which is why we're very happy to collaborate with these four unique artists and help people around the world to express themselves through wearable art,” says Alexander Hofer, Director of Product Management at MED-EL.

The design cover is part of a set of limited editions of just 2,000 pieces that will be given away in sets of 4. Some of them can be won in a social media competition on MED-EL’s social media channels on Facebook and Instagram.
Participate in the social media competition and be in with the chance of winning the limited set of 4 design covers.
In addition, the designs will be displayed at Innsbruck in the Audioversum Sound Gallery from June to September 2022. Read more about the artists, their inspiration and life with hearing loss at

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 2,400 employees from around 80 nations and 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 134 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

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