IDEASforEARS: MED-EL encourages young inventors to reach for the stars in support of those with hearing loss

Nov 9, 2023

November 9, 2023 – (Innsbruck, Austria): MED-EL, a leading global hearing implant manufacturer, has kicked off the 2024 edition of IDEASforEARS, its annual search for future innovators. It's that time of year again when young inventors from around the world get the chance to shine and shape the future of hearing solutions.

Launching the contest on November 9, World Inventors Day, is no accident. The competition invites children aged 6 to 12 years across the globe to participate and discover their inner innovator. It encourages them to create new solutions that could one day improve the lives of people living with hearing loss. Children are free to express their creativity as submissions can take the form of videos, drawings, or sculptures, but what truly matters is inspiring young minds to dream big and harness their skills to make a meaningful impact on the lives of those who cannot hear. The top prize for the contest’s winners is a trip to Innsbruck, Austria, where MED-EL is headquartered, and where the company’s products are also designed and manufactured.

Creativity across continents

Since its first edition in 2017, IDEASforEARS has seen over 1,000 entries spanning more than 40 countries, showcasing its global reach and popularity. The contest bridges the gap between imagination and real-world impact by celebrating children's boundless creativity and simultaneously raising awareness about the challenges of hearing loss and the transformative treatments available. Parents are invited to explore to submit their child's entry. All creative ideas are welcome! The only requirement is that submitted inventions should aim to make life better for people with hearing problems, no matter how old they are.

Ideas and inspiration 

IDEASforEARS finds its roots in the vision of inventor Geoffrey Ball, who also serves as the Head Judge for the contest. Geoffrey's life journey is nothing short of remarkable. He lost his hearing as a toddler but later invented a groundbreaking middle ear implant that restored his own hearing. As a highly successful inventor himself with an impressive portfolio of over 100 patented innovations and numerous contributions to medical device development, Geoffrey draws from his personal experiences to inspire and support the budding inventors participating in the contest. "IDEASforEARS has grown over the years and is now not just about rewarding creativity but about cultivating it. It's about instilling a sense of wonder and curiosity in kids from all walks of life, and I couldn't be more proud of what the contest has become." says Geoffrey Ball, Chief Technical Officer at MED-EL and inventor of the VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE middle ear implant. “Children often have a completely different approach to things, bringing entirely new aspects to an idea”, adds Geoffrey. “To all the children out there like me who have hearing loss and want to find a better solution for themselves, or just want to do something great for other people, I say never give up inventing, believe in yourself, keep trying, go for your dreams, and never give up, never, never!”

This is a call to all creative children around the world: Get ready to seize incredible rewards! Picture yourself winning a trip to Innsbruck, Austria, and some fabulous prize packs. The closing date for entries is January 17, 2024, at midnight (CET).

Stay in the loop about the contest by following the IDEASforEARS Facebook page.


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 and quality of life. 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 more than 2,600 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 over 140 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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