IDEASforEARS: MED-EL celebrates young inventors helping people with hearing loss

Feb 7, 2024

February 7, 2024 – (Innsbruck, Austria): MED-EL, a pioneering force in hearing implant solutions, unveils the winners of its IDEASforEARS 2024 Children's Invention Contest, showcasing the extraordinary creativity of young minds around the world.

  • Contest presents inventive ideas from 253 children across 24 countries, with 14 winners announced
  • Young minds create imaginative new products to help people living with hearing loss 
  • Grand prize includes a trip to MED-EL's headquarters in Innsbruck, Austria

This year’s entries to the IDEASforEARS contest, which challenges children aged 6-12 to help enhance the lives of those with hearing loss, has witnessed a remarkable surge of ideas. From imaginative video presentations to detailed drawings and real-life prototypes, children across 24 countries submitted 253 inventive solutions. The submissions demonstrated an impressive spectrum of creativity, ranging from beanies, helmets or even pillows with integrated audio processors to wristbands or necklaces designed specifically for individuals with hearing loss to initiate an emergency call or even shoes with a built-in alert for traffic sounds. Moreover, this year's participants showcased a keen interest in sustainable solutions, with innovative ideas incorporating solar power, wind power, and other eco-friendly technologies such as kinetic energy, demonstrating their commitment to a greener and more inclusive future.

Meet the IDEASforEARS 2024 winners

MED-EL is proud to introduce the 14 exceptional young inventors whose submissions stood out globally. Each entry not only displayed technical ingenuity but also creativity and youthful optimism in shaping the future of hearing technologies.

  • Abigail and Zoey Voigt, 11 years old, from the United States (joint entry)
  • André da Silva Freire, 10 years old, from Portugal
  • Bradley Leyshon, 11 years old, from Australia
  • Bryan Raffermati, 11 years old, from Switzerland
  • Davide Zilli, 11 years old, from Italy
  • Linn Trippel, 10 years old, from Germany
  • Luca Pietrolonardo, 10 years old, from Argentina
  • Malika Vallerie Aqila, 8 years old, from Indonesia
  • Nataly Oriana Guzman Hinostroza, 10 years old, from Peru
  • Shaiza Mariyam, 6 years old, from India
  • Valentin Egger, 9 years old, from Austria
  • Vasiliki Pantou, 9 years old, from Greece
  • Zofia Ćwil, 9 years old, from Poland

Geoffrey Ball: A visionary's perspective

Geoffrey Ball, inventor of the VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE middle ear implant and Head Judge of IDEASforEARS, shares his enthusiasm for the inventive and creative ideas demonstrated by these young minds: “This year's young inventors stand out as truly remarkable. Our participants really have an innovation spirit and are packed full with enthusiasm and creativity that makes me immensely proud. These kids are reaching for the stars, and who’s to say they cannot touch them? They are just getting started and their boundless optimism to help change the world for good is inspirational. Confronted with an invention challenge, they bring a fresh perspective, offering insightful innovations.” Geoffrey underscores the profound impact of a contest centered on creative ideas: “IDEASforEARS is not just about gadgets – it is this awesome thing that brings families together around the world and captures the unstoppable drive of inventors at any age who keep pushing, creating and making things happen.”

Celebrating young visionaries: A trip to Innsbruck

Since its first edition in 2017, IDEASforEARS has seen over 1,250 entries spanning more than 40 countries, showcasing its global reach and popularity. Again, this year's IDEASforEARS contest carried an extra touch of excitement as the grand prize for the 14 winners includes a trip to Innsbruck, Austria, where MED-EL is headquartered. The children will have the unique opportunity to connect with fellow creative minds from around the world, fostering a global exchange of ideas and innovation. 

Empowering tomorrow's innovators

Follow the #IDEASforEARS adventure on the IDEASforEARS Facebook page. Witness the winning inventors' journey to Innsbruck and stay connected with the global community of hearing innovation enthusiasts.


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 2,700 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 136 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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PR & Corporate Communications
MED-EL Medical Electronics
Fürstenweg 77a
6020 Innsbruck
T: +43 5 7788
E: [email protected]

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T: +43 5 7788-0
E: [email protected]