MED-EL USA announced that the company is participating in the 3rd annual international Ideas4Ears Children’s Invention Contest. The competition invites children from the United States to create an invention to improve the quality of life for people with hearing loss. The contest celebrates children’s creativity and aims to improve understanding of the challenges associated with hearing loss and deafness as well as the benefits of treatment.
The contest will open on Saturday, November 9, 2019, in celebration of World Inventors’ Day. Entries must be submitted to ideas4ears.org by midnight EST on Friday, January 17, 2020, which is also Kid Inventors’ Day.
Open to children aged 6-12 years old, the Ideas4Ears contest encourages the youngest generation of inventors to share ideas designed to improve the quality of life for people with hearing loss. Participants are asked to showcase their invention through various media, such as artwork, drawings, videos, or sculptures. The contest is designed to challenge kids with their creative skills: a new invention, an improvement to something that already exists, or a clever idea that helps people with hearing loss and makes their lives easier.
Winners will be announced on January 31, 2020. One winner and one accompanying parent/guardian from the USA will be awarded a trip to MED-EL’s international headquarters in Innsbruck, Austria. Winners will tour MED-EL‘s hearing implant research and development facility, will meet with the company‘s many inventors and engineers, and will interact with other Ideas4Ears contest winners/child inventors from around the world.
Innovation is a fundamental part of the MED-EL story, which is based on a powerful idea that has influenced the lives of many people with hearing loss worldwide. The panel of MED-EL judges for Ideas4Ears is led by Geoffrey Ball, an inventor who holds more than 100 patents and who invented a middle-ear implant solution for his own deafness.
“Hearing loss affects children and their families all over the world. When I was a kid suffering with deafness growing up, I didn’t have all the options that we have today. Today, we have so many options for hearing loss, and we have such good outcomes with hearing implants,” said Geoffrey Ball, Chief Technical Officer at MED-EL, and inventor of the Vibrant Soundbridge middle ear implant.
“The Ideas4Ears contest is a global search for the next generation of bright minds who want to share their extraordinary inventions to help those with hearing loss. Through the contest, parents can encourage children to think without limits and to channel their creativity for the greater good. We look forward to receiving the ideas from the young inventors,” he continued.
From practical solutions for daily life to unique one-of-a-kind inventions, all ideas are welcome; the only criteria are the inventions need to have the potential to help improve the lives of people with hearing loss at any age. Past winning invention ideas have included invisible hearing implants, a Viking helmet to protect cochlear implants in the playground, to a laser bed which must be slept in twice a week to restore the hair cells in the inner ear overnight.