Three best ideas to raise awareness of hearing loss are honored

David Kirkwood
April 15, 2013
Lise Lotte Bundesen, managing director of the Ida Institute, with the three first prize winners. They are, from left, Khalid Islam, Curtis Alcott, and Kasper Rubin.

Lise Lotte Bundesen, director of the Ida Institute, with the three first prize winners. They are, from left, Khalid Islam, Kasper Rubin, and Curtis Alcott.

ANAHEIM, CA–An international public art initiative, a “Three Wise Monkeys” campaign to encourage regular hearing health checks, and a pocket-sized electronic hearing testing device captured top honors in the Ida Institute’s competition, Ideas, Speak up – Action and Awareness for Hearing Loss. The winning entries were celebrated at a reception held here April 3 at the start of the American Academy of Audiology’s annual convention, AudiologyNOW! 2013.

The purpose of the international contest was to stimulate ideas with the potential to create public awareness of hearing loss, put hearing loss on the public agenda, and encourage people to take action to address hearing loss.

The Ida Institute, a Danish-based independent non-profit foundation funded by the Oticon Foundation, launched the ideas competition at AudiologyNOW! 2012 held in Boston. Over the following months it generated more than 400 submissions from all over the world.



From these, first prizes were awarded in three categories. The winning entry in the Public Awareness Campaign category was submitted by Curtis Alcott, from the United Kingdom. Entitled “Three Monkeys: Eyes Checked. Teeth Checked. Hearing Checked,” his idea was to link a simple message to the iconic three wise monkeys (“See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”) to raise awareness of regular hearing health checks. The monkeys encourage making hearing checks part of a health routine that also includes getting one’s eyes and teeth checked on a regular basis. The three monkeys image can be used in many media, including print and broadcast advertising, web sites, billboards, bus posters, and cinema trailers.

Khalid Islam of Bangladesh invented the winning idea in the Best Event category. He devised “Look Who’s Hearing,” an international public art initiative that would involve “fitting” hearing aids on statues in major cities around the world. The artist-designed hearing aids could be mounted as sculptures and then auctioned off to support hearing health charities. An Internet campaign would enable people to follow this initiative, track the next statue, and spread awareness.

In the Best Gadget category, Kasper Rubin, a Dane, won the blue ribbon for his Hearing Tone Test Card, an inexpensive electronic card that would serve as a practical hearing checker. The pocket-sized card uses simple electronic technology like that used in singing greeting cards. However, instead of making music, the technology is used to test hearing.

At the reception in Anaheim where the contest winners were announced, Niels Boserup, chairman of the Oticon Foundation, said, “We recognize that to continue the good work of this project and to achieve increased public awareness of hearing loss worldwide will require a strategic, dedicated initiative.” He added that the Oticon Foundation “will investigate ways to develop and implement the worthy ideas.”

Lise Lotte Bundesen, managing director of the Ida Institute, said, “The Ideas Campaign sparked the creativity and passion of people around the world.”



The prize-winning ideas were selected by a panel of judges including Brenda Battat, executive director of the Hearing Loss Association of America; Tom Healy, a writer, poet and chairman of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board; Bob Isherwood, former worldwide creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi, the Ideas Agency; Sergei Kochkin, PhD, former Executive Director of the Better Hearing Institute; and Helle Østergaard, executive director of the Crown Princess Mary Foundation.

These and some of the other best ideas submitted can be viewed online at Ideas Worth Hearing.  The Ideas Catalog is designed to inspire and to help people around the world take action and start raising awareness of hearing loss in their communities.

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