DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA – MED-EL USA, a leading provider and inventor of hearing implant systems, has announced the launch of its participation in the 4th annual international Ideas4Ears Children’s Invention Contest. The contest invites children from the United States aged 6-12 years old to create an invention to improve the quality of life for people with hearing loss.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020-21 contest is focusing on the needs of children who are in school remotely and families who are practicing social distancing. While stressful for many people, trouble hearing while participating in video calls and difficulty lip-reading with someone wearing a mask, highlight how COVID-19 has been particularly challenging for people with hearing loss.
“Often the challenging times in life spur on the greatest creativity and innovations. The pandemic has shown how important communication is to function in everyday life. It is even more critical during times such as these to support people with hearing loss and help those who may have trouble keeping connected in their communities.”
–Geoffrey Ball, Chief Technical Officer at MED-EL and inventor of VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE middle ear implant
Individual country finalists and grand prize winners of this year’s Ideas4Ears contest will be in the running to receive a new computer or electronic tablet, as well as other fun and educational materials to support remote learning.
Documents, videos and illustrations can be uploaded to support an entry at www.ideas4ears.org/enter. The deadline to enter is midnight on Sunday, January 17, 2021, and winners will be announced later in the month.
Ideas4Ears is an annual contest that was launched in 2017, and has since had more than 750 entries submitted from children living in 38 different countries around the world.
About Hearing Loss in America
About 20% of Americans, or 48 million people, report some degree of hearing loss. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, hearing loss has been shown to negatively impact nearly every dimension of the human experience, including physical health, emotional and mental health, perceptions of mental acuity, social skills, family relationships, and self-esteem, as well as work and school performance. The World Health Organization recommends a range of interventions to improve communication once hearing loss has occurred, including hearing implants.
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 2,200 employees from around 75 nations and has 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 124 countries to enjoy the gift of hearing with the help of a MED-EL device. MED-EL’s global portfolio of hearing solutions includes cochlear implant systems, a combined Electric Acoustic Stimulation hearing implant system, and bone conduction devices.