Ideas for Ears: Local Auckland school girl wins a trip to Austria with her Ideas for Ears invention concept for people with hearing
Winners created one-of-a-kind inventions as part of a global children’s competition to raise awareness for hearing loss
New Zealand, 9 November 2017 – MED-EL, a leading provider and inventor of hearing implant systems, today announced the winners of its global
children inventor’s competition, Ideas for Ears
. Olivia Strang from Wai-O-Taikai Bay, Auckland, New Zealand will join children from seven countries next autumn at
MED-EL’s headquarters in Innsbruck, Austria.
The competition, which launched on Kid Inventors’ Day in January 2017, challenged children aged 6 to 15 years old from
across the world to create a piece of artwork showcasing their invention to improve the quality of life of people living
with hearing loss. Whilst celebrating children’s creativity, Ideas for Ears aimed to improve children’s understanding of the challenges associated with hearing loss and deafness as well as the
benefits of treatment.
“As a company born from inventors, MED-EL’s story is proof of the power of a good idea and the impact that inventions
can have on the lives of people living with a condition like hearing loss and deafness,” said Geoffrey Ball, inventor of
the VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE. “The one-of-a-kind inventions proposed by the children are impressive and we look forward to
meeting the winners in Innsbruck in 2018.”
Olivia Strang, on hearing that she was one of the 7 worldwide winners "I felt so happy, like I was going to cry. I’m really excited!I chose these things to make people’s lives better!
Because what if there’s a fire, then how would you wake up, or how would you wake to an alarm in the morning. I’m
looking forward to next year and going on the trip to see the MED-EL headquarters!"
Competition entries came in the form of drawings, videos and beautifully designed presentations, all aiming to improve
the lives of people with hearing loss. Inventions included cinema glasses with subtitles, a Global Positioning System
(GPS) device to locate lost audio processors and glasses that turn conversations into readable text.
During the trip to MED-EL’s headquarters, the winners will have the opportunity to discover how MED-EL’s life-changing
devices are produced and the cutting-edge research being undertaken by the company. They will explore the science of
hearing loss through a tour of the company’s science centre and meet with MED-EL’s many inventors to learn about the
stages of bringing an idea to fruition.
“We’re inspired by the quality of submissions and great ideas coming from our inventors of the future,” said MED-EL
Australasia’s Managing Director, Robyn Shakes “Hearing loss can have profound effects not only on communication, but
also health, independence, well-being and daily function. We believe it’s through activities such as Ideas for Ears that people will increasingly understand the significant impact that hearing loss has on our community and the many
life-changing solutions available to those affected. Congratulations to all our winners!”
During the winner’s trip, the children along with their guardian will be capturing and sharing their journey on social
media using the hashtag #ideas4ears.
About hearing loss
Over 5% of the world’s population – 360 million people – are living with disabling hearing loss (328 million adults and
32 million children). Approximately one-third of people over the age of 65 are affected by disabling hearing loss.1 The
World Health Organization recommends a range of interventions to improve communication once hearing loss has occurred,
including hearing implants.1
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, family-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 1,800 employees and 30 subsidiaries worldwide.
The company offers the widest range of implantable and non-implantable solutions to treat all degrees of hearing loss,
enabling people in 117 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. www.medel.com
Doz. DI Dr DDr med. h.c. Ingeborg Hochmair