MED-EL Launches Ideas 4 Ears Children’s Competition to Discover the Next Generation of Inventors of Hearing Technology

Global competition launched to raise awareness of hearing loss and
technology


DURHAM, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#hearlife–MED-EL USA, a leading provider and inventor of hearing implant systems,
today announced a search for future inventions through a global
children’s competition, Ideas 4 Ears (www.Ideas4Ears.com).

The competition, which kicks off a celebration of May’s Better Hearing
and Speech month, invites children aged 6-11 years old from the United
States to create a piece of artwork showcasing their invention to
improve the quality of life of people living with hearing loss. The
competition 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.

“From day one, innovation has been, and remains a key focus in our drive
to overcome hearing loss as a barrier to communication,” said Geoffrey
Ball, Chief Technical Officer at MED-EL and inventor of the SOUNDBRIDGE
middle ear implant. “Born from inventors ourselves, the MED-EL story is
proof of the power of a good idea and the impact that inventions can
have on the lives of people living with hearing loss. The MED-EL Ideas
4 Ears
competition will hopefully inspire young people and
educate them about hearing loss in our community.”

One U.S. winner will be awarded $1,000 deposit into a college savings
plan of their choice and entry into an international competition for a
grand prize of a trip for the winner and an adult chaperone to MED-EL’s
global headquarters in Innsbruck, Austria. While there, they will tour
the research and development factory and have the opportunity to meet
with MED-EL’s many inventors, including the company’s co-founders
Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair. The global winner will be announced on
Inventors’ Day, November 9, 2017, at a ceremony at MED-EL’s Austrian
headquarters.

The panel of MED-EL judges for Ideas 4 Ears is looking for
creative, one-of-a-kind inventions which could have the potential to
help improve the lives of people with hearing loss at any age. Children
can express their ideas through an illustration, collage, sculpture or
video.

“Hearing loss can have profound effects not only on communication, but
also health, independence, well-being and daily function,” said Raymond
Gamble, President and CEO, MED-EL North America. “Recognizing the
importance of treatment and the high unmet need around the world, we
hope this competition will encourage hearing loss to be regarded not as
an individual problem, but one which must be addressed at multiple
levels within the community. We’re excited to see what the children
create and wish them the best of luck!”

Children and their parents are encouraged to share their inventions and
progress on social media using the hashtag #ideas4ears.

Parents and children interested in learning more about the competition
and how to enter should visit www.Ideas4Ears.com.
Entries must be received by Sunday, September 3, 2017.

About hearing loss

About 20 percent of Americans, or 48 million people, report some degree
of hearing loss. By age 65, one out of three people lives with hearing
loss.1 The World Health Organization recommends a range of
interventions to improve communication once hearing loss has occurred,
including hearing implants.2

About MED-EL

Austria-based MED-EL Medical Electronics is a leading provider of
hearing implant systems with 29 subsidiaries worldwide. The family-owned
business is one of the pioneers in the industry. The two Austrian
scientists Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair developed the world’s first
microelectronic-multichannel cochlear implant, now considered the modern
cochlear implant, which was implanted in 1977. The cochlear implant was
and remains the first replacement of a human sense, the sense of
hearing. In 1990 the Hochmairs laid the foundation for the successful
growth of the company when they hired their first employees. To date,
the company has grown to more than 1,700 employees around the world.

MED-EL offers the widest range of implantable solutions worldwide to
treat various degrees of hearing loss: cochlear and middle ear implant
systems, and EAS (combined Electric Acoustic Stimulation) hearing
implant system. In July 2016, MED-EL acquired the technology for a novel
non-surgical bone conduction system from the Swedish medical device
company Otorix, further expanding the number of people who can benefit
from innovative hearing technology and reinforcing MED-EL’s mission to
overcome hearing loss as a barrier to communication. People in over 100
countries enjoy the gift of hearing with the help of a product from
MED-EL. www.medel.com

1 Hearing Loss Association of America. Basic Facts About
Hearing Loss – Statistics. http://www.hearingloss.org/content/basic-facts-about-hearing-loss
Accessed April 2017.

2 World Health Organization. Deafness and hearing loss
factsheet. Available at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs300/en/.
Accessed November 2016.

Contacts

for MED-EL USA
Rebecca Novak Tibbitt, 704-341-1544
Rebecca@RNTCommunications.com