Congratulations to our 2021 winners!
We would like to commend all the winners of this year’s ideas4ears competition again and thank everyone for the many unique inventions that help people with hearing loss … a big THANK YOU!
Overall, 108 children from 28 different countries participated and sent in 86 invention ideas. From these entries, the best and brightest children with the top 13 worldwide submissions were chosen to win. In addition to the level of effort the children made with their entries, the judges considered the personal motivations behind their inventions and how their lives have been touched by hearing loss themselves, or through a family member’s or a friend’s hearing impairment.
Ideas ranging from the practical to the imaginative. Some of the more entertaining ideas solved common challenging situations for people with hearing loss, often with a childlike twist such as a teddy bear that has a screen inside that can translate conversation into signs on a screen, to real-life prototypes of replicate Cochlear Implants (CI’s) that a younger brother can wear in public to understand better what life is like for his older brother who wears them.
Now let’s get to know all our young inventors and their ideas…
🇧🇷 Abeni Radassa Silva Borges (6), Minas Gerais, Brazil
Which color do I feel like my CI should be today, pink, purple, or green? Choice and customizability for all the colors of the rainbow are Abeni’s concepts for her idea.
“I am Abeni Radassa I have profound bilateral hearing loss due to meningitis. I was implanted unilaterally at four years old, now I am six years old and I love to decorate my device with my favorite colors and I have difficulty because I often need to increase the volume to hear people, and other times I need to decrease the volume because the sound is too loud in some places and it bothers me so I created an implant to increase and decrease the volume when I need it,” said the bright young spark.
🇺🇸 Cambria & Kayla Henry (8), California, USA (joint entry)
What do you do when you have trouble understanding what dad is saying under his face mask and he asks a very important question (what ice cream one wants)? Twin sisters Cambria & Kayla came up with the ultimate solution for this, an anti-muffler phone app setting, which helps provide clarity in speech to avoid this dilemma (the answer to dad’s question is mint chocolate chip ice cream of course!)
“I (Kayla) was born deaf in my right ear. I got the ADHEAR when I was in first grade. There were many times at school when my ADHEAR would fall off and I didn’t know. One time I lost it on the football field, and I had to miss class to look all around for it…right now, it is really hard for me to understand people when they talk with a mask on. It’s frustrating and I wish there was something that could help me understand people with masks on. All these challenges motivated my twin sister and I to invent the Listen Up app!”
🇬🇧 Dylan Sandey (12), Cheltenham, United Kingdom
As a seven-week-old baby Dylan was found to have hearing loss in both ears, then at three months old he was fitted with hearing aids, however since he had a profound hearing loss the hearing aids were not sufficient enough to help him hear, then at 22 months old he had the opportunity to be fitted with CI’s. Since that fateful date, he has gone from strength to strength and is now an inventor who impressed the contest judges with his well-thought-out ideas4ears entry.
“My invention is the hearing loss smart watch ultra. Here is the design of the best-known invention for people with a hearing loss.” Watch below to learn more:
🇪🇸 Gonzalo Zafra Gutiérrez (9), Madrid, Spain
This big thinker was inspired by superheroes with his invention idea, he created a detailed drawing and used a mask to help demonstrate his concept in the video presentation.
“My parents, siblings and I came up with the idea by watching superhero movies, like Iron Man. I have hearing loss (I have a hearing aid in my right ear) and I have a cochlear implant with RONDO 2 in my left ear. Having a technology like the RONDO 2 in my ear is almost like a superpower, as it allows me to do something I couldn’t do before – hear. If the technology evolves, it can allow me to do many more things.”
🇦🇷 Hugo Benjamín Jovanovics (8), Tucumán, Argentina
Siblings always look out for one another, so they say, and Hugo is no exception. Coming from a family of seven siblings, this young inventor is especially considerate of the needs of his big brother when he goes on horse-riding adventures but doesn’t always remember to bring all the items that he needs for his hearing implants.
“My brother Tomas is deaf and has cochlear implants, when he goes horse-riding, he needs to be able to recharge his batteries in areas without power…so I propose a motion sensor of Tomas’s horse’s gallop that charges the batteries without the need for him to carry a spare.”
🇵🇪 Juan Pablo Nicolás Anicama La Serna (12), Lima, Perú
Thoughtful Juan wanted to invent something to help people in Peru who are deaf and who may not have access to the services that they need. He presents an app that transcribes the signs of people with hearing impairment into written or oral texts so that they can communicate more easily.
“In Peru, deaf people find it difficult to carry out their daily activities because they are unable to communicate with others, as few people know Peruvian sign language. For example, simple situations such as ordering in a restaurant, asking for directions in the street, or carrying out formalities at the bank are very difficult for deaf people. On the other hand, in schools and universities, an interpreter is not always available, which affects their ability to learn adequately and at the same level as their peers.”
🇩🇪 Laurin Hehl (8), Düsseldorf, Germany
Laurin has been wearing bilateral CI’s since the age of one. This is the third year Laurin entered the ideas4ears contest and with this commitment, he truly embodies the character of an inventor to never give up and to keep on trying.
Over the years, he has perfected his pitch presentation skills and explains his idea with conviction and charisma! Check it out here:
🇨🇭 Luca Hägi (10), Köniz, Switzerland
Luca has been a CI user since he was two years old, now he was inspired to invent more functions for his device to make his life both easier and fun when he is out and about!
“My invention is called GPS-MED-EL. It is an add-on for the CI, which helps you to find the desired address, and can also make emergency calls. This add-on can be found with the speech processor.”
🇭🇳 Lucianna Buck (7), Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Lucianna is proof that the youngest of minds have the biggest hearts to show care and compassion for others. Lucianna’s younger sister Adriana has two CI’s, so she was motivated to help her with her idea so she can still hear just as well when she grows up.
The judges were impressed by her efforts to consider how her little sisters’ life will look like in the future and to ensure that she can still hear just as well as she does now.
🇮🇷 Mohammad Hossein Jamshidi (10), Tehran, Iran
Mohammad was inspired to invent by his mother and people who wear CI’s as they sometimes can have problems understanding people talking to them, especially these days when wearing face masks are common.
“My idea is a Phone Glove. When someone talks to a person with a hearing problem and they don’t understand what he or she is saying, they can put the Phone Glove in front of their mouth and what they say will appear on the screen of the device in words and the person with a hearing problem can understand what is being said.”
🇦🇹 Paul Pareiss (8), Vienna, Austria
What do you do when your siblings are playing with their noisy lightsabers and you can’t hear mum talking? Paul came up with a great solution for noisy environments with his invention.
His idea is a “Recording function of the audio processor to be able to listen again to poorly understood material at the push of a button via audio link without having to ask. During the replay, it should be possible to filter the noise and slow down or increase the volume.”
The entertaining video got the whole family involved, mum, brother, sister, and dad the cameraman, watch and enjoy!
🇮🇳 Rahul Ram (6), Jodhpur, India
Protection was top of mind when big brother Rahul came up with his invention to make sure his younger sister was always safe and could hear at all times, especially during the night.
“My younger sister, Rishika was implanted in both ears in 2018 and 2019. We all are very happy that she can hear now and is learning to speak as well. But it always bothered me that she could not hear anything at night or in the morning till she would wear her implant again. Sometimes, at night, I would call out to her, but she wouldn’t respond as she couldn’t hear me. I felt this could be dangerous too, so I came up with the idea of this ultra-soft, small chip which she can wear like a hairclip and sleep comfortably while being able to hear sounds at night too. It won’t hurt her while sleeping nor get damaged and she will be able to wake up to the morning alarm too, without having to depend on anybody to come and wake her up.”
🇮🇳 Tanvi Chhahira (10), Bangalore, India
Home-schooling has become a challenge for some young people who had to adapt to a new way of learning during the pandemic. Tanvi kept this in focus with her idea and wanted to support children in their classes to hear sounds much better.
“I wear OPUS 2 bilaterally since I was a year and a half old. My inspiration for this was when my classes turned online during the pandemic. I couldn’t hear very clearly in the beginning especially with background noise. And headphones were never comfortable with the OPUS 2. So, I thought direct Bluetooth connectivity would help to stream sounds.”
Innovation – the basis for hearing implant progress
Innovation is essential when exploring ways to improve the lives of those with hearing loss and the ideas4ears competition has raised awareness of the benefits of hearing technology.
Whilst celebrating children’s creativity, ideas4ears aimed to engage parents to participate in an interactive activity with their children to improve the whole family’s understanding of the challenges associated with hearing loss and deafness as well as the benefits of treatment.
If you are worried about the hearing loss of a family member or for your own hearing loss, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a free information package on hearing and the solutions available.
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