Over 340 entries were submitted from 19 different countries worldwide in the ideas4ears contest to help people living with hearing loss. The judges had a very challenging task to select only the top entries from across the globe. We can proudly introduce the following winners who will travel to MED-EL Headquarters in Innsbruck, Austria this June to see where the real inventions to help people living with hearing loss are developed.
Betty Seabrook, 8 years old from Lymm, United Kingdom
Betty’s ingenious idea was to create a special custom helmet for RONDO that Cochlear Implant (CI) users can wear with their RONDO processor while riding a bike. Named ‘Betty’s Brilliant Bike Helmet’ she was inspired by her father Tom who is a CI user.
“I can’t explain how it feels, I am so happy. I didn’t expect to win. I’m really excited about the trip because it is the first time I will have been on a plane and I am really looking forward to seeing Austria. I want my dad to wear a bike helmet, but he can’t without taking his processor off which would be more dangerous. My bike helmet has a foam lining and I just thought why can’t we make one with space for an implant?”
Fernando Linares Tavárez, 8 years old from Valladolid, Spain
Fernando is an active and adventurous young boy who has a love of sports, surfing and the ocean! His invention idea came about because of his wish to have a fully waterproof CI so he can still enjoy all the activities he likes without worrying about getting his CI components wet. When we asked him how he felt after being named a winner he said, “I am very happy to be one of the winners who will go to Innsbruck…I dedicate this prize to my parents and to all the doctors that have helped me to hear.”
Watch Fernando explaining about his submersible implant invention idea below (in Spanish):
Hleb Aucharou, 7 years old from Minsk, Belarus
Hleb is a young inventor with not one, but two ideas to help people living with hearing loss. Watch the video below to learn all about his creative and fun inventions. The Viking Helmet idea is not to be missed (in Russian).
“Hello everybody! A happy event is here as my ideas have been noticed! Thank you very much! I’m just so happy and I feel so lucky. Innsbruck is waiting for us and I can’t wait to visit there!” exclaims Hleb.
Jaylin Macerinskas, 8 years old from Colorado USA
Jaylin lives in Colorado USA, a place famous for its Rocky Mountains. Now Jaylin will get to swap the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains for the stunning Austrian Alps during the ideas4ears winners trip in June. To further explain the motivation behind her idea she says “I would like being deaf to be more invisible so you can choose who you tell. I think it would give deaf people more confidence about their deafness”, Jaylin says.
Heather, Jaylin’s mother will travel to Austria with the young inventor and says “Jaylin and I are elated and feel so honored to be chosen for this once in a lifetime opportunity. We are beside ourselves with excitement that we are being given the chance to travel to another country, experience a new culture, and be able to share our story. Jaylin has such a vibrant personality that has never been dulled by her hearing loss. I am beyond proud of Jaylin and the ideas she created through this contest. I know this opportunity will build her confidence, and hopefully that of many other kids with hearing loss.”
The bright mind of Jaylin came up with an invisible implant idea and even created a prototype. Watch her invention pitch below:
Leon Dean, 9 years old from Padbury, Western Australia
Leon comes from the land down under in Western Australia, a place famed for its sunshine and beaches. His imaginative invention idea came from personal experience, “My special feature is a Wakey Wakey function which is a vibrating, flashing alarm to wake you up, but it also has a setting that turns your cochlear volume up slowly over 5 minutes, so I wouldn’t get sound shock when you put them on after a long time without sound.”
“I am very happy about winning the contest. I was so shocked and surprised that my idea won. I’m so excited about going on a trip to the other side of the world and meeting the people that designed and made the implants I have. It is really amazing that one day my idea might be able to help people with hearing loss like me” says Leon. Watch Leon explain his concept for the ‘Wakey Wakey’ watch:
Mahesh Saravanan, 10 years old from Chennai, India
Mahesh is from Tamil Nadu in Southern India. When we asked Mahesh how he felt about winning he says, “I am very happy to be one of the winners in the ideas4ears competition…I am proud to say to my friends and family that I will go to MED-EL in Austria…I thank my parents and the doctors for encouraging me to participate!” With the support of the local clinic in Chennai, Mahesh put his directors’ hat on to make this creative video where he role plays along with his mother to explain his idea. Watch below:
Sophie Reichle and Eva-Maria Rehdes, 8 years old from Andechs, Germany
Sophie and Eva-Maria are classmate friends and proof that great minds think alike. The girls created a special bed where the hair cells in the cochlea are restored by laser treatment during sleep. “We learnt that broken hairs in the cochlea were one reason why some people couldn’t hear. We created a box with a laser which could repair these hairs. We concluded that the easiest and most time-efficient way of using the laser would be overnight. Therefore, a bed seemed to be the most practical solution.”
“For the treatment to be successful, they need to spend their night in the laser bed exactly twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays. In the laser bed, the ears are irradiated overnight with two lasers. With this treatment, the damaged hearing hairs straighten up again,” explain the elementary students from Andechs in Bavaria. But beware: “The hairs fall after a few days again, which is why a regular sleep in the laser bed is needed.”
Trinidad Medina Riquelme, 6 years old from Temuco, Chile
Trinidad’s inspiration to create her invention idea was her younger sister Olivia. The siblings often go on adventures together and Trinidad was concerned for Olivia not being able to hear. “When we go out for a walk and it is getting late Olivia does not listen because she runs out of batteries. I would like to help her with my idea so that these batteries are charged alone with the energy of the sun or with movement. This way my little sister would never be without listening. I am very happy to receive this award because I will go to meet the manufacturers of the audio processor and I will get to see new countries and a continent,” says Trinidad.
Trinidad’s Mother encouraged other parents who have a child with hearing loss to never give up hope. “For the fathers and mothers who are beginning this process, do not get discouraged and continue with strength. Every day is a new day and achievements are seen in their time. Do not lower your arms and keep going!”
Watch Trinidad along with little sister Olivia explain her clever idea below (in Spanish):
ideas4ears aims to raise awareness about hearing loss and to encourage parents to check the hearing of their children. No matter your age, young or old, it is important to check your hearing on a regular basis. Take the free hearing test here.
If you are worried about the hearing loss of a family member or your own hearing loss contact firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a free information package on hearing and the solutions available.
Alternatively, you can contact your local MED-EL clinic to speak with our caring staff who can advise you about the hearing services available in your local area.
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