Meet Leon, a 9-year-old self-described “Aussie Deaf Kid” from Perth. Leon is the first and only Australian kid to win the annual global invention competition, ‘Ideas for Ears’.
The competition, organised by global hearing loss solutions innovator MED-EL, challenges children aged between 6-12 years old from across the globe to come up with an invention to improve the quality of life for people living with hearing loss.
Competing against kids from 19 other countries, Leon was selected as one of only nine other worldwide winners to travel to Austria to meet the inventors of his cochlear implants.
So what was Leon’s idea?
Leon’s winning entry video described a Bluetooth watch that was able to communicate with hearing implants and chance them to various custom settings, such as reducing wind noise when outdoors. Leon’s invention would also include a “Device Locator” app to help find lost processors easily, and a “Wakey, Wakey” function which is a “vibrating, flashing alarm to wake you up, but also has a setting that turns your cochlear volume up slowly over 5 minutes”.
After learning of the good news, Leon (a little speechless) told MED-EL:
“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.”
To follow Leon’s journey to Austria in July, check out the ideas4ears Facebook page or search #ideas4ears on social media.
KEY INSIGHT: One in six Aussies currently affected by hearing loss, that number is expected to rise to one in four by 2050.
TAKE A HEARING TEST
MED-EL is providing the opportunity during 2019’s Hearing Awareness Week for people to participate in a briefing hearing test online (www.listen.explore-life.com/en/), following which participants can elect to receive an information package, visit their GP or Audiology clinic to explore their options further.