MED-EL, a developer of hearing implants, has partnered with Microsoft to advance global communication technology for individuals with hearing loss.

The multi-year collaboration will create accessibility tools and communication technologies tailored for individuals who use hearing devices like cochlear implants.

It will combine the expertise of both organisations in hearing loss and technology.

Austria-based MED-EL offers a range of implantable and non-implantable solutions to treat all types of hearing loss.

Its portfolio includes cochlear and middle ear implant systems, a combined electric acoustic stimulation hearing implant system, along with surgical and non-surgical bone conduction devices.

MED-EL CEO Ingeborg Hochmair said: “Microsoft is an avid supporter of our vision to remove hearing loss as a barrier communication and quality of life, which is why we’re very excited to be working together.

“By combining our resources, skills, and existing technologies, we can achieve new standards in accessibility for those living with hearing loss, the hundreds of thousands of individuals using our implants, and a network of people around them.”

The initiative starts with empowering children with hearing loss. For this, Microsoft has been named the official Technology Partner for MED-EL’s IDEASforEARS global children’s invention contest.

The contest encourages children aged six to 12 to discover their creativity and create new products that could enhance the lives of individuals with hearing loss.

The 14 winners of this year’s contest will be honoured in Innsbruck, Austria, where MED-EL is headquartered.

Scheduled in the current month, this event will showcase Microsoft’s technology playing a pivotal role in facilitating communication among young inventors.

These children have diverse languages and use hearing devices such as cochlear implants, middle ear implants, or bone conduction solutions.  

Supported by Microsoft tablets and software, the children will communicate through live translation technology in their native languages, access essential event details, engage in interactive activities, and share updates with their families from Innsbruck.

Microsoft Austria general manager Hermann Erlach said: “Our relationship with MED-EL shows how technology can contribute to an accessible world where everyone can fully engage and take part in life.

“At Microsoft, we are committed to this cause as diversity and inclusion is central to our mission to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.”