Vancouver girl’s hearing device ‘skins’ win top prize


Kenzi's idea for cochlear implant 'skins' won the top prize in the US for an international Med-El competition

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — An 8-year-old girl from Vancouver is about to go on the trip of a lifetime thanks to her own award-winning invention.

Kenzi is a Girl Scout, she likes to bake and she’s a fan of the Portland Trail Blazers. She’s also worn cochlear implants for nearly her entire life.

She decorates her implants with specially-designed stickers called “skins.” When she heard about Med-El’s Ideas 4 Ears Children’s Invention Contest, she knew exactly the idea she wanted to submit. Her family helped her create a video about her idea.

Kenzi is an 8-year-old girl from Vancouver who won a Med-El contest for her cochlear implant “skins” idea, Feb. 26, 2020. (KOIN)

Kenzi’s idea is to create an implant that allows wearers to change the device’s skins to anything they want with the help of a smartphone app.

“There would be a bunch of decorations or colors on your phone or iPad and then you would press the design and colors you want and then it would show up on the implant,” Kenzi explained.

Her mom, Kelli Cayton, said the idea makes the implants more fun for kids.

“Kids feel more excited about wearing them because they obviously stand out a bit. So I think it would just help with fitting in,” she said.

Kenzi’s idea won the top prize in the United States and she’ll get to travel to Austria and meet children from 27 other countries who also won for their ideas. Kenzi will also visit Med-El’s international headquarters and meet the engineers and scientists behind some of the company’s life-changing inventions.

“Believe in yourself and be proud of who you are,” Kenzi said.

Kenzi is an 8-year-old girl who won a Med-El contest for her cochlear implant “skins” idea, Feb. 26, 2020. (KOIN)

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