8-year-old Washington state girl's invention could change future of cochlear implants

Updated: March 03, 2020 11:38 AM
Created: March 03, 2020 11:34 AM

(KGW)  At 8 years old, Kenzi Cayton is into things you might expect.

She’s a Girl Scout, she loves the Portland Trail Blazers and she is super into baking.


There is one thing that sets her apart from other kids at her school in Vancouver. Kenzi was born profoundly deaf.

Kenzi had her first cochlear implant when she was just 1, then got her second implant in 2017.

Just a few years later, she's thinking up ways to try to make life easier for other kids like her.

She made a video and entered a contest put on by MED-EL, her implant manufacturer. Her directive was to invent something that would make implants better or improve the lives of deaf people.

"My invention was to create a cochlear implant that has the ability to automatically change skins or designs to anything I want just by clicking a button in an app," Kenzi said.

"It really highlighted her creativity and just her artistic flair," says her mom, Kelli.

Kenzi's idea was a winner. This summer she gets to go to Austria to visit her implant manufacturer's headquarters. There, she'll meet the scientists behind the technology, along with the other children from the around the world whose ideas also won.

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