Hearing disorders are the focus of Ingeborg Hochmair-Desoyer’s work. She studied communications engineering at the Vienna University of Technology, and in 1979 became the first woman to earn a doctorate in electrical engineering. Her interest in devices that can stimulate the inner ear nerves was sparked early on. With her husband, she developed the world’s first microelectronic, multichannel cochlear implant, which was first used successfully in 1977. In 1990, the first employees were hired to develop and manufacture hearing implants at MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geräte GmbH in Innsbruck.
A native of Vienna, she has authored more than 100 scientific publications on cochlear implants, neuroprostheses, and hearing and speech processing. She holds 50 patents, was Entrepreneur of the Year in Austria, was named Business Woman of the Year, and is the recipient of the Ludwig Wittgenstein Award and the Eduard Rhein Foundation Technology Award, among others. In 2013, she was awarded the prestigious Lasker-DeBakey Prize.