It’s patent time again, when Hearing Economics shares its exciting list of new patent approvals in the hearing aid world.  Or should we say hearing device world, or maybe just audio world?  The list gets longer each time and the applications wider.  Near field, in the traditional hearing aid sense, is evaporating as communications/software manufacturers such as AT&T and IBM patent far field solutions.

 Such patents use new language such as customer end point device, group interaction, audible utterance, conversation path, audio source data, and identified speaker.   Those terms are largely unfamiliar to Audiologists, at least in the US; ditto for “howling suppression,” which may conjure up slasher movies.  Less provincial types (Wayne Staab, not me)  know howling to be

 …an oscillation phenomenon caused by a sound loop in which a sound outputted from a speaker returns to a microphone. Once a sound loop is formed, a sinusoidal signal having a sharp peak is generated and a sound having a particular frequency continues to be amplified until the loop is cut.

In other words, howling is another word for feedback.   Was I the only one who didn’t know this?

Patents Approved in April and May 2014

Description Patent Number Assignee Issued
Generating Representations of Group Interactions 8655654 International Business Machines Corporation (Armonk, NY) 2/18/2014
System and Method of Speech Discriminability Assessment, and Computer Program 8655439 Panasonic Corporation (Osaka, JP) 2/18/2014
Modular Cochlear Implant Systems Including Implantable Sound Processors 8655449 Advanced Bionics AG (Zug, CH) 2/18/2014
Method and Apparatus for a Finger Sensor for a Hearing Assistance Device 8655000 Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN) 2/18/2014
Piercing Conducted Bone Conduction Device 8655002 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 2/18/2014
Method and Apparatus for Providing an Audio Signal for an Event 8655262 AT&T Intellectual Property I, L.P. (Atlanta, GA). 2/18/2014
Implantable Universal Docking Station for Prosthetic Hearing Devices 8657734 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 2/25/2014
Systems and Methods of Facilitating Manual Adjustment of One or More Cochlear Implant System Control Parameters 8660657 Advanced Bionics AG (Zug, CH) 2/25/2014
Microphone Array Apparatus Having Hidden Microphone Placement and Acoustic Signal Processing Apparatus Including the Same 8665305 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Suwon-si, KR) 3/04/2014
Precision Micro-Hole for Extended Life Batteries 8666101 InSound Medical, Inc. (Newark, CA) 3/04/2014
Bluetooth Transmission Facility for Hearing Devices, and Corresponding Transmission Method 8666314 Siemens Audiologische Technik GmbH (Erlangen, Germany) 3/04/2014
Hearing Aid for Hearing Aid and a Method for Alleviating Tinnitus Using a Notch Filter 8666099 Widex A/S (Lynge, DK) 3/04/2014
Method for Processing a Multi-Channel Audio Signal for a Binaural Hearing Apparatus and a Corresponding Hearing Apparatus 8666080 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore, SG) 3/04/2014
Holder and Method for Shapinga Sound Tube 8663529 GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark) 3/04/2014
Method and Arrangement for Training Hearing System Users 8666084 Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland) 3/04/2014
Hearing System Comprising an Earpiece 8712063 Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland) 3/04/2014
System and Method for Network Based Hearing Aid Compatible Mode Selection 8670355 AT&T Mobility II LLC (Atlanta) 3/11/2014
N Band FM Demodulation to Aid Cochlear Hearing Impaired Persons 8670582 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 3/11/2014
Hearing Device 8670584 Theodore F. Moran (Indianapolis IN) 3/11/2014
Electrically insulative structure having holes for feedthroughs 8672667 Cochlear Limited (AU) 3/18/2014
Howling Suppression Device, Hearing Aid, Howling Suppression Method, and Integrated Circuit 8675901 Panasonic Corporation (Osaka, JP) 3/18/2014
Hearing Aid with Antenna for Reception and Transmission of Electromagnetic Signals 8675902 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 3/18/2014
Hearing device with automatic clipping prevention and corresponding method 8682013 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 3/25/2014
Hearing Prosthesis with Integrated Sensors for Measuring Pressure in a Cochlea 8679031 Cochlear Limited (AU) 3/25/2014
Method for Switching a Hearing Device between Two Operating States and Hearing Device 8682001 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore, SG) 3/25/2014
Magnetostrictive Micro Loud Speaker 8682009 Siemens Audiologische Technik GmbH (Erlangen, Germany) 3/25/2014
Entrainment Avoidance with an Auto Regressive Filter 8681999 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 3/25/2014
Stimulus Timing for a Stimulating Medical Device 8688222 Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU) 4/01/2014
Method for Monitoring the Influence of Ambient Noise on Stochastic Gradient Algorithms during Identification of Linear Time-Invariant Systems” 8687819 Bernafon AG (Berne, Switzerland) 4/01/2014
Method and System for Surveillance of a Wireless Connection in a Hearing Aid Fitting System 8687817 Widex A/S (Lynge, DK) 4/01/2014
Hearing Aid System with Feedback Arrangement to Predict and Cancel Acoustic Feedback, Method and Use 8687832 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 4/01/2014
Embedded RFID recorder in short-range wireless devices 8686855 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 4/01/2014
Method of providing input parameters or information for the fitting process of hearing instruments or ear pieces for a hearing device 8687833 Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland) 4/01/2014
Hearing Assistance System and Method 8693715 Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland) 4/01/2014
Receiver tube, receiver and hearing aid instrument with a receiver tube 8693718 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore, SG) 4/08/2014
Method for compensating for an interference sound in a hearing apparatus, hearing apparatus, and method for adjusting a hearing apparatus 8693717 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore, SG) 4/08/2014
Condenser Microphone 8693712 Goertek Inc. (Weifang, CN) 4/08/2014
Methods and Systems for Fitting a Bilateral Cochlear Implant Patient Using a Single Sound Processor 894112 Advanced Bionics AG (Zug, CH) 4/08/2014
Parametric Fitting of a Cochlear Implant 8694113 Cochlear Limited (AU) 4/08/2014
Internet phone trainer 8693639 Cochlear Limited (AU) 4/08/2014
System and Method for Controlling an Audio Feature of a Hearing Assistance Device 8693714 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 4/08/2014
Adjustment and Cleaning Tool for a Hearing Assistance Device 8693719 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 4/08/2014
Hearing Device with Analog Filtering and Associated Method 8693716 GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, DK) 4/08/2014
Identification element for a Hearing Device Unit 8699735 Siemens Audiologische Technik GmbH (Erlangen, Germany) 4/15/2014
External speech processor unit for an auditory prosthesis 8700170 Cochlear Limited (AU) 4/15/2014
Dual Microphone EAS System That Prevents Feedback 8699734 Advanced Bionics AG (Zug, Switzerland) 4/15/2014
Parallel Antennas for Standard Fit Hearing Assistance Devices 8699733 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 4/15/2014
Hearing Aid 8699736 ExSilent Research B.V. (Amsterdam) 4/15/2014
Hearing Aid Adapted for Embedded Electronics 8705785 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 4/22/2014
Compression and mixing for hearing assistance devices 8705751 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 4/22/2014
Wireless Beacon System to Identify Acoustic Environment for Hearing Assistance Devices 8705782 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 4/22/2014
Optimal spatial filtering in the presence of wind in a hearing prosthesis 8705781 Cochlear Limited (AU) 4/22/2014
Hearing Prosthesis with Accessory Detection 8706245 Cochlear Limited (AU) 4/22/2014
Directional Sound Processing in a Cochlear Implant 8706248 Cochlear Limited (AU) 4/22/2014
Light Powered Hearing Aid 8712085 Zounds Hearing Inc. (Tempe, Ariz.) 4/29/2014
Method and Apparatus for Monitoring Wireless Communication in Hearing Assistance Systems 8712083 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 4/29/2014
Real ear measurement system using thin tube 8712081 Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 4/29/2014
Neurophysiological Central Auditory Processing Evaluation System and Method 8712514 Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) 4/29/2014
Methods and Apparatus for Processing Audio Signals 8712077 Sonitus Medical inc. (San Mateo, Calif.) 4/29/2014
Noise Spectrum Tracking in Noisy Acoustic Signals 8712074 Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark) 4/29/2014
Wireless Updating of Hearing Devices 8712082 Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland) 4/29/2014
Synchronization of sound generated in binaural hearing system 8712063 Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland) 4/29/2014

 Editor’s note:  The Patent Series is updated every two months.  Click links for patents approved in Jan/Feb 2014, Nov/Dec 2013, September/October 2013, Jul/Aug 2013, May/Jun 2013, Mar/Apr 2013, Jan/Feb 2013, Nov/Dec 2012 feature photo courtesy of The Inferno Music Vault