The number of hearing device patents granted annually to the Big 6 manufacturers tripled in the last decade (see feature image above), peaking in 2012 and leveling off since then, by Hearing Economic’s estimation.1   The 2012 peak is mainly due to a flurry of patents awarded to Siemens (now Sivantos) that year.  

Fig 1. Patent activity status of Big 6 hearing aid manufacturers as of 12/31/2016

Sivantos holds the most US patents (Figure 1) but has had fewer patents published each year since 2012 (34 in 2016, 116 in 2012).  The other five companies have stayed steady (Phonak/Sonova) or grown (GN Resound, Oticon, Starkey, Widex) on this metric since then.  Figure 1 summarizes each company’s total patent status at the time of writing.  

In short, everybody’s in the game, holding their own, and that’s not even counting the patent portfolio held through K/S HIMPP for the US and other world markets.  It’s good news as the US healthcare industry enters uncertain territory along with the US hearing device market in 2017. 

 

 

 

The List for December 2016

 

Description

Patent Number

Assignee

Issued

Hearing aid device using dual electromechanical vibrator

9510115

Oticon Medical A/S (Smorum, DK)

11/29/2016

Combined functional component and implantable actuator positioning mechanism

9516433

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

12/06/2016

Medical device coupling arrangement

9516434

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

12/06/2016

Hearing Aid Adapter for Easy Conversion of Open Ear to Closed Ear Fitting

9516435

Johnson Hearing Technology and Communication, PLLC (Johnson City, TN)

12/06/2016

Hearing Aid Fitting System and a Method of Fitting a Hearing Aid System

9516438 & 9516439

Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark)

12/06/2016

Transducer Comprising Moisture Transporting Element

9516437

Sonion Nederland BV (Hoofddorp, Netherlands)

12/06/2016

Modular biomedical implants

9511216

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, Switzerland)

12/06/2016

Hearing System Comprising an Auditory Prosthesis Device and a Hearing Aid

9511225

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, Switzerland)

12/06/2016

Spatial Enhancement Mode for Hearing Aids

9516431

Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

12/06/2016

Hearing Aid Topshell

D773671

Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)

12/06/2016

Binaural hearing assistance system comprising binaural noise reduction

9516430

Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)

12/06/2016

Hearing Aid and Method for Controlling Hearing Aid

9516429

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Suwon-si, South Korea)

12/06/2016

Binaural hearing instrument and earpiece

9516436

Sivantos PTE. Ltd. (Singapore, SG)

12/06/2016

Transducer Impedance Measurement for Hearing Aid

9521493

Envoy Medical Corp (St. Paul, Minn)

12/13/2016

CIC Hearing Aid Seal and Method of Manufacturing the Same

9521495

Sonova AG (Stafa, Switzerland)

12/13/2016

Antenna device for hearing instruments and a hearing instrument

9521494

Sivantos PTE. Ltd. (Singapore, SG)

12/13/2016

Speaker-Oriented Hearing Aid Function Provision Method and Apparatus

9525951

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Suwon-si, South Korea)

12/20/2016

Method of Operating a Hearing Aid and a Hearing Aid

9525950

Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark)

12/20/2016

Modified electrode lead for cochlear implants

9522268

Med-El Elektromedizinische Geraete GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)

12/20/2016

Body worn sound processors with directional microphone apparatus

9532151

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, Switzerland)

12/27/2016

Method of Operating a Hearing Aid and a Hearing Aid

9532148

Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark)

12/27/2016

Method of Signal Processing in a Hearing Aid System and a Hearing Aid System

9532149

Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark)

12/27/2016

Method and Apparatus for Testing Binaural Hearing Aid Function

9532146

Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

12/27/2016

System for Detection of Special Environments for Hearing Assistance Devices

9532147

Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

12/27/2016

Interface Unit for Hearing Aids

D775358

GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, DK)

12/27/2016

Self-Fitting of a Hearing Device

9532152

iHear Medical Inc. (San Leandro, CA)

12/27/2016

Systems, Devices, Components and Methods for Improved Acoustic Coupling between a Bone Conduction Hearing Device and a Patient’s Head or Skull

9526810

Sophono Inc. (Boulder, CO)

12/27/2016

Electronic Device for Providing Information to User

9530399

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Suwon-si, KR)

12/27/2016

Method and Apparatus for Customizing Audio Signal Processing for a User

9532154

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Suwon-si, KR)

12/27/2016

 

Editor’s note:  The Patent Series is updated monthly now, and every two months in the past.  Click links for patents approved in November 2016,  October 2016Sept 2016,  Jul/Aug 2016,  May/Jun 2016Mar/Apr 2016Jan/Feb 2016,  Nov/Dec 2015, Sept/Oct 2015,  Jul/Aug 2015, May/Jun 2015,  Mar/Apr 2015Jan/Feb 2015,  Nov/Dec 2014,  Sep/Oct 2014,  July/Aug 2014,  May/Jun 2014,  Mar/Apr 2014,  Jan/Feb 2014Nov/Dec 2013September/October 2013Jul/Aug 2013May/Jun 2013Mar/Apr 2013Jan/Feb 2013Nov/Dec 2012

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