http://intangible.me/apple-to-beef-up-their-iphone-hearing-aid-compatibility-features-patently-apple/

US Hearing Aid/Device Patents for September and October 2013

Another bunch of patents compiled, with a few notes of varying importance.

  • Important: “Hearing aid” and “hearing device” are quickly becoming inadequate to capture innovations and new players in the ear-level communication field.  Patent applications are proliferating from a variety of sources for diverse technologies and methodologies (e.g., Patent Application 20130272555).  It’s tempting to include them in the Table, but it’s too long already.
  • Time will tell if this is important:  Panasonic garnered a bunch of patents and they did it in record time on most.  I don’t know why Panasonic gets their applications through faster than others.  I also don’t know whether Panasonic cares much, since they sold their Healthcare business unit for $1.67B on October 3rd  to giant US private equity company Kolberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P.  (KKR).  The deal (set to finalize next March) includes patents and other intellectual property. KKR is interested in the “expanding global healthcare market” which probably means focusing on Panasonic’s big sellers (e.g., blood glucose monitors for diabetes).  They may exit the hearing aid market but one hearing aid market report speculates that if KKR picks up the hearing aid portion, “only time will tell whether they plan to continue utilizing traditional distribution channels or redirect their efforts toward a direct-to-consumer strategy.”
  • Important to me: I vote for Starkey patent #8542841 .  Anything that reduces time, expense, cumbersomeness and calibration contortions of Real Ear in the clinic gets my vote.  Measuring SPL at the patient’s  tympanic membrane through their own hearing aid as part of the fitting has been a long time coming.
  • Is this important?  US Patent #8545383 is for a “Light Activated Hearing Aid.”  Must be more to that than meets the eye, so to speak, but the title disconcerts.

Increasingly, the titles of hearing aid patents include the word “Method” as inventions move from things-you-can-stick-in-your-ear to ideas about such things.  Programming and software are the stuff of patents now, which takes me briefly back to that recurring theme of patent trolls and patent infringement.

Check out this fascinating NPR podcast about patent attacks, featuring a cameo by Steven Colbert as well as interesting terms such as “shake-down,”  “protection,”  “get money”  and companies with names like “Bullet Proof Technologies of Texas.”  Sounds like an episode of  The Sopranos, set out west and starring Ira Glass.  As this hilarious quote from the show says, the podcast itself was a patent infringement:

Personal Audio … claims it holds a patent used by all podcasters. Podcasters, they say, owe them money. Only catch: their company never made a digital podcast or invented a way to download it into a listening device.

Description

Patent Number

Assignee

Filed

Issued

Input selection for Auditory Devices8515108Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

6/16/2008

8/20/2013

Systems, Methods, and Articles of Manufacture for Characterizing Hearing Prosthesis Channel Interaction8521296Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

7/18/2011

8/27/2013

Device for Variable-Length Fixing of the Actuator End Piece of an Active Hearing Implant in the Middle Ear8518112Heinz Kurz GmbH Hedizintechnik (Dusslingen DE)

9/21/2011

8/27/2013

Artifact Cancellation in Hybrid audio Prostheses8521297Med-EL Elektromedizinische Geraete GmbH (innsbruck, AT)

12/11/2009

8/27/2013

Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aid Whose Microphone Is Set in an Entrance of Ear Canal8526653Panasonic Corp. (Osaka, Japan)

6/22/2011

9/03/2013

Hearing Aid8526624Otion A/S (Smorum, Denmark)

3/20/2012

9/03/2013

Methods and Systems of Automatically Detecting an Impeance of One or More Electrodes in a Cochlear Implant System8527058Advance Bionics, LLC (Valencia, CA)

8/10/2012

9/03/2013

Receiver Module for Inflating a Membrane in an Ear Device8526651Sonion Nederland BV (Hoofddorp, NL)

1/24/2011

9/03/2013

Occlusion Effect Mitigation and Sound Isolation Device for Orifice Inserted Systems8522916Personics Holdings Inc. (Boca Raton, FL)

10/17/2012

9/03/2013

Hearing Aid Device8532318Panasonic Corp. (Osaka, Japan)

10/05/2010

9/10/2013

Method and system for Fitting a Hearing Aid8532320Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark)

4/15/2008

9/10/2013

Filter Bank Configuration for a Hearing Device8532319Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore)

7/09/2010

9/10/2013

Computer-Assisted Diagnostic Hearing Test8529464Tympany, LLC (The Woodlands, TX)

6/14/2010

9/10/2013

Filter Bank Configuration for a Hearing Device8532319Siemens Medial Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore, SG)

7/09/2010

9/10/2013

Hearing device Having One or More In-the-Canal Vibrating Extensions8532321Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

7/07/2008

9/10/2013

Method and System for Providing Binaural Hearing Assistance8532307Phonak AG (Stafa, CH)

1/30/2007

9/10/2013

Bone Conduction Device for a Single Sided Deaf Recipient8532322Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

3/31/2009

9/10/2013

Hearing Device with Frequency shifting and Associated Method8538053Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapoer, SG)

1/28/2011

9/17/2013

Hearing Aid8538056Panasonic Corp. (Osaka, Japan)

1/13/2012

9/17/2013

Method for Communicating with a Hearing Aid8538050Zounds Hearing Inc (Phoenix)

2/17/2006

9/17/2013

Hearing Aid, Computing Device, and Method for Selecting a Hearing Aid Profile8538049Audiotoniq Inc. (Austin, Texas)

2/09/2011

9/17/2013

Semi-Permanent Canal Hearing Device and Insertion Method8538055InSound Medical Inc. (Newark, Calif.)

2/15/2008

9/17/2013

Systems and Methods for Obtaining Hearing Enhancement Fittings for a Hearing Aid Device8538033Sonic Innovations, Inc. (Salt Lake City)

9/01/2009

9/17/2013

Generation of Probe Noise in a feedback Cancellation System8538052Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)

6/26/2008

9/17/2013

Remote Programming System for Programmable Hearing Aids8542842Richard Zaccaria (Baldwinsville, NY)

1/21/2010

9/24/2013

Cellphone Managed Hearing Eyeglasses8543061Suhami Associates ltd (Petah Tikva, Israel)

3/27/2012

9/24/2013

Bone Conduction Device with a Movement Sensor8542857Cochlear Limited (NSW, AU)

12/30/2010

9/24/2013

Method to Estimate the sound Pressure Level at Eardrum Using Measurements Away from the Eardrum8542841Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

1/11/2010

9/24/2013

Hearing Device with a Space-saving Arrangement of Microphones and Sound Openings8542858Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore)

12/03/2010

9/24/2013

System for Reducing Acoustic feedback in Hearing Aids Using Inter-Aural Signal Transmission, Method and Use8542855Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)

7/21/2009

9/24/2013

Hearing Aid8542856Panasonic Corp. (Osaka, Japan)

12/01/2010

9/24/2013

Auxiliary Member for Hearing Aid8548182Panasonic Corp. (Osaka, Japan)

5/23/2011

10/01/2013

System, Method, Program, and Integrated Circuit for Hearing Aid8548180Panasonic Corp. (Osaka, Japan)

11/09/2010

10/01/2013

Light Activated Hearing Aid Device8545383Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (Hannover, Germany)

1/30/2009

10/01/2013

Hearing Device with Individually Aligned Electronic Component and Production Method8548183Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore)

2/17/2010

10/01/2013

Hearing Aid Fitting Device8548179Panasonic Corp. (Osaka, Japan)

11/29/2011

10/01/2013

Method of Generating an Optimized Venting Channel in a Hearing Instrument8554352Siemens Hearing Instruments Inc. (Piscataway, N.J.)

5/07/2009

10/08/2013

Method and Apparatus for Directional Acoustic Fitting of Hearing Aids”8553897Dean Robert Gary Anderso (Orem, Utah)

7/23/2009

10/08/2013

Method and Hearing Aid for Changing the Sequence of Program Positions8553916Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore)

4/16/2009

10/08/2013

Method for Actively Reducing Occlusion Comprising Plausibility Check and corresponding Hearing Apparatus8553917Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore)

3/12/2009

10/08/2013

Device and Method to Reduce Ear Wax Clogging of Acoustic Ports, Hearing Aid Sealing System, and Feedback Reduction System8554350Personics Holdings Inc. (Boca Raton, Fla)

10/15/2009

10/08/2013

Hearing Aid Adjustment Device, Hearing Aid Adjustment Method, and Program for Hearing Aid Adjustment8553915Panasonic Corp. (Osaka, Japan)

2/06/2012

10/08/2013

Hearing Aid Device8565460Panasonic Corp. (Osaka, Japan)

10/17/2011

10/22/2013

Hearing Aid8565456Panasonic Corp. (Osaka, Japan)

11/02/2011

10/22/2013

Media Player and Adapter for Providing Audio Data to Hearing Aid8565458Audiotoniq Inc. (Austin, Texas

3/03/2011

10/22/2013

Hearing Aid Insertion Tool8571247John J. Oezer (Bradenton, Fla.)

8/18/2011

10/29/2013

Wireless communication Devce and HAC Module Thereof8571246Chi Mei Communication Systems Inc. (New Taipei, Taiwan)

5/31/2011

10/29/2013

Method for adapting Sound in a Hearing Aid Device by Frequency Modification and Such a Device8571242Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland)

5/30/2008

10/29/2013

Hearing Aid Wireless Network8571241GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)

8/17/2010

10/29/2013

 editor’s note:  The Patent Series is updated every two months.  Click links for patents approved in Jan/Feb 2014Nov/Dec 2013September/October 2013Jul/Aug 2013May/Jun 2013Mar/Apr 2013Jan/Feb 2013Nov/Dec 2012

image courtesy of intangible.me



About Holly Hosford-Dunn

Holly Hosford-Dunn, PhD, graduated with a BA and MA in Communication Disorders from New Mexico State, completed a PhD in Hearing Sciences at Stanford, and did post-docs at Max Planck Institute (Germany) and Eaton-Peabody Auditory Physiology Lab (Boston). Post-education, she directed the Stanford University Audiology Clinic; developed multi-office private practices in Arizona; authored/edited numerous text books, chapters, journals, and articles; and taught Marketing, Practice Management, Hearing Science, Auditory Electrophysiology, and Amplification in a variety of academic settings.