US Hearing Device Patent Approvals for May and June 2014

Being an Audiologist wandering through the Wonderful World of Patents is like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland.  I’m sure it’s better than mushrooms and the supply seems endless.

New Patents, Birth Announcements, and Rebirths in WondEAR World


May/June brought a shower of patents having to do with implants, adjustable magnet systems, spacers, bone conduction vibration, light detectors and duty cycles.   Check out EarLens patents 8715152, 3 & 4 below.

EarLens was hatched by Rodney Perkins, MD, the “serial entrepreneur” whose newest child, Soundhawk, was announced last year in David Kirkwood’s column,  As Kirkwood reported today, Soundhawk broke out of its shell this week and made all the headlines as a “hearable” wearable.  For Audiologists and dispensers still occupying the world of old, “wearable” is the New Black and “hearable” is the new It Word.

If you find that last sentence conceptually challenging, click on Brent Edwards’ illuminating 15-minute  Ted-like talk on YouTube for a pleasant introduction to what’s to be found when you go down the rabbit hole.


Could You Repeat That, Louder, Please?


Even those who understand wearables may grapple with this Mad Hatter sentence, found in  Panasonic’s patent #8744100 (issued 6/03/14):

 “a hearing-aid processing control unit configured to generate control information for controlling signal processing, based on a non-audible sound which is made by the user and is hard to hear from outside”

Think about it. What sound is  below threshold for the user/source but slightly above threshold for others/receivers?  Is this how it’s going to be when wirelessly powered micro-implants rule the ears and air waves? As the Mad Hatter said, “We’re all mad here,” but what fun.  Read on for more patent fun.


DescriptionPatent NumberAssigneeIssued
Methods and Systems for Registering and Identifying a Cochlear Implant Emulation Device and Managing Data Associated Therewith8700169Advanced Bionics (Valencia, CA)4/15/2014
Systems and Methods for Providing a Pre-Stimulation Visual Cue Representative of a Cochlear Implant Stimulation Level8700168Advanced Bionics (Valencia, CA)4/15/2014
Methods and Systems for Acoustically Controlling a Cochlear Implant System8705783Advanced Bionics (Valencia, CA)4/22/2014
Remote Audio Processor Module for Auditory Prosthesis Systems8706247Advanced Bionics (Valencia, CA)4/22/2014
Fully Implantable Cochlear Implant Systems Including Optional External Components and Methods for Using the Same8706246Advanced Bionics (Valencia, CA)4/22/2014
Noise spectrum Tracking in Noisy Acoustical Signals8712074Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)4/29/2014
Hearing Instrument Configured for Wireless Communication in Bursts and a Method of Supplying a Power to Such8718304GN Resound A/S A/S (Taastrup, Denmark)5/06/2014
Electroactive Polymer Systems8718313Personics Holdings, LLC.5/06/2014
Securing an Implanted Medical Device in a Patient8718795Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)5/06/2014
Hearing Aid System for Establishing a Conversation Group8718303Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)5/06/2014
Hearing Aid Apparatus8718307Daniel R. Schumaier (Elizabethton, TN)5/06/2014
Hearing Device with a Detachable Coupled Earpiece8718306Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore, SG)5/06/2014
Optical Electro-Mechanical Hearing Devices with Separate Power and Signal Components8715152EarLens Corporation (Redwood City, CA)5/06/2014
Optically Coupled Bone Conduction Systems and Methods8715153EarLens Corporation (Redwood City, CA)5/06/2014
Optically Coupled Cochlear Actuator Systems and Methods8715154EarLens Corporation (Redwood City, CA)5/06/2014
System for Customizing Hearing Assistance Devices8718288Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)5/06/2014
Mixing of In-the-Ear Microphone and Outside-the-Ear Microphone Signals to Enhance Spatial Perception8718302Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)5/06/2014
Securing an Implanted Medical Device in a Patient8718795Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)5/06/2014
Radio Receiver, Radio Transmitter, and Hearing Aid8724835NXP B.V. (Eindhoven, Netherlands)5/13/2014
Simultaneous-Script Execution8725267Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)5/13/2014
Hearing Aid8731221Panasonic Corp. (Osaka, Japan)5/20/2014
Bone Conduction Device Fitting8731205Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)5/20/2014
Insulated Conductive Element Having a Substantially Continuous Barrier Layer Formed through Multiple Coatings8726492Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)5/20/2014
System Comprising a Portable Electronic Device with a Time Function8737650Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)5/20/2014
Hearing Device with Two or More Microphones and Two or More Resonators Having Different Lengths and the Same Resonant Frequency8724836Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)5/20/2014
Noise Reduction System for Hearing Assistance Devices8737653Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)5/27/2014
System for Measuring Maximum Stable Gain in Hearing Assistance Devices8737655Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)5/27/2014
Methods and Apparatus for Improved Noise Reduction for Hearing Assistance Devices8737654Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)5/27/2014
Three Dimensional Substrate for Hearing Assistance Devices8737658Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)5/27/2014
Method for Operating a Hearing Device with selectively Adjusted Signal Weighing Values8737652Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore, SG)5/27/2014
Hearing Device with Feedback-Reduction Filters Operated in Parallel, and Method8737656Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore, SG)5/27/2014
Bone Conduction Device with a User Interface8737649Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)5/27/2014
Coil Retention Systems for Implantable Medical Devices8733494Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)5/27/2014
Bone Conduction Device with a User Interface8737649Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)5/27/2014
Method for Adjusting a Hearing Device with Frequency Transposition and Corresponding Arrangement8737631Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland)5/27/2014
Hearing Assistance System and Method8737651Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland)5/27/2014
Suspension for a Hearing Device Receiver, and a Method of Producing a Hearing Device, and a Hearing Device8737657GN Resound A/S A/S (Taastrup, Denmark)5/27/2014
Fitting Device and a Method of Fitting a Hearing Device to Compensate for the Hearing Loss of a User; and a Hearing Device and a Method of Reducing Feedback in a Hearing Device8744103GN Resound A/S A/S (Taastrup, Denmark)6/03/2014
Method for Testing a Wireless Communication System in Connection with a Fitting Device and a Hearing Device as Well as a Communication System8744092Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland)6/03/2014
Hearing Device with Reduced Acoustic Wind Sensitivity8744107Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore, SG)6/03/2014
Configuring an Electrically Stimulating Device to Stimulate Using a Subset of Electrode Contacts8744590Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)6/03/2014
Hearing Aid, and a Method for Control of Adaptation Rate in Anti-Feedback Systems for Hearing Aids8744102Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)6/03/2014
Hearing Aid with Adaptive Bulk Biasing Power Management8744105Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)6/03/2014
Hearing Aid in Which Signal Processing Is Controlled Based on a Correlation between Multiple Input Signals8744100Panasonic Corp. (Osaka, Japan)6/03/2014
Entrainment Avoidance with Pole Stabilization8744104Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)6/03/2014
System for Controlling the Primary Lobe of a Hearing Instrument’s Directional sensitivity Pattern8744101Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)6/03/2014
Hearing Aid with Adaptive Bulk Biasing Power Management8744105Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)6/03/2014
Hearing Aid Compatibility in a Wireless Communications Device8750929BlackBerry Ltd. (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)6/10/2014
Listening Device Adapted for Establishing an Electric Connection to an External Device Using Electrically Conductive Parts of One or More Components of the Listening Device8750548Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)6/10/2014
Cochlear Electrode Array8751019Cochlear Ltd (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)6/10/2014
Hearing Assistance Devices with Echo Cancellation8750545Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)6/10/2014
Sound Processors and Implantable Cochlear Stimulation Systems Including the Same8750546Advanced Bionics (Valencia, CA)6/10/2014
Stability and Speech Audibility Improvements in Hearing Aids8755545GN Resound A/S A/S (Taastrup, Denmark)6/17/2014
Hearing Apparatus Having a Special Sound Channel8755551Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore, SG)6/17/2014
Reference Electrodes for Inner Ear Stimulation Devices8755910Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)6/17/2014
Automatic Performance Optimization for Perceptual Devices8755533Audigence Inc; Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)6/17/2014
Universal Flexible In-the-Ear Hearing Aid8755549Jiangsu Betterlife Medical Co. Ltd (Changshu, China)6/17/2014
Ear Mould and Hearing Aid with Open In-Ear Receiving Device8755548Jiangsu Betterlife Medical Co. Ltd (Changshu, China)6/17/2014
Sound Processing Apparatus, Sound Processing Method and Hearing Aid8755546Panasonic Corp. (Osaka, Japan)6/17/2014
Speaker, Hearing Aid, Earphone, and Portable Terminal Device8755558Panasonic Corp. (Osaka, Japan)6/17/2014
Portable Electronic Device and Computer-Readable Medium for Remote Hearing Aid Profile Storage8761421Audiotoniq Inc. (Austin, Texas)6/24/2014
Frequency translation by high-frequency spectral envelope warping in hearing assistance devices8761422Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)6/24/2014
Listening system comprising an alerting device and a listening device8760284Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)6/24/2014
Cochlear implant with modified intracochlear electrode member8761904Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)6/24/2014

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

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.

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