US Hearing Device Patents for May-June 2015

Ear devices by any name are fast becoming brain portals.  Recent Hearables and Augmentation posts probably struck most readers–especially clinicians who fit traditional amplification on aging patients–as fanciful riffs about gimmicky trifles.   The growing diversity of patents in the bimonthly list argues that we pay attention to devices and toys which are outside traditional hearing manufacturing and aim for more than targeted sound pressure levels in the ear canal.

The Big 6 are represented in ample proportion in today’s list, but so are commercial electronics manufacturers (e.g., Apply, Koss, Harman Kardon, Bose, Skullcandy, Panasonic, Qualcomm), harkening a future of Hearables.  And that’s just for patents already awarded.  The real action lies in US patent applications, patents approved outside the US, and patents far afield of the present list.  Hints of what lies ahead tell us that many companies and consumers are going to be sticking things in ears for a “plurality” of purposes. To wit:

  • New Suppliers Making Ear Amplifiers
    • Samsung’s “Hybrid Hearing Device” comprises an audio signal detector, an output signal generator with gain amplifier, and a controller that determines bone conducted or air conducted output through an output unit.  (US Patent Application 20150117688)
    • The “Earbud Set and Hearing Aid and Earphone Using Same” patent awarded last week to South Korean company Goelbio Co. Ltd. by WIPO{{1}}[[1]]World Intellectual Property Organization.”[[1]] comprises an earbud set, hearing aid, earphone, and Bluetooth.
  • Old Suppliers Branching Out
  • Using Ears for Psychological Analyses and Perceptual Manipulation
    • Swiss company Nagravision S.A.’s patent-approved “System to identify a User of Television Services by Using Biometrics” describes a head-mounted biological sensor coupled to a “plurality of biological sensors” which, when analyzed,  estimate and determine “the psychological state of the user who views or listens to content.
    • My hands-down personal favorite for the future is  AT&T Intellectual Property’s patent application #20150154799.  It envisions the world as a better place thanks to hearing aids, Hearables and other wearables which are continuously “Replacing a Physical Object Perception with a Modified Perception.”   As described:

When the person dons the … device, or devices, the generic real world object may be perceived in accordance with the person’s preferences…. the image of the real-world object is replaced with the augmented image…. [and] the person may tailor preferences for various individuals. … while immersed in the real world, without adversely affecting a person’s ability to function in the real world.”

Well, you can imagine.

The List


DescriptionPatent NumberAssigneeIssued
Method and System for Configuring More than One Hearing Devices9025499Phonak AG (Stafa, CH)5/05/2015
Hearing Aid Adapted for Detecting Brain Waves and a Method for Adapting Such a Hearing Aid9025800Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark)5/05/2015
Hearing Aid with Guiding Means for Insertion9025802Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark)5/05/2015
Coupalable Hearing Apparatus for a Hearing Device, Coupling Element and Hearing Device9025807Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore, SG)5/05/2015
Systems and Methods for Determing Head Related Transfer Functions9030545GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)5/12/2015
Method and Device for Frequency Compression with Selective Frequency Shifting9031269Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore, SG)5/12/2015
Method, a Listening Device and a Listening System for Maximizing a Better Ear Effect9031270Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)5/12/2015
Method and a Binaural Listening System for Maximizing a Better Ear Effect9031271Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)5/12/2015
Genetic Algorithm Based Auditory Training9031663Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)5/12/2015
Multi-Electrode Channel Configurations for a Hearing Prosthesis9031661Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)5/12/2015
Simulated Surround Sound Hearing Aid Fitting System9031242Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)5/12/2015
Systems and Methods for Optimizing a Compliance Voltage of an Auditory Prosthesis903846Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)5/19/2015
Transducer Impedance Measurement for Hearing Aid9036824Envoy Medical Corp. (North Mankato, Minn)5/19/2015
External Ear Canal Voice Detection9036833Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)5/19/2015
Method and Apparatus for a Binaural Hearing Assistance System Using Monaural Audio Signals9036823Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)5/19/2015
External Input Device for a Hearing Aid9036845GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)5/19/2015
Transducer Impedance Measurement for Hearing Aid9036824Envoy Medical Corporation (North Mankata, MN)5/19/2015
System and Method for Electrode Selection and Frequency Mapping9037253Ed-El elektromedizinische Geraete GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)5/19/2015
Cap for an Implantable Electrical Lead Assembly9037231Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)5/19/2015
Low-Power Dual-Edge-Triggered Storage Cell with Scan Test Support and Clock Gating circuit Therefore9041450Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)5/26/2015
Input Converter for a Hearing Aid and Signal Conversion Method9041574Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark)5/26/2015
Method and Apparatus for Own-Voice Sensing in a Hearing Assistance Device9042586Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)5/26/2015
Music Pre-Processing for Hearing Prostheses9042583Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)5/26/2015
Wireless Communications in Medical Devices9042996Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)5/26/2015
Compact Programming Block Connector for Hearing Assistance Devices9049526Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)6/02/2015
Reference Electrode Apparatus and Method for Neurostimulation Implants9044588Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)6/02/2015
Electrode Constructions and Methods for Making the Same9044589Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)6/02/2015
Removable Attachment of a Passive Transcutaneous Bone Conduction Device with Limited Skin Deformation9049527Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)6/02/2015
Noise Reduction in Auditory Prostheses9049524Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)6/02/2015
Hearing Aid System and Method of Fitting a Hearing Aid System9049525Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark)6/02/2015
Hearing Aids and Methods and Apparatus for Audio Fitting9049529Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)6/02/2015
Compact Programming Block Connector for Hearing Assistance Devices9049526Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)6/02/2015
Systems, Methods, and Apparatus for a High Power Factor Single Phase Rectifier9048748QUALCOMM Inc (San Diego, CA)6/02/2015
Gain Control for a Hearing Aid with a Facial Movement Detector9048798QUALCOMM Inc (San Diego, CA)6/02/2015
Method for Producing a Tube for a Hearing Aid9055380Sonion Nederland B.V. (Hoofddorp, NL)6/02/2015
Audio Device9047876Panasonic Intellectual Property Management Co., Ltd (Osaka, JP)6/02/2015
Assessment System of Speech Sound Listening, and Method and Program9044157Panasonic Intellectual Property Management Co., Ltd (Osaka, JP)6/02/2015
Systems and Methods for Facilitating Electro-Acoustic Stimulation Using an Off-the-Ear Sound Processor Module9044608Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)6/02/2015
Spectral Contrast Enhancement in a Cochlear Implant Speech Processor9044607Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)6/02/2015
Products and Processes for Providing Multimodal Feedback in a User Interface Device9046922Immersion Corp (San Jose, CA)6/02/2015
Wireless Earphones9049502Koss Corp (Milwaukee, WI)6/02/2015
Personal Communication Device with Hearing Support and Method for Providing the Same9055377JAOTI BVBA (Boechout, BE)6/09/2015
Optically Coupled Acoustic Middle Ear Implant Systems and Methods9055379EarLens Corp (Menlo Park, CA)6/09/2015
Multi-Directional and Omnidirectional Hybrid Microphone for Hearing Assistance Devices9055357Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)6/09/2015
Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducer Switch for Hearing Assistance Devices9055378Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)6/09/2015
Compensation Current Optimization for Cochlear Implant Systems9050467Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)6/09/2015
Methods and Systems for Facilitating Adjustment of One or More Fitting Parameters by an Auditory Prosthesis Patient9050467Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)6/09/2015
Fully Implantable Cochlear Implant Systems Including Optional External Components and Methods for Using the Same9050466Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)6/09/2015
Bottom Port Surface Mount MEMS Microphone9051171Knowles Electronics, LLC (Itasca, IL)6/09/2015
Sound Identification and Discernment Device9055368The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy (Washington, DC)6/09/2015
Method and System for Determining an Auditory Pattern of an Audio Segment9055374Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of Arizona State University (Scottsdale, AZ)6/09/2015
Earbuds Securable to Users’ Outer Ears and Related Headphone Systems and Methods9055365Skullcandy, Inc. (Park City, UT)6/09/2015
Image Capture and Earpiece Sizing System and Method9050029Harman International Industries, Inc. (Stamford, CT)6/09/2015
High Voltage Multiplier for a Microphone and Method of Manufacture9059630Knowles Electronics, LLC (Itasca, IL)6/16/2015
Low Noise Electret Microphone9056204Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)6/16/2015
Low Noise Electret Microphone9060229Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)6/16/2015
Compensation Current optimization for Auditory Prosthesis Systems9056205Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)6/16/2015
Audio Signal Level Control System9059670Bose Corp (Framingham, MA)6/16/2015
Wireless Earphone9060225Dexin Corp (New Taipei, TW)6/16/2015
Electrical Connector9059544Molex Inc (Lisle, IL)6/16/2015
Frequency Translation by High-Frequency Spectral Envelope Warping in Hearing Assistance Devices9060231Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)6/16/2015
Programmable Interact for Fitting Hearing Devices9060231Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)6/16/2015
Hearing Aid Device with a Directional Microphone System and Method for Operating a Hearing Aid Device Having a Directional Microphone System9060232Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore, SG)6/16/2015
Rechargeable Canal Hearing Device and Systems9060233iHear Medical, Inc. (San Leandro, CA)6/16/2015
Canal Hearing Devices and Batteries for Use with Same9060234InSound Medical, Inc. (Newark, CA)6/16/2015
Single Channel, Binaural and Multi-Channel Dereverberation9060052Acusonus S.A. (Patras, GR)6/16/2015
Ear Cleaning Apparatus9060230Aria Innovations, Inc. (Mountain View, CA)6/16/2015
Protection Structure for Implantable Connector and Apparatus for Manipulations Same9065197Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)6/23/2015
Hearing Aid Detection9065929Apple Inc. (Cupertino, CA)6/23/2015
Speech Intelligibility Predictor and Applications Thereof9064502Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)6/23/2015
Implantable Microphone9066185OtoKinetics Inc. (Cincinnati, OH)6/23/2015
Hearing Aid Detection9065929Apple Inc. (Cupertino, CA)6/23/2015
Independent Volume Control in Electro-Acoustic Stimulation Systems9061149Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)6/23/2015
Methods of Maufacture of Top Port Multi-Par Surface Mount Silicon Condenser Microphones9061893Knowles Electronics, LLC (Itasca, IL)6/23/2015
Combined Microphone and Receiver Assembly for Extended Wear Canal Hearing Devices9071914InSound Medical, Inc. (Newark, CA)6/30/2015
Ball and socket connection with an acoustic seal and mounting interface for a hearing assistance device9071918Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)6/30/2015
Sound Processor Housings, Sound Processors and Implantable Cochlear Stimulation Systems Including the Same9071896Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)6/30/2015
Implantable Microphone Device9071910Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)6/30/2015
Method for Testing a Hearing Device as Well as an Arrangement for Testing a Hearing Device9071915Phonak AG (Stafa, CH)6/30/2015
Telephone to Hearing Device Communication9071916Phonak AG (Stafa, CH)6/30/2015
Methods of Manufacture of Top Port Surface Mount MEMS Microphones9067780Knowles Electronics, LLC (Itasca, IL)6/30/2015

Editor’s note:  The Patent Series is updated every two months.  Click links for patents approved in 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

feature image courtesy of photofest

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.