Patent Envy: US Hearing Device Patent Activity for November- December 2014

Patent activity in the hearing aid industry continues to grow and grow more interesting.  We’re not Google or Apple, which ranked #11 and #13 for number of US patents in 2013 and are projected to rank higher in 2014.  But, our industry is hanging in there even as the competition heats up for Smart wearables and augmented reality (AR).

Besides the the usual two-month list of recent patents issued, today’s post tallies total patent applications and patents issued.  Size-wise, Cochlear and Siemens have the most in both categories, but Starkey has a lot of applications in the mill.  Although there is not time or space to delve into the many applications currently under review, suffice it to say that some of them are potential game changers for our industry.  A future post will peek at a few.

Hearing Device Patent Ownership


It’s interesting to compare patent portfolios among the big players in our industry and track other players entering the arena.

Hearing device patent owners as of jan 3 2015

The Bimonthly List of USPTO Patents


DescriptionPatent NumberAssigneeIssued
Hearing Aid Device for Frequency Compression8855342Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore)10/24/2014
Hearing aid with a casing element8873784Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)10/28/2014
Hearing system and method for operating the same8873780Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland)10/28/2014
Hearing Aid with a Casing Element8873784Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)10/28/2014
Hearing apparatus with own speaker activity detection and method for operating a hearing apparatus8873779Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore)10/28/2014
Method for operating a hearing device having reduced comb filter perception and hearing device having reduced comb filter perception8873781Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore)10/28/2014
Separate inner and outer hair cell loss compensation8873782Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)10/28/2014
Audio processing pipeline for auditory prosthesis having a common, and two or more stimulator-specific, frequency-analysis stages8873770Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)10/28/2014
Systems, methods, and articles of manufacture for configuring hearing prostheses8874226Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)10/28/2014
Conformal electrode pad for a stimulating medical device8874238Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)10/28/2014
Cochlear implant electrode lead having a cross-section with variable height8874240Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)10/28/2014
Configurable FM receiver for hearing device8879764Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)11/04/2014
Configurable FM receiver for hearing device8879764Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)11/04/2014
At least partially implantable sound pick-up device with ultrasound emitter8879755Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)11/04/2014
Method of Deriving Individualized Gain Compensation Curves for Hearing Aid Fitting8879745Dean Robert Gary Anderson as Trustee of the D/L Anderson Family Trust11/04/2014
Hearing Aid Microactuator8876689OtoKinetics Inc. (Salt Lake City)11/04/2014
Method and Apparatus for Detecting User Activities from within a Hearing Assistance Device Using a Vibration Sensor8879763Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)11/04/2014
Antenna system for a wearable computing device8878735GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)11/04/2014
Assessing Neural Survival8880180Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)11/04/2014
Implantable electrical connector having unitary contacts8880181Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)11/04/2014
Fitting a cochlear implant8880181Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)11/04/2014
Hearing aid with integrated flexible display and touch sensor8885856Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)11/11/2014
Method and apparatus for alerting a person carrying an EEG assembly8884767Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark)11/11/2014
System for Establishing a Conversation Group among a Number of Hearing Aids8885857Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark)11/11/2014
Method of Processing a Signal in a Hearing Aid, a Method of Fitting a Hearing Aid and a Hearing Aid8885838Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark)11/11/2014
Hearing Aid with Mechanical Sound Generating Means for Function Selection8885864Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark)11/11/2014
Semi-Permanent Hearing Aid8885859Sonion Nederland BV (Amsterdam)11/11/2014
Methods and Systems for Content Processing8886206Digimarc Corp. (Beaverton, Ore.)11/11/2014
Implantable medical device8885837Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)11/11/2014
Transcutaneous bone conduction device vibrator having movable magnetic mass8891795Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)11/18/2014
Modular Hearing instrument8885858GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)11/18/2014
Pharmaceutical agent delivery in a stimulating medical device8892201Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)11/18/2014
Remote control for a hearing assistance device8891793Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)11/18/2014
Hearing Aid with Signal Enhancement8891777GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)11/18/2014
Smoothing method for suppressing fluctuating artifacts during noise reduction8892431Siemens Audiologische Technik GmbH (Erlangen, Germany)11/18/2014
Cochlear implant systems including magnetic flux redirection means8897883Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)11/25/2014
Optical Scanning Device8900126United Sciences LLC (Atlanta)12/02/2014
Antenna Diversity for Magnetic Induction Radio8902772NXP B.V. (Eindhoven, Netherlands)12/02/2014
Inflatable Ear Mold with Protected Inflation Air Inlet8903113Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore)12/02/2014
In-Ear Device with Selectable Frequency Response8903114Sonomax Technologies Inc. (Montreal, QC, Canada)12/02/2014
Battery Door and Hearing Device8903112GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)12/02/2014
Method and Device for Frequency Compression in a Hearing Aid8908892Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore)12/09/2014
Circuit Arrangement for Adjusting the Output Power And/or the Frequency Response of a Power Amplifier for a Hearing Aid Device8908890Siemens Audiologische Technik GmbH (Erlangen, Germany)12/09/2014
Hearing Aid Apparatus and Method8908891Audiodontics LLC (Bethesda, Md.)12/09/2014
Method and device for frequency compression in a hearing aid8908892Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore)12/09/2014
Method and Acoustic Signal Processing System for Interference and Noise Suppression in Binaural Microphone Configurations8909523Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore)12/09/2014
Hearing Apparatus with an Equalization Filter in the Filter Bank System8908893Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore)12/09/2014
Ear Canal Device Retention Means8908895Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)12/09/2014
Cartridge for an electrode array insertion device8909349Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)12/09/2014
Hearing Aid with Improved Compression8913768GN Resound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)12/16/2014
Methods and systems for representing different spectral components of an audio signal presented to a cochlear implant patient8914126Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)12/16/2014
Sound processor apparatus with sound processing integrated circuit that includes an integrated power supply module8914127Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)12/16/2014
Methods and systems for minimizing an effect of channel interaction in a cochlear implant system8914125Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)12/16/2014
Tonality-based optimization of sound sensation for a cochlear implant patient8914124Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)12/16/2014
Transcutaneous bone conduction system8913770Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)12/16/2014
Hearing system and method for operating a hearing system8913769Phonak AG (Stafa, Switzerland)12/16/2014
Pre-curved electrode array loading tools8915926Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)12/23/2014
Methods and systems for automatically determining an implant side associated with a cochlear implant8918182Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)12/23/2014
Methods and apparatus for allocating feedback cancellation resources for hearing assistance devices8917891Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)12/23/2014
Hearing Aid8917893ExSilent Research B.V. (Amsterdam)12/23/2014
Two Part Hearing Aid with Databus and Method of Communicating between the Parts8923542Widex A/S (Lynge, Denmark)12/30/2014
Hearing Aid-Compatible Apparatus for Wireless Communication Devices8923528Microsoft Corp. (Redmond, Wash)12/30/2014
Integrated Automatic Telephone Switch8923539Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.)12/30/2014
Method and Device for Frequency Compression8923538Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. (Singapore)12/30/2014

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

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.