US Hearing Device Patents March-April 2016

Some anecdotal observations precede the current hearing aid patent list, some superficial, others not so much.

Best Name for a New Entrant:  Brain Basket, LLC (Auditory Comprehension and Audibility Device, #9301066)


Who’s Got the Power


The big developing technology–accounting for over 10% of today’s list–is extended, connected, sustainable, or implantable power solutions. Big 6 and CI manufacturers own two of the patents; the rest are owned by companies in other industries.

  • Qualcomm
    • System and Method for Low Loss Wireless Power Transmission (#9270342)
    • Systems and Methods for Decoupling Multiple Wireless Charging Transmitters (#9275791)
    • Class E Amplifier Overload Detection and Prevention (#9281711)
    • Waking Up a Wireless Power Transmitter from Beacon Mode (#9306634)
  • Ramot.  Rechargeable Alkali Metal-Air Battery (#9269997)
  • Panasonic.  Thin Battery and Battery Device ##9281538)
  • Battery Street Energy, Inc.  Intelligent Battery Pack Module  (#9293755)
  • Envoy Medical.  Hearing Aid Amplifier Having Feed Forward Bias Control Based on Signal Amplitude and Frequency for Reduced Power Consumption (#9313590)
  • Cochlear Ltd.  Integrated implantable hearing device, microphone and power unit (#9314625)
  • Sonova.  Microphone Battery Barrier. (#9301065)
  • Samsung
    • Hearing Device and Method of Low Power Operation (#9288590)
    • Method and Apparatus for Low Power Operation of Binaural Hearing Aid (#9319806)


Patents as Options


Just because you hold the patent doesn’t mean you’re going to enter the industry, and perhaps that’s what Samsung is thinking as it continues to gain patents for hearing aids, hearing devices, and all that goes with them.  There may be a post on “patent thicket” strategy that touches on that in a month or so.  Meanwhile, hold onto this thought from MIT economist Robert S Pindyck, PhD:

“For most technologies and products, the R&D leading to a patent is typically much less costly than the development of the product itself.  Licensing can provide a way of controlling existing competitors.”1


DescriptionPatent NumberAssigneeIssued
Hearing Aid Device and a Method of Manufacturing a Hearing Aid Device9271095Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG)2/23/2016
Hearing Instrument with an Integral Injection-Molding Casing9271093Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG)2/23/2016
Hearing Aid Ear Plug with an Extraction Cord9265664Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)2/23/2016
Method of Auditory Training and a Hearing Aid System9265420Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)2/23/2016
Hearing Aid with an H-Bridge Output Stage and a Method of Driving an Output Stage9271088Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)2/23/2016
Method and System for Contact Sensing Using Coherence Analysis9271064Personics Holdings, LLC (Boca Raton, FL)2/23/2016
Holding Unit for a Vibration Transmitter and a Vibration Transmission System Using It9271094Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)2/23/2016
Entrainment Resistant Feedback Cancellation9271090Wolfson Dynamic Hearing Pty Ltd (Richmond, AU)2/23/2016
Rechargeable Alkali Metal-Air Battery9269997Ramot At Tel Aviv University Ltd. (Tel Aviv, IL)2/23/2016
System and Method for Low Loss Wireless Power Transmission9270342Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, CA)2/23/2016
Triphasic Pulses to Reduce Undesirable Side-Effects in Cochlear Implants9265944Med-El Elektromedizinische Geraete GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)2/23/2016
Method for Adjusting the Useful Signal in Binaural Hearing Aid Systems and Hearing Aid System9277333Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG)3/01/2016
Eardrum Implantable Devices for Hearing Systems and Methods9277335EarLens Corporation (Menlo Park, CA)3/01/2016
Systems and Methods for Decoupling Multiple Wireless Charging Transmitters9275791Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, CA)3/01/2016
DC-DC Converter with Enhanced Automatic Switching between CCM and DCM Operating Modes9276477STMicroelectronics International N.V. (Amsterdam, NL)3/01/2016
Method of Processing a Signal in a Hearing Instrument, and Hearing Instrument9271666Sonova AG (Staefa, CH)3/01/2016
Wirelessly Charged Electronic Device with Shared Inductor Circuitry9276639Apple Inc. (Cupertino, CA)3/01/2016
Techniques for Testing Compatibility of a Wireless Communication Device9277331PCTEST Engineering Laboratory, Inc. (Columbia, MD)3/01/2016
Systems and Methods for Using a Simplified User Interface for Hearing Prosthesis Fitting9272142Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)3/01/2016
Class E Amplifier Overload Detection and Prevention9281711Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, CA)3/01/2016
Wireless System for Hearing Communication Devices Providing Wireless Stereo Reception Modes9282416Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)3/08/2016
Thin Battery and Battery Device9281538Panasonic Intellectual Property Management Co., Ltd. (Osaka, JP)3/08/2016
Vision-Aided Hearing Assisting Device9280914National Central University (Taoyuan, TW)3/08/2016
Beamforming in Hearing Aids9282411GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)3/08/2016
Spectral contrast enhancement in a cochlear implant speech processor9288585Advanced Bionics AG (Stafa, CH)3/15/2016
Hearing Aid Apparatus9288589Yat Yiu Cheung (Hong Kong, Hong Kong)3/15/2016
Interaural Time Difference Enhancement Strategy9283376Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)3/15/2016
Hearing Aid for Providing Phone Signals9288584GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)3/15/2016
Wireless Binaural Compressor9288587GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)3/15/2016
Method and Apparatus for Signal Reception Using Dynamically Selectable Modes9288586Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)3/15/2016
Method and Apparatus for Creating Binaural Beats Using Hearing Aids9288588Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)3/15/2016
Visually-Based Fitting of Hearing Devices9288593Sonova AG (Staefa, CH)3/15/2016
Hearing Device and Method of Low Power Operation9288590Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Suwon-si-KR)3/15/2016
Assisting Conversation While Listening to Audio9288570Bose Corporation (Framingham, MA)3/15/2016
Sound processors and implantable cochlear stimulation systems including the same9294852Advanced Bionics AG (Stafa, CH)3/22/2016
Particulate toughened ceramic feedthrough9289616Advanced Bionics AG (Stafa, CH)3/22/2016
Hearing Aid with an Antenna9293814GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)3/22/2016
Wind Noise Reduction Filter9294829GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)3/22/2016
Adaptation of a Classification of an Audio Signal in a Hearing Aid9294848Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG)3/22/2016
Hearing Assistance Devices with Echo Cancellation


9294851Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)3/22/2016
Parallel Antennas for Standard Fit Hearing Assistance Devices9294850Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)3/22/2016
Method and Apparatus for Detecting User Activities from within a Hearing Assistance Device Using a Vibration Sensor9294849Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)3/22/2016
Intelligent Battery Pack Module9293755Battery Street Energy, Inc. (Seattle, WA)3/22/2016
Microphone battery barrier9301065Sonova AG (Staefa, CH)3/29/2016
Method of Processing Voice Signal Output and Earphone9301060Unlimiter MFA Co., Ltd. (Eden Island, Seychelles)3/29/2016
Hearing Instrument Adapted to Hold an Exchangeable Receiver into the Housing and a Method for Making the Hearing Instrument9301063Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG)3/29/2016
Method for Selecting a Preferred Direction of a Directional Microphone and Corresponding Hearing Device9301058Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG)3/29/2016
System and Method for Measuring and Recording Skull Vibration in Situ9301061Audiodontics, LLC (Bethesda, MD)3/29/2016
Electromechanical Transducer and Electrocoustic Transducer9301054Rion Co., Ltd. (Kokubunji-shi-, Tokyo, JP)3/29/2016
Receiver and method for retrieving an information signal from a magnetic induction signal9300367Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)3/29/2016
Miniature Speaker and Speaker Cabinet and Hearing Aid9301067Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)3/29/2016
Antenna for Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Devices9295848Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)3/29/2016
Acoustic Prescription Rule Based on an in Situ Measured Dynamic Range9301068Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)3/29/2016
Directionality Device for Auditory Prosthesis Microphone9295836Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)3/29/2016
Auditory Comprehension and Audibility Device9301066Brain Basket, LLC (Boulder, CO)3/29/2016
Optimized Channel Configuration Based on Spatial Profiles9295837Kals, Mathias (Innsbruck, AT)3/29/2016
Hearing Apparatus and Method for Measuring Distance between Eardrum and Hearing Apparatus9301056Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Suwon-si-KR)3/29/2016
Bone Conduction Hearing Aid System9301059Advanced Bionics AG (Stafa, CH)3/29/2016
Hearing Aid Comprising an Intra-Cochlear Actuator9313587Advanced Bionics AG (Stafa, CH)3/29/2016
MRI Safe Actuator for Implantable Floating Mass Transducer9301062Vibrant Med-E1 Hearing Technology GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)3/29/2016
Noise-Reducing Directional Microphone Array8942387MH Acoustics LLC (Summit, NJ)3/29/2016
Hearing aid removal handle9301064Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)3/29/2016
Intraneural stimulation systems and methods9302106Advanced Bionics AG (Stafa, CH)4/05/2016
Stapedius reflex measurement safety systems and methods9307330Advanced Bionics AG (Stafa, CH)4/05/2016
Waking Up a Wireless Power Transmitter from Beacon Mode9306634Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, CA)4/05/2016
Hearing device with selectable perceived spatial positioning of sound sources9307331GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)4/05/2016
Method for dynamic suppression of surrounding acoustic noise when listening to electrical inputs9307332Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)4/05/2016
Device and Method for Audible Transient Noise Detection9311927Sony Corporation (Tokyo, JP)4/12/2016
Hearing Aid Amplifier Having Feed Forward Bias Control Based on Signal Amplitude and Frequency for Reduced Power Consumption9313590Envoy Medical Corp. (St. Paul, Minn)4/12/2016
Hearing Aid and Method of Enhancing Speech Output in Real Time9313582Unlimiter MFA Co., Ltd. (Eden Island, Seychelles)4/12/2016
Method of Processing a Voice Segment and Hearing Aid9311933Unlimiter MFA Co., Ltd. (Eden Island, Seychelles)4/12/2016
Method of Fitting a Binaural Hearing Aid System9313583Bernafon AG (Berne, Switzerland)4/12/2016
Method of Operating a Hearing Instrument Based on an Estimation of Present Cognitive Load of a User and a Hearing Aid System9313585Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)4/12/2016
Binaural listening system with automatic mode switching9313577Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)4/12/2016
Hearing Assistance Suitability Determining Device and Hearing Assistance Suitability Determining Method9313584Panasonic Intellectual Property Management Co., Ltd. (Osaka, JP)4/12/2016
Sensitive Measurements in a Hearing Prosthesis9308367Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)4/12/2016
Method and system for configuration of a medical device that stimulates a human physiological system9313589Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)4/12/2016
Molding structure for a hearing apparatus, hearing apparatus, and method of producing the molding structure9313588Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG)4/12/2016
Deactivatable hearing device, corresponding hearing system and method for operating a hearing system9313586Sonova AG (Staefa, CH)4/12/2016
Method and Apparatus for Low Power Operation of Binaural Hearing Aid9319806Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Suwon-si-KR) and The Industry & Academic Cooporation in Chungnam National University (IAC) (Daejeon, SK)4/19/2016
Automatic Identification of Receiver Type in Hearing Aid Devices9319801Sivantos GmbH (Erlangen, Germany)4/19/2016
Tube System and Life Tube Adaptor for a Hearing Aid9318098Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore SG)4/19/2016
Hearing Aid and Method for Controlling the Same9319803Panasonic Intellectual Property Management Co., Ltd. (Osaka, JP)4/19/2016
Method for Fitting a Hearing Aid Device with Active Occlusion Control to a User9319814Sonova AG (Staefa, CH)4/19/2016
Tip-plate assembly, hearing device with a tip-plate assembly and method of manufacturing a hearing device with a tip-plate assembly9319817Sonova AG (Staefa, CH)4/19/2016
Method for operating a hearing device as well as a hearing device9319804Sonova AG (Staefa, CH)4/19/2016
Hearing device with closure mechanism9319811GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)4/19/2016
Hearing Aid Having a near Field Resonant Parasitic Element9319808GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, Denmark)4/19/2016
Fitting system with intelligent visual tools9319813Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)4/19/2016
System and methods of subject classification based on assessed hearing capabilities9319812Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)4/19/2016
Implantable component of a hearing prosthesis9319810Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)4/19/2016
Device with combined antenna and transducer9319807Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)4/19/2016
Noise reduction in auditory prostheses9319805Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)4/19/2016
Integrated implantable hearing device, microphone and power unit9314625Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)4/19/2016
Systems and methods for altering the input dynamic range of an auditory device9314624Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)4/19/2016
System and Method for Enhancing the Inductive Coupling between a Hearing Aid Operating in Telecoil Mode and a Communication Device9326076AT&T Mobility II LLC (Atlanta)4/26/2016
Methods and Apparatus for Improving Speech Understanding in a Large Crowd9326078Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)4/26/2016

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

Footnotes & References


1Pindyck, RS.  Industrial Economics for Strategic Decisions. R&D and Patent Licensing.  MIT Sloan School of Management course. Aug 2013.


feature image from USPTO #9288590


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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