hearing aid patents 2018

US Hearing Device Patents for Q1 2018

We’re likely to see more and more cross-overs between hearing aids and wearables/hearables. … What will the next generation of hearing aids look like?”  (Director of Media Relations at Sonova AG quoted in Hip hearing aids as a fashion statement?  Audiology Worldnews, April 20 2018)

 

By Holly Hosford-Dunn, PhD

Marketing meets up with patents when it comes to figuring out what consumers want hearing aids to look like. Some new hearing aid patent designs look more like Hearables than hearing aids of old (Fig 1). 

Fig 1. Hearing aid designs that look like hearables  from Etal #D806879 (left) and Eargo #9866978 (right)

 

Other Device Market Preferences

 

Hearable influence and convergence continues to manifest in ways predicated on presumed consumer preferences:

Fig 2. Honeywell Hearing ear protection and hearing test device
  • In-ear testing, fitting and programming for increased wearer autonomy, lower price, less time spent, and reduced fitting “inconsistencies” (iHear Medical patent  9918171) and #9894450 shown in feature image)
  • In-ear in situ noise monitoring, hearing testing and protection (Etymotic #9867572 ; Honeywell Hearing ##9895088 – see Fig 2) for workers in industry and soldiers in the field.

 

Back to the Future

 

Some devices look like hearing aids of yesterday but act like Hearables of the future (Fig 3).

Fig 3. Dartmouth (left) and Google (right) patents.
  • Electrode monitoring of P300 to let the brain take over directionality and noise reduction decisions in a hearing device (Dartmouth College #9906872).
  • Google glasses with bone conduction (Google #9900676). 

 

In a World Where Devices Are No Longer Needed….

 

Nipping hearing loss in the bud and fortifying cochlear structures are in our future, perhaps obviating the need for ear instruments except for Hearable-like preferences of normal-hearing wearers (e.g., music streaming, personal assistants, etc). Pharmaceutical efforts to create a nation of normal hearing adults are ramping up with ideas that would have been unthinkable to most of us until now:

  • Cochlear infusion  to treat noise-induced hearing loss in military personnel (US Government #9889107);
  • Transdermal treatment for middle ear disorders (#9913908);
  • Support cell self-renewal in the cochlea (Frequency Therapeutics #9913848);
  • Generate new hair cells (#9896658).

It was a bit surprising to look back over the innovations above and realize that none are by the Big 6. Which is not to say those manufacturers aren’t innovating, just not in the same manner as newcomers.

 

The Q1 2018 List

 

Description

Patent Number

Assignee

Issued

 Information processing and storage in a cochlear stimulation system

9855425

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)

1/02/2018

Dynamic back-biasing in FD-SOI process for optimizing PSU ratio

9860639

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

1/02/2018

Hearing assistance device comprising a location identification unit

9860650

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

1/02/2018

Behind the ear hearing aid

9860651

Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)

1/02/2018

Hearing aid device with positioning guide and hearing aid device system

9860653

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

1/02/2018

Method for synchronizing the reproduction of a digital signal sent by a transmitter to a plurality of mobile audio terminals

9860654

Sivantos Inc. (Singapore, SG)

1/02/2018

Wireless binaural hearing system

9860655

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

1/02/2018

Hearing system comprising a separate microphone unit for picking up a users own voice

9860656

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

1/02/2018

Hearing aid charging unit

D806648

Sonova AG (Stafa, CH)

1/02/2018

Hearing device

D806879

Etal Designs, Inc. (San Francisco, CA)

1/02/2018

Connectorized cochlear implant systems

9861819

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)

1/09/2018

Audio control using auditory event detection

9866191

Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corp (San Francisco, CA)

1/09/2018

Method and apparatus for battery balancing of hearing aid in electronic device

9866973

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Suwon-si, KR)

1/09/2018

Method for operating a hearing device system, hearing device system, hearing device and database system

9866974

Sivantos Inc. (Singapore, SG)

1/09/2018

Hearing assistance system and method

9866975

Sonova AG (Stafa, CH)

1/09/2018

Hearing aid system with an aligned auditory perception

9866976

Oticon Medical A/S (Smorum, DK)

1/09/2018

Miniature hearing instrument configured for positioning at least partially in bony region of ear canal

9866977

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

1/09/2018

Open ear canal hearing aid

9866978

Eargo, Inc. (Mountain View CA)

1/09/2018

Ear plug

D807496

Ear Labs AB (Malmo, SE)

1/09/2018

Method and system for rapidly determining and displaying the depth of ear tip placement to improve the reliability of hearing tests

9867572

Etymotic Research, Inc. (Elk Grove Village, IL)

1/16/2018

Ear scanner

D808018

Sensogram Technologies, Inc. (Plano, TX)

1/16/2018

Ear wax remover and cleaner

9867738

Applicant: John J. Lenig (Annandale, NJ)

1/16/2018

Method and apparatus for feedback suppression

9872114

Sivantos Inc. (Singapore, SG)

1/16/2018

Retention magnet system for medical device

9872115

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

1/16/2018

MRI-safe implant magnet with angular magnetization

9872993

MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geraete GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)

1/23/2018

Collision avoidance using auditory data

9873428

Ford Global Technologies, LLC (Dearborn, MI)

1/23/2018

Hearing aid and a method for improving speech intelligibility of an audio signal

9875753

Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)

1/23/2018

Hearing device with position data, audio system and related methods

9877116

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

1/23/2018

Hearing assistance device control

9877117

Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)

1/23/2018

Method for frequency-dependent noise suppression of an input signal

9877118

Sivantos Inc. (Singapore, SG)

1/23/2018

Hearing aid with antenna on printed circuit board

9877119

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

1/23/2018

Method and system for wireless communication between a telephone and a hearing aid

9877120

Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)

1/23/2018

Control button configurations for auditory prostheses

9877121

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

1/23/2018

Hearing device

9877122

Sivantos Inc. (Singapore, SG)

1/23/2018

Method of manufacturing a hearing device and hearing device with certificate

9877123

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

1/23/2018

Ear model unit, artificial head, and measurement device and method using said ear model unit and artificial head

9877125

Kyocera Corp. (Kyoto, JP)

1/23/2018

Dynamic relative transfer function estimation using structured sparse Bayesian learning

9877115

Starkey Laboratories Inc (Eden Prairie, MN)

1/23/2018

Method and apparatus for pre-processing speech to maintain speech intelligibility

9875754

Starkey Laboratories Inc (Eden Prairie, MN)

1/23/2018

Systems, methods, and devices for characterizing ear canal acoustic impedance, admittance, and reflectance by pole-zero fitting

9872640

Mimosa Acoustics, Inc. (Champaign, IL)

1/23/2018

Methods and systems for fitting an electro-acoustic stimulation system to a patient

9878156

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)

1/30/2018

Patient specific frequency modulation adaption

9878157

MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geraete GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)

1/30/2018

Hearing device, particularly hearing aid

9883293

Sivantos Inc. (Singapore, SG)

1/30/2018

Configurable hearing system

9883294

Bernafon A/G (Bern, CH)

1/30/2018

Hearing aid with an antenna

9883295

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

1/30/2018

Filter to suppress harmonics for an antenna

9883296

Starkey Laboratories Inc (Eden Prairie, MN)

1/30/2018

Hearing aid having an adaptive classifier

9883297

Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)

1/30/2018

Method and apparatus for communication between hearing assistance devices in a bluetooth network

9883298

Starkey Laboratories Inc (Eden Prairie, MN)

1/30/2018

System for using multiple hearing assistance device programmers

9883299

Starkey Laboratories Inc (Eden Prairie, MN)

1/30/2018

Method and apparatus for controlling a hearing instrument to relieve tinitus, hyperacusis, and hearing loss

9883300

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

1/30/2018

Disinfection dryer for hearing aid

D809152

Kapak Company Ltd. (Hong Kong, HK) applicant

1/30/2018

System and method for detecting ear location of earphone and rechanneling connections accordingly and earphone using same

9883278

Nanning Fugui Precision Industrial Co., Ltd. (Nanning, CN)

1/30/2018

Fiber Bragg Grating hearing device

9883973

Moslehi, Behzad (Los Altos, CA), applicant

2/06/2018

Implantable device having osseointegrating protuberances

9884141

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

2/06/2018

Coil assembly in an implantable medical device

9884188

Oticon Medical A/S (Smorum, DK)

2/06/2018

Client device with certificate and related method

9887848

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

2/06/2018

Transducer, a hearing aid comprising the transducer and a method of operating the transducer

9888326

Onion Nederland BV (Hoofddorp, NL)

2/06/2018

Hearing aid device having a folded dipole

9888327

Sivantos Inc. (Singapore, SG)

2/06/2018

Hearing assistive device

9888328

Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)

2/06/2018

Implant abutment

 

9888329

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

2/06/2018

Ear jewelry with wireless audio device

9888309

Applicants: Barrett & Patsy Prelogar (Lake Ozark, MO)

2/06/2018

Template for bilateral symmetric stimulator fixation/implantation

9888978

MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geraete GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)

2/13/2018

Cochlear implant system including an implantable battery

9889300

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)

2/13/2018

Interleaving power and data in a transcutaneous communications link

9889307

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

2/13/2018

Methods and compositions for preventing and treating auditory dysfunctions

9889107

The United States of America as represented by the Department of Veterans Affairs (Washington, DC)

2/13/2018

Customization of adaptive directionality for hearing aids using a portable device

9894446

Starkey Laboratories Inc (Eden Prairie, MN)

2/13/2018

Hearing device and a method of selecting an optimal transceiver channel in a wireless network

9894447

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

2/13/2018

Hearing aid comprising a flexible connection member

9894448

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

2/13/2018

Ear mold for auditory device

9894449

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Suwon-si, KR)

2/13/2018

Self-fitting of a hearing device

9894450

iHear Medical, Inc. (San Leandro, CA)

2/13/2018

Wireless in-ear headphone

D810054

Applicant: Yuan, Haiyan (Shenzhen, CN)

2/13/2018

Off-head detection of in-ear headset

9894452

Bose Corp (Framingham, MA)

2/13/2018

Hearing protection device with integrated audiometric testing

9895088

Honeywell Hearing Technologies AS (Trondheim, NO)

2/20/2018

Hearing assistance system with improved signal processing comprising an implanted part

9895535

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

2/20/2018

Thin profile cochlear implants

9895536

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)

2/20/2018

SNR adjusted envelope sampling for hearing implants

9895537

MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geraete GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)

2/20/2018

Spatial auditory alerts for a vehicle

9896031

Ford Global Technologies, LLC (Dearborn, MI)

2/20/2018

Generation of inner ear auditory hair cell

9896658

Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary (Boston, MA)

2/20/2018

Translating procedural documentation into contextual visual and auditory guidance

9898654

International Business Machines Corp. (Armonk, NY)

2/20/2018

Method and device for using token count for managing power consumption in a wireless network

9900839

Starkey Laboratories Inc (Eden Prairie, MN)

2/20/2018

Hearing instrument with switchable power supply voltage

9900708

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

2/20/2018

Determining impedance-related phenomena in vibrating actuator and identifying device system characteristics based thereon

9900709

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

2/20/2018

Method and apparatus for own-voice sensing in a hearing assistance device

9900710

Starkey Laboratories Inc (Eden Prairie, MN)

2/20/2018

User adjustments to a tinnitus therapy generator within a hearing assistance device

9900712

Starkey Laboratories Inc (Eden Prairie, MN)

2/20/2018

Microphone inlet for hearing aid 

9900713

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

2/20/2018

Beamforming audio with wearable device microphones

9900688

Intel Corporation (Santa Clara, CA)

2/20/2018

Wearable computing device with indirect bone-conduction speaker

9900676

Google, LLC (Mountain View, CA)

2/20/2018

Systems and methods for delivering bone conduction stimuli to and for measuring gravitation receptor functions of the inner ear

9895097

Ear and Skull Base Center, PC (Portland, OR)

2/20/2018

Cochlea hearing aid fixed on eardrum

9901736

Chen, K-C (New Taipei, TW) and Silicon Motion, Inc. (Hsinchu County, TW)

2/27/2018

Bracket for a sound processor and a coil

D811599

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

2/27/2018

Transformable speech processor module for a hearing prosthesis

9906881

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

2/27/2018

Bone conduction device support

9906853

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

2/27/2018

Method for providing distant support to a personal hearing system user and system for implementing such a method

9906871

Phonak AG (Staefa, CH)

2/27/2018

Hearing-aid noise reduction circuitry with neural feedback to improve speech comprehension

9906872

The Trustees of Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH)

2/27/2018

Methods and apparatus for improving speech understanding in a large crowd

9906873

Starkey Laboratories Inc (Eden Prairie, MN)

2/27/2018

Binaural hearing system and method

9906874

Cirrus Logic, Inc. (Austin, TX)

2/27/2018

Method for operating a hearing device and hearing device

9906875

Sivantos Inc. (Singapore, SG)

2/27/2018

Method for transmitting an audio signal, hearing device and hearing device system

9906876

Sivantos Inc. (Singapore, SG)

2/27/2018

Mobile wireless controller for a hearing aid

9906877

AN Direct B.V. (Rotterdam, NL)

2/27/2018

Solderless module connector for a hearing assistance device assembly

9906879

Starkey Laboratories Inc (Eden Prairie, MN)

2/27/2018

Listening support device, in particular a hearing aid, and a compressible case for application therewith

9906880

Exsilent Research B.V. (Amsterdam, NL)

2/27/2018

Wearable audio component

D811366

Harman International Industries, Inc. (Northridge, CA)

2/27/2018

Wearable device and earphone component thereof

9906854

Hongfujin Precision Electronics (Zhenghzou) Co., Ltd.  (Zhengzhou, CN)

2/27/2018

Ear insert for relief of TMJ discomfort and method for use thereof

9901506

Renew Group Private Ltd (Singapore, SG)

2/27/2018

System and method for locating a hearing aid

9911310

III Holdings 4, LLC (Wilmington, DC)

3/6/2018

Wearable device with receptacle to receive an audio device and method of operating same

9912798

Sandisk Technologies,LLC (Plano, TX)

3/06/2018

Connector for in-ear systems

9913019

Banzai Defense Group, LLC (Shalimar, FL)

3/06/2018

Power management features

9913050

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

3/06/2018

Solderless hearing assistance device assembly and method

9913052

Starkey Laboratories Inc (Eden Prairie, MN)

3/06/2018

Sound enrichment for the relief of tinnitus

9913053

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

3/06/2018

Methods for controlled proliferation of stem cells / generating inner ear hair cells using 1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-[1,4]diazepino[6,7, 1-hi]indolyl based compounds

9913848

Frequency Therapeutics, Inc. (Woburn, MA)

3/13/2018

Methods for controlled proliferation of stem cells / generating inner ear hair cells using N-(alkylcarbamoyl)-1H-pyrazol-4-yl)-nicotinamide based compounds

9913835

Frequency Therapeutics, Inc. (Woburn, MA)

3/13/2018

Alternate stimulation strategies for perception of speech

9913983

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

3/13/2018

Transdermal pharmaceutical bases for treating ear disorders

9913908

Professional Compounding Centers of America (Houston, TX)

3/13/2018

Online hearing aid fitting

9918171

iHear Medical, Inc. (San Leandro, CA)

3/13/2018

Headphones that determine head size and ear shape for customized HRTFs for a listener

9918178

Applicants: Norris, Glen A (Tokyo, JP) & Lyren, Philip Scot (Hong Kong, CN)

3/13/2018

Device and method for determining the presence of middle ear fluid

9918622

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation & Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH)

3/20/2018

Sonification systems and methods for auditory display of physiological parameters

9918679

The Regents of the University of California (Oakland, CA); New technology Sounds, LLC (Hanover, NH); Trustees of Dartmouth College (Hanover, NJH

3/20/2018

Method for charging a NIMH battery, a battery charger and a system comprising a battery charger and a hearing device

9923395

Sonova AG (Stafa, CH)

3/20/2018

Ear defender with concha simulator

9924261

Red Tail Hawk Corp (Philadelphia, PA)

3/20/2018

Hearing assistance device with dynamic computational resource allocation

9924277

Starkey Laboratories Inc (Eden Prairie, MN)

3/20/2018

Hearing device with model control and associated methods

9924278

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

3/20/2018

Hearing system comprising a binaural speech intelligibility predictor

9924279

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

3/20/2018

Binaural hearing assistance system comprising two wireless interfaces

9924280

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

3/20/2018

Binaural hearing assistance system comprising two wireless interfaces

9924281

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

3/20/2018

System, hearing aid, and method for improving synchronization of an acoustic signal to a video display

9924282

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

3/20/2018

Enhanced dynamics processing of streaming audio by source separation and remixing

9924283

Starkey Laboratories Inc (Eden Prairie, MN)

3/20/2018

Method of adapting a hearing device to a user’s ear, and a hearing device

9924284

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

3/20/2018

Ear piece

D813205

Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corp (San Francisco, CA)

3/20/2018

Ear piece

D813848

Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corp (San Francisco, CA)

3/27/2018

Method and system for testing a mould shape quality of a user-customized ear mould

9930454

Dynamic Ear Co B.V. (Delft, NL)

3/27/2018

Hearing device with suppression of sound impulses

9930455

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

3/27/2018

Method and apparatus for localization of streaming sources in hearing assistance system

9930456

Starkey Laboratories Inc (Eden Prairie, MN)

3/27/2018

Hearing device with dynamic mirror service and related method

9930457

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

3/27/2018

Hearing aid with detachable battery compartment

9930459

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

3/27/2018

 

Editor’s note:  Interested readers can click the following links for patents approved in Nov/Dec 2017October 2017September 2017August 2017June/July 2017May 2017April 2017March 2017February 2017January 2017December 2016November 2016,  October 2016Sept 2016,  Jul/Aug 2016,  May/Jun 2016Mar/Apr 2016Jan/Feb 2016,  Nov/Dec 2015Sept/Oct 2015,  Jul/Aug 2015May/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

 

 

Holly Hosford-Dunn, PhD, owned and operated a dispensing audiology practice in Tucson and was active in management of HearingHealthMatters.org through 2017.  She holds BA degrees in communication sciences, psychology and economics; MA in communication disorders; PhD in Hearing Sciences. Following post-doctoral work at Max Planck Institute (Germany) and Eaton-Peabody Auditory Physiology Lab (Boston), she joined the Stanford medical school faculty as director of audiology. She has authored/edited numerous text books, chapters, journals, and articles and taught Marketing and Practice Management in a variety of academic settings. She continues to consult and write on topics related to hearing health care vis-à-vis consumer demands, professional training, technological advancement, capital investment, industry consolidation, regulatory control, product and service distribution, and strategic pricing.

 
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About Amyn Amlani

Amyn M. Amlani, PhD, is Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology in the consortium program between the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Dr. Amlani also directs the Hearing Aid and Augmentative Technologies Laboratory, a research facility funded primarily from extramural grants and corporate sponsors.

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