2019 hearing aid patents

US Ear Device Patents in January 2019

Hearing Economics is always scouting out new ways for in-ear devices to multitask for the general good of mankind. Emerging technologies in new patents provide fertile ground and occasional low hanging fruit. Here are a few thoughts for future in-ear apps, taken from January patent offerings.

 

Beauty: In the Ear of the Listener or the Fingers of the Player?

 

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=10186166.PN.&OS=PN/10186166&RS=PN/10186166
Fig 1, Musical instruments training, patent #10186166

Future aspiring musicians may be able to master their instruments without benefit of teachers or even hearing, sort of like paint by numbers artistry except for hearing musicality. If patent #10186166 has its way, students will don gloves equipped with sensors coupled to “teaching server” networks, which will oversee dexterity exercises (e.g. finger independence, striking force, control of movement, etc) and training methods (e.g., plucking and bowing). The patent, specified for string instruments, extends the concept to include piano training (key striking) and foresees realtime feedback for players. 

Though it may be possible to learn to play a musical instrument without ever hearing it played, why not add a Hearable to the glove-server system, thereby re-incorporating a previously indispensable dimension into the training?

Though the patent doesn’t go there, it seems pretty clear from Figure 1 that the system would work on robots, too, not much different from the player pianos of old.

 

Hearables, the Other Wearable 

 

patent 10188323
Fig 2.  Patent 10188323 for wearable-based identity verification (and elimination of pesky passwords)

Vision Service Plan’s patent #10188323 tackles a universally vexing problem, namely the

“inconvenient and time consuming [need to]provide a password and/or produce other identifying information to gain access to a particular computer system, program, building or secure area within a building.” (liberally paraphrased here and elsewhere from the patent).

Vision Service Plan naturally seeks to solve the problem with eyeglasses, but kindly notes that “other wearable items” will do, too.  Hearing Economics naturally nominates Hearables for the task. Either way, the approach is to couple at least one sensor to glasses or ear device to detect one or more characteristics that associated with the wearer’s identity.

Suggested sensors run the gamut: “… a near-field communication sensor, a Bluetooth chip, a GPS unit, an RFID tag (passive or active), a fingerprint reader, an iris reader, a retinal scanner, a voice recognition sensor, a heart rate monitor, an electrocardiogram (EKG), a pedometer, a thermometer, a front-facing camera, an eye-facing camera, a microphone, an accelerometer, a magnetometer, a blood pressure sensor, a pulse oximeter, a skin conductance response sensor, any suitable biometric reader.” 

Whereupon, the wearable transmits its findings wirelessly to a remote location that confirms your identity and slips you in the door, onto the computer, or wherever you want to go.  

 

But Maybe Not This One

 

Patent #10179064 probably offers universal appeal to a large swath of humanity. It uses sensor-equipped wearables, worn while sleeping, to anticipate and proactively combat hot flashes to maintain your sleep state. In the patent, sensors can measure body temperature, skin conductance, EEG. Treatments can be as simple as turning on and off a fan. 

One suggested application–shown somewhat alarmingly in the feature image above–is to adjust ambient room lighting in response to EEG signals. This might work for Bose Sleepbuds but other Hearables may wish to seek inspiration elsewhere. 

 

The January 2019 List

 

Description

Patent Number

Assignee

Issued

Method for extracting temporal features from spike-like signals

10166388

MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geraete GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)

1/01/2019

Single-wire electrode array

10166389

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

1/01/2019

Ear medication dispenser with sensor

10166146

Applicant: Mitchnick, Mark (East Hampton, NY)

1/01/2019

Multi-dimensional auditory notification composition based on sender categorizations

10171654

International Business Machines Corp (Armonk, NY)

1/01/2019

In-ear monitor

10171902

Campfire Audio LLC (Portland, OR)

1/01/2019

Microphone matching unit and hearing aid

10171921

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

1/01/2019

Hearing assistance system with own voice detection

10171922

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

1/01/2019

Binaural hearing system and method

10171923

Cirrus Logic Inc. (Austin, TX)

1/01/2019

Hearing protector with compartment for rechargeable battery pack

10172742

3M Innovative Properties Company (St. Paul, MN)

1/08/2019

System for optimization of music listening

10175934

Arkamys (Paris, FR)

1/08/2019

Electronic device capable of obtaining hearing data according to face image recognition results and method of obtaining hearing data

10175936

Unlimiter MFA Co.  Ltd. (Eden Island, SC)

1/08/2019

Monaural intrusive speech intelligibility predictor unit, a hearing aid and a binaural hearing aid system

10176821

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

1/08/2019

System and method for synchronizing audio and video signals for a listening system

10178281

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

1/08/2019

Audio ear buds

10178461

Beutner, Steve (Riverview, MI)

1/08/2019

Light based hearing systems, apparatus, and methods

10178483

EarLens Corporation (Menlo Park, CA)

1/08/2019

Bone conduction device including a balanced electromagnetic actuator having radial and axial air gaps

10178484

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

1/08/2019

Bi-hemispheric brain wave system and method of performing bi-hemispherical brain wave measurements

10178952

Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)

1/15/2019

Pair of in-ear headphones

D837768

Tong De Limited (Tortola, VG)

1/08/2019

Hearing Aid

D837984

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

1/08/2019

Apparatus and method for treating disorders of the ear, nose and throat

10179002

Acclarent Inc. (Irvine, CA)

1/15/2019

Pharmaceutical composition for topical application in the auditory canal

10179101

Bio.Lo.Ga. SRL (Conegliano, Treviso, IT)

1/15/2019

Multimodal prescription techniques

10179240

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

1/15/2019

Hearing system

10181328

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

1/15/2019

Integrated circuit comprising adjustable back biasing of one or more logic circuit regions

10181855

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

1/15/2019

Earphone having damped ear canal resonance

10182287

Bose Corporation (Framingham, MA)

1/15/2019

Method and device for in ear canal echo suppression

10182289

Staton Techiya LLC (Delray Beach, FL)

1/15/2019

Hearing assistance device comprising an input transducer system 

10182298

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

1/15/2019

Hearing device and method with flexible control of beamforming

10182299

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

1/15/2019

Binaural hearing aid system comprising two wireless interfaces and a user interface

10182300

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

1/15/2019

Wearable dual-ear mobile otoscope

10182710

Qualcomm Inc (San Diego, CA)

1/22/2019

Stimulation parameter optimization

10183164

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

1/22/2019

Power supply manageable wearable device and power supply management method for a wearable device

10185383

Shenzhen Goodix Technology Co. Ltd. (Shenzhen, CN)

1/22/2019

Enhancing stringed instrument learning with a wearable device

10186166

Applicanat: Gialamas, Angelos (Kalamata, GR)

1/22/2019

Ear cup venting mechanism for gaming headset

10187715

Performance Designed Products LLC (Burbank,  CA)

1/22/2019

Method for controlling and/or configuring a user-specific hearing system via a communication network

10187733

Sonova AG (Stafa, CH)

1/22/2019

Hearing aid with an antenna

10187734

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

1/22/2019

Hearing aid device frame structure and locking plug

10187735

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

1/22/2019

Secure wireless communication for an implantable component

10187792

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

1/22/2019

Ear protector with visual display

D838834

Applicant: Mohabbat, Arshad (St Louis, MO)

1/22/2019

Systems, apparatus, and methods for using eyewear, or other wearable item, to confirm the identity of an individual

10188323

Vision Service Plan (Rancho Cordova, CA)

1/29/2019

Method and apparatus for in-ear canal sound suppression

10194032

Staton Techiya LLC (Delray Beach, FL)

1/29/2019

Hearing aid device

10194252

Better Hearing S.A.A.K. Technologies Ltd. (Or Akiva, IL)

1/29/2019

Antennas for hearing aids

10194253

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

1/29/2019

Isolated actuator for bone conduction device

10194254

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

1/29/2019

 

Editor’s note: Interested readers can click the following links for patents approved in December 2018, November 2018October 2018September 2018August 2018July 2018June 2018May 2018April 2018Q1 2018Nov/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, Hearing Health MattersHolly 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 (Munich, DE) 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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