november 2018 patents

US Ear Device Patents in November 2018

Once again, communications giants weigh in on the November patent list, which features wearable audio devices from Google and Samsung (0129635 and 10123137) and audio processing for people with hearing loss by Dolby Labs (#10136240). 

 

Ears, Fingers, Eyes and Toes

 

Time was, grownups maneuvered through life with ears, eyes, hands and feet. Hands and feet got us where we wanted to go by controlling cars, ships, planes and other machines. Ears and eyes picked out paths through environments by mapping familiar signs while identifying obstacles to avoid, attractions to pursue and elements of surprise along the way. Ears deciphered people’s utterances, in person or electronically (phone, radio, TV).

Simple times for simple adults: the world and our place in it were defined by personal functionality, or lack thereof. Assistive devices were for aging folks with failing senses or appendages. Hearing aids with volume controls helped when we no longer understood speech well or didn’t hear the train coming down the tracks; bifocal glasses enabled us, albeit inadvisably, to read maps and drive at the same time; canes and walkers assisted maneuverability when ears, eyes and proprioception declined.  

Assistive devices were decidedly bottoms-up creations, designed solely to keep us hooked up perceptually by making things louder, brighter– generally more detectable.  They were necessary but not sufficient for attention and cognition. 

 

Ready Set Action!

 

Complex times for still-simple adults: the world and our place in it is increasingly defined by Smart devices equipped with AI working in neural network models. Assistive devices are for all and personal functionality is no longer the sole limiting factor for worldly success at accomplishing daily activities such as driving or getting off the tracks when the train’s bearing down on us. Instead, top down device systems are learning to recognize, understand and decide how to behave in changing environments as we amble through them. Self driving vehicles are the most obvious example of such systems and they’re only as good as their attentional/cognitive attributes.  Hence, the plethora of patent activity in this domain.

Like our own attention and cognition, Smart device system have to start with detection and quickly move on to perception and action. Thus, the Dolby Labs’ patents spend a lot of time defining, identifying and selectively processing “adverse” hearing environments; other patents embue their systems with detection and categorical perception for applications ranging from better speech understanding (e.g., Securboration 10129671)  to autonomous operation of ocean going vessels (Leidos Inc  10131414).

In our own world of hearing aids, Widex’s patent #10129662 (Hearing aid having a classifier for classifying auditory environments and sharing settings) sets the future tone: 

[It] includes a hearing aid and a personal communication device being connected via a short range data communication link …analyzing auditory environment statistically. 

Think of it.  A hearing aid with it’s own Hearable and a bunch of “sub-systems” to detect, perceive, act, and share all with other devices. Truly, the ear is no longer the thing for hearing aids, it’s the brain. 

The implications are staggering for lifestyles of the future. No longer must we maintain our personal functionality to control things, instead we are on the threshold of integrating Smart hearing aids and other Smart devices to work with their own army of assistants to pave longer, safer and better paths for us. It’s not here yet, but the intellectual effort is wondrous to behold and makes patent watching an enjoyable sport.

 

The November 2018 Patent List

 

Description

Patent Number

Assignee

Issued

3D sound positioning with distributed sensors

10117604

Bragi GmbH (Munchen, DE)

11/06/2018

System, method and apparatus for patient communications in remote hearing diagnostics

10117605

Applicants: Davis, D (Spring Mount PA) & Lisiewski, B (Millsboro DE)

11/06/2018

Ear cup for a hearing protector

10117781

Savox Communications OY AB Ltd. (Espoo, FI)

11/06/2018

Agent for regenerating tympanic membrane or external auditory canal

10117969

Nobelpharma Co Ltd (Tokyo JP)

11/06/2018

Vibrating insertion tool

10118028

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

11/06/2018

Coil for signal transmission to implantable device

10118043

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

11/06/2018

Dynamic muting audio transducer control for wearable personal communication nodes

10120644

Orion Labs (San Francisco, CA)

11/06/2018

Multimodal communication system using induction and radio and method

10122421

Bragi GmbH (Munchen, DE)

11/06/2018

Method and system for using a video relay service with deaf, hearing-impaired or speech-impaired called parties

10122968

Applicant: Talbot, Chris (Moorpark, CA)

11/06/2018

Stimulation strategy for an auditory device comprising an electrode array

10123132

Oticon Medical A/S (Smorum, DK)

11/06/2018

Stimulation strategy for an auditory device comprising an electrode array

10123132

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

11/06/2018

Listening device comprising an interface to signal communication quality and/or wearer load to wearer and/or surroundings

10123133

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

11/06/2018

Binaural hearing assistance system comprising binaural noise reduction

10123134

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

11/06/2018

Method and hearing device for transmitting an audio signal from a transmitter to a receiver

10123135

Sivantos PTE Ltd (Singapore, SG)

11/06/2018

Assistive hearing device for use with a telephone and a hearing aid

10123136

Applicant: Bendetti, Richard J (Malibu, CA)

11/06/2018

Wearable acoustic device with microphone

10123137

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (KR)

11/06/2018

Microphone isolation in a bone conduction device

10123138

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

11/06/2018

Equalized hearing aid system

10123139

UBDevice Corp (Taoyuan, TW)

11/06/2018

Wearable band for facilitating hearing

D832812

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

11/06/2018

Hearing prosthesis efficacy altering and/or forecasting techniques

10123725

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

11/13/2018

Methods of treating, inhibiting and/or preventing an auditory impairment

10124062

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

11/13/2018

Magnet installation systems and methods for use with cochlear implants

10124167

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)

11/13/2018

System for combined neural and acoustic hearing stimulation

10124168

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)

11/13/2018

Wearable devices for headset status and control 

10129380

Plantronics Inc (Santa Cruz, CA)

11/13/2018)

Human-ear-wearable apparatus, system, and method of operation

10129634

Applicant: Barry, Christopher Robert (Philadelphia, PA)

11/13/2018

Antenna for a wearable audio device

10129635

Google LLC (Mountain View, CA)

11/13/2018

Microphone for a hearing aid

10129638

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

11/13/2018

User-programmable, head-supportable listening device with WiFi media player

10129649

Applicant: Kihm, Douglas (Salt Lake City, UT)

11/13/2018

Implantable middle ear transducer having improved frequency response

10129660

Envoy Medical Corporation (White Bear Lake, MN)

11/13/2018

Techniques for increasing processing capability in hear aids

10129661

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

11/13/2018

Hearing aid having a classifier for classifying auditory environments and sharing settings

10129662

Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)

11/13/2018

Partner microphone unit and a hearing system comprising a partner microphone unit

10129663

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

11/13/2018

User adjustment interface using remote computing resource

10129664

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

11/13/2018

Distributed resonator

10129665

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

11/13/2018

Signal conducting coupling

10129666

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

11/13/2018

Multi-pole magnetic coupling for bone conduction device

10129667

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

11/13/2018

Earmold for active occlusion cancellation

10129668

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

11/13/2018

Personal hearing device 

10129669

Axil LLC (Draper, UT)

11/13/2018

Detachable filter member for hearing aid device

10129670

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

11/13/2018

Hearing device adjustment based on categorical perception

10129671

Securboration Inc (Melbourne, IL)

11/13/2018

Hearing device comprising a signal generator for masking tinnitus

10129672

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

11/13/2018

Calibrating listening devices

10129681

Ossic Corp (San Diego, CA)

11/13/2018

Hearing test system

10130287

Audicus Inc. (New York, NY)

11/20/2018

System and method for delivery of a therapeutic agent to the inner ear

10130514

InCube Labs LLC (San Jose, CA)

11/20/2018

Hearing protection systems

10130517

Applicant: Gates, Craig D (Mead, WA)

11/20/2018

Powder composition for treating a disorder in the auditory canal of mammals and use thereof

10130583

Pegion Operations Limited (Gzira, MT)

11/20/2018

Magnet management MRI compatibility

10130807

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

11/20/2018

Methods and systems for fitting a sound processor to a patient using a plurality of pre-loaded sound processing programs

10130811

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)

11/20/2018

Connectorized cochlear implant systems and methods

10130812

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)

11/20/2018

Shipboard auditory sensor

10131414

Leidos Inc (Reston, VA)

11/20/2018

Hearing device incorporating user interactive auditory display

10133544

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

11/20/2018

Segmenting audio signals into auditory events

10134409

Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation (San Francisco, CA)

11/20/2018

Monitoring behavior of listening to broadcast

10135555

Nielsen-CCData Media Research Co Ltd (Zhejiang, CN)

11/20/2018

Method of customizing speaker for hearing protection earcup

10136211

Honeywell International Inc (Morristown NJ)

11/20/2018

Method of sound processing in a hearing aid and a hearing aid

10136227

Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)

11/20/2018

Hearing aid device and method for feedback reduction

10136228

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

11/20/2018

Binaural segregation of wireless accessories

10136229

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

11/20/2018

RF antenna and hearing device with RF antenna

10136230

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

11/20/2018

Changeable cartridge for hearing device docking stations

10136231

Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)

11/20/2018

Transducer protection system, hearing device and usage of a transducer protection system

10136232

Sonova AG (Stafa, CH)

11/20/2018

Processing audio data to compensate for partial hearing loss or an adverse hearing environment

10136240

Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation (San Francisco, CA)

11/20/2018

Multi-carrier processing in auditory prosthetic devices

10137301

Ohio State Innovation Foundation (Columbus, OH)

11/27/2018

Hearing system

10137302

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

11/27/2018

Audio monitoring of a hearing prosthesis

10142740

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

11/27/2018

Method for reducing the latency period of a filter bank for filtering an audio signal, and method for low-latency operation of a hearing system

10142741

Sivantos PTE Ltd (Singapore, SG)

11/27/2018

Method for operating a hearing device and hearing device

10142744

Sivantos PTE Ltd (Singapore, SG)

11/27/2018

Hearing device comprising an own voice detector

10142745

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

11/27/2018

Hearing prosthesis with a piezoelectric actuator

10142746

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

11/27/2018

Three dimensional substrate for hearing assistance devices

10142747

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

11/27/2018

Thermoformed acoustic seal

10142748

Sonova AG (Staefa, CH)

11/27/2018

 

Editor’s note:  Interested readers can click the following links for patents approved in October 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.

**Featured image courtesy Axil, LLC



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