hearing aid patents october 2019

US Ear Device Patents for October 2019

Behold, The Pinna

Pinnas are visible and cute (e.g., Mickey Mouse, Hello Kitty and feature image). Historically, pinnas offered a popular form of corporal punishment and a quick sketch of evil-doers in 19th century German literature (“What big ears you have, Grandma”). And that’s about it.1

Audiologists tend to view the ear inside-out, focusing on inner ear sound processing functionality while middle ear functionality plays second fiddle. The two meatuses capture our attention only when their  respective mechanical or electrical conduction is impeded by wax or space occupying lesion.  Which leaves the poor pinna as a near orphan in the audiology household, despite its single-eared RIC-resuscitation of  the hearing industry back in 2005 or so.2

Fig 1. Pinna innervation (from patent #10426945)

Not so in other professions, where the pinna holds its own, so to speak.  Optometrist have relied on pinna-supported temples for modern eyeglasses for over 100 years. But it is the neurology of the pinna (Figure 1) that has elevated it from supporting role to star performer in bio-medicine:

 “…the external ear is the only place on the surface of the body with afferent vagus nerve distribution that provides… somatic afferents from the ear to the spinal trigeminal nucleus, which, along with the principal trigeminal nucleus, is the main recipient of the trigeminal afferent system. The external ear is also innervated by trigeminal nerve fibres…which partially overlap with the vagus territory”

Besides its myriad neurological connectivity, pinna stimulation is safe, simple and convenient compared to invasive stimulation techniques. Tinnitus treatment via TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) has been used for years. Along the way, TENS effects on cognition, mood and state variables have surfaced, leading to the idea of Earable devices for all sorts of things, such as Thync Global’s patent 10426945 (see below) for a device that hearkens back to Lucite open earmolds of old and, paraphrasing the authors, modulates a subject’s cognitive state while functioning as audio headphone for audible signals such as music.

 

The October 2019 List

Description

Patent Number

Assignee

Issued

Methods and apparatuses for transdermal stimulation of the outer ear

10426945

Thync Global Inc. (Los Gatos, CA)

10/01/2019

Stimulation management

10426957

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, AU)

10/01/2019

Method of operating a hearing aid system and a hearing aid system

10429421

Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)

 

10/01/2019

Hearing system

10431239

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

10/01/2019

Methods and apparatus to assist listeners in distinguishing between electronically generated binaural sound and physical environment sound

10432796

Applicants: Norris, Glen A (Tokyo, JP) & Lyren, Philip Scott (Bangkok, TH)

 

 

10/01/2019

In-ear listening device

10433043

Apple Inc (Cupertino, CA)

10/01/2019

Earbud stability anchor feature

10433045

Apple Inc (Cupertino, CA)

10/01/2019

Hearing augmentation systems and methods

10433074

K/S HIMPP (Lynge, DK)

10/01/2019

Audio processing device and a method for estimating a signal-to-noise-ratio of a sound signal

10433076

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

10/01/2019

Augmented hearing device

10433077

Sonion Nederland B.V. (Hoofddorp, NL)

10/01/2019

Eye-mounted hearing aid

10433078

International Business Machines Corporation (Armonk, NY)

10/01/2019

Hearing prosthesis accessory

10433079

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, AU)

10/01/2019

Hearing aid comprising an indicator unit

10433080

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

10/01/2019

Consumer electronics device adapted for hearing loss compensation

10433081

Jacoti BVBA (Boechout, BE)

10/01/2019

Fitting method for a binaural hearing system

10433082

Sonova AG (Stafa, CH)

10/01/2019

Computer performance of executing binaural sound

10433094

Applicants: Norris, Glen A (Tokyo, JP) & Lyren, Philip Scott (Bangkok, TH)

10/01/2019

System and method to capture image of pinna and characterize human auditory anatomy using image of pinna

10433095

EmbodyVR Inc (San Mateo, CA)

10/01/2019

Earpiece life monitor with capability of automatic notification system and method

10433788

Bragi GmbH (Munchen, DE)

10/01/2019

Display screen with graphical user interface

D861719

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, AU)

10/01/2019

Methods and compositions for treating hearing disorders

10434097

Gateway Biotechnology Inc. (Rootstown, OH)

10/08/2019

Echo control in binaural adaptive noise cancellation systems in headsets

10438605

Bose Corporation (Framingham, MA)

10/08/2019

Multimodal communication system using induction and radio and method

10439679

Bragi GmbH (Munchen, DE)

10/08/2019

Real-time voice paging voice augmented caller ID/ring tone alias

10440176

Staton Techiya LLC (Delray Beach, FL)

10/08/2019

Comfort and high retention vibration and sound damping ear tips

10440458

Conversion Sound Inc (Park Ridge, IL)

10/08/2019

Dynamically reactive, formable and wearable earpiece

10440461

Intel Corporation (Santa Clara, CA)

10/08/2019

Dosimetry hearing protection device with time remaining warning

10440463

Honeywell International Inc (Morris Plains, NJ)

 

10/08/2019

Hearing aid with improved wireless communication

10440483

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

10/08/2019

Hearing assistance device with improved microphone protection

10440484

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

10/08/2019

Hearing aid and earpiece

10440485

Sivantos PTE. Ltd. (Singapore, SG)

10/08/2019

Methods and systems for loading hearing instrument parameters

10440486

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

 

10/08/2019

Generating a sound localization point (SLP) where binaural sound externally localizes to a person during a telephone call

10440489

Applicants: Lyren, Philip Scott (Bangkok, TH) & Norris, Glen A (Tokyo, JP)

 

10/08/2019

Switching binaural sound

10440490

Applicants: Lyren, Philip Scott (Bangkok, TH) & Norris, Glen A (Tokyo, JP)

 

10/08/2019

Spatial audio processing emphasizing sound sources close to a focal distance

10440496

Koninklijke Philips N.V. (Eindhoven, NL)

10/08/2019

Pharmaceutical composition for treating or preventing sensorineural hearing loss, containing cysteinyl leukotriene receptor antagonist and ginkgo leaf extract

10441616

Ajou University Industry-Academic Cooperation Foundation (Gyeonggi-Do, KR)

10/15/2019

Noise level measurement with mobile devices, location services, and environmental response

10446168

Plantronics Inc (Santa Cruz, CA)

10/15/2019

Wireless microphone or wireless in-ear monitoring system

10448133

Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG (Wedemark, DE)

10/15/2019

Electromechanical transducer with mechanical advantage

10448136

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, AU)

10/15/2019

Selective sound field environment processing system and method

10448139

Bragi GmbH (Munchen, DE)

10/15/2019

Antenna for a hearing assistance device

10448173

Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)

10/15/2019

Hearing aid system with an aligned auditory perception

10448174

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

10/15/2019

Hearing aid with a flexible compression element

10448175

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

10/15/2019

Hearing aid adapted for embedded electronics

10448176

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

10/15/2019

Methods and devices for correct and safe placement of an in-ear communication device in the ear canal of a user

10448177

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

10/15/2019

Switching binaural sound

10448184

Applicants: Lyren, Philip Scott (Bangkok, TH) & Norris, Glen A (Tokyo, JP)

10/15/2019

Pair of cat ear headphones

D863253

Shenzhen Thousandshores Technology Co. Ltd (Shenzhen, CN)

10/15/2019

Automatic determination of the threshold of an evoked neural response

10449357

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, AU)

10/15/2019

Integrated implantable hearing device, microphone and power unit

10449376

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, AU)

 

10/15/2019

Wearable earpiece voice command control system and method

10453450

Bragi GmbH (Munchen, DE)

10/22/2019

Method and apparatus for using hearing assistance device as voice controller

10453458

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

10/22/2019

In-the-ear device

10455311

Sony Corporation (Tokyo, JP)

10/22/2019

Wireless earpiece with force feedback

10455313

Bragi GmbH (Munchen, DE)

10/22/2019

Apparatus and methods for bone conduction context detection

10455324

Intel Corporation (Santa Clara, CA)

10/22/2019

Binaural measurement system

10455327

Bose Corporation (Framingham, MA)

10/22/2019

Hearing aid system and a method of operating a hearing aid system

10455332

Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)

 

10/22/2019

Wireless body worn personal device with loss detection functionality

10455333

Sonova AG (Stafa, CH)

10/22/2019

Signal amplifier

10455334

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, AU)

 

10/22/2019

Devices for enhancing transmissions of stimuli in auditory prostheses

10455336

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, AU)

 

10/22/2019

Hearing aid allowing self-hearing test and fitting, and self-hearing test and fitting system using same

10455337

The Yeolrim Co Ltd (Seoul, KR)

 

10/22/2019

Auditory prosthesis system including sound processor and wireless module for communication with an external computing device

10456577

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)

 

 

10/29/2019

Utilization of an extended inter-pulse interval in a modified continuous interleaved stimulation strategy

10456578

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)

10/29/2019

Earpiece with biometric identifiers

10460095

Bragi GmbH (Munchen, DE)

10/29/2019

Hearing protection system with own voice estimation and related methods

10462566

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

 

10/29/2019

Method of detecting a defect in a hearing instrument, and hearing instrument

10462581

Sivantos PTE. Ltd. (Singapore, SG)

 

10/29/2019

Hearing aid and hearing aid dual use dongle

10462582

III Holdings 4 LLC (Wilmington, DE)

10/29/2019

Listening device with automatic mode change capabilities

10462583

III Holdings 4 LLC (Wilmington, DE)

10/29/2019

Method for operating a hearing apparatus, and hearing apparatus

10462584

Sivantos PTE. Ltd. (Singapore, SG)

 

10/29/2019

Personal communication device having application software for controlling the operation of at least one hearing aid

10462585

Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)

 

10/29/2019

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

10462586

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

 

10/29/2019

Connector for a hearing instrument and hearing instrument

10462587

Sivantos PTE. Ltd. (Singapore, SG)

 

10/29/2019

Speech processor headpiece

10462588

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)

10/29/2019

Elastomeric wax barrier for hearing aid acoustic port

10462589

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

10/29/2019

Short range audio transmitter

D864889

Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)

10/29/2019

 

Footnotes

1 The things you learn while patent search – for example, who knew that modern diapers have left and right ears?

2 Orphan indeed. The History of Hearing Aids page on Wikipedia doesn’t even acknowledge the invention of RICs as part of the evolution of hearing aids, which is a curious oversight in this author’s opinion.

 

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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