US Ear Device Patents in April 2019

Get Down with Your Music and Up With Your Gym Game

 

Patent #10264339 aims to give ear device and hearing aid wearers “the feel of the sound similar to music being played at a night club, a concert, or when being played by a loud stereo,” and  “wirelessly communicate with an additional device.” This could improve your dancing and your social life, but why stop there?

Apple wants to use its ear buds to tone you up (patent 10277973), by having your buds gather and analyze sensor orientation data. As envisioned, the ear buds then use the results to coach you with audible instructions while you’re exercising and offer additional periodic evaluation, guidance and performance reports. This could work since AirPods seem to be essential gear for most gym rats, bikers and hikers these days.  If you’re already wearing the gear, why not have it slave away full time for your own good?

 

The Ear: A Convenient Full-Service, Full-Time Platform

 

Apple’s patent knows why everyone in the gym, on bikes or on the trail is wearing ear buds: 

 “ear buds can provide enhanced freedom of movement [by]…play[ing] audio content for a user of an electronic device such as a cellular telephone or computer without cumbersome cables.” 

 

Figure 1. Patent 10251603 view 1.
Figure 2. Patent 10251603 view 2.

G-Medical Innovations Holdings Ltd. (patent 10251603) gets it and plans to use ear space as a convenient place and shape for stashing all sorts of sensors and a robust control system.

In an odd reversal of the old “walks like a duck” routine, G-Medical’s device (Figures 1 and 2) walks and talks like a hearing aid but isn’t one. Referencing Figs 1 & 2, here’s G-Medical’s take on what we have always thought of as an ear hook and casing, as well as alternative uses for basic electronic parts: 

The unit includes a shaped anchor 102 for holding the unit near to an ear of a wearer of the system (also referred to as the “client”), without the client having to hold it. The shaped anchor may be part of the casing, or otherwise be connected to it. The shape of the shaped anchor may be similar to that use in hearing aids, which connect the hearing aid to the ear of the client for use in most daily activities without falling off. … The system …may optionally include …a battery…optionally, the system …may include a microphone and/or a speaker…[which ] can sense ambient sounds. 

What does this device do if it’s not a hearing aid? A bunch, as envisioned in the patent, the device may include:

  • a temperature sensor adapted to sense a body temperature from a depression between a lower jawbone and skull;
  • a control system, comprising a processor and a memory, configured and operable to control operation of said ear device, collect signals received from at least one sensor,
  • process said signals to provide medically significant results (by) correlating physiological data and environmental data (e.g., monitoring sleep tests),
  • enable vocal communication with the client in case needed,
  • a …GPS…to locate the client if lost,
  • an ECG device,
  • an oxygen sensor (#140 in figures) may be inserted into an ear [or] fitted to the earlobe (if the device includes an earlobe attachment),
  • an earlobe attachment …used to help measure heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs.
  • at least one electrode operationally coupled to said ear device, said at least one electrode configured to deliver electrical pulses from a power source in said ear device to a skin patch operationally coupled to said at least one electrode. 1

Or, Why Not Just Keep It Simple

Perhaps the above patent is over thinking things? Who knows the purpose of that stimulating electrode? Why not make it a hearing aid as long as they were at it?

No doubt there are good reasons that are above Hearing Economics pay grade, so let’s revert to what we know  — ear wax. Consider and feel comfortable with design patent D846025, (see feature image above) for which the patent title says it all:  “Writing instrument cap with ear pick.”

 

The April 2019 List

 

Description

Patent Number

Assignee

Issued

Method and apparatus for treatment of focal dystonia

10245432

MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geraete GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)

4/02/2019

Voice activity detection for communication headset

10249323

Bose Corporation (Framingham, MA)

4/02/2019

Sound processing based on a confidence measure

10249324

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, AU)

4/02/2019

Sound reproduction device including auditory scenario simulation

10250960

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der angewandten Forschung e.V (Munich, DE)

4/02/2019

Intelligent conversation control in wearable audio systems

10250973

Bose Corporation (Framingham, MA)

4/02/2019

Dual-use bilateral microphone array

10250977

Bose Corporation (Framingham, MA)

4/02/2019

Hearing assistant device for informing about state of wearer

10251000

Em-Tech Co. Ltd (Busan, KR)

4/02/2019

Noise characterization and attenuation using linear predictive coding

10251002

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

4/02/2019

Removable attachment of a passive transcutaneous bone conduction device with limited skin deformation

10251003

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, AU)

4/02/2019

Systems and methods for vital signs monitoring with ear piece

10251603

G-Medical Innovations Holdings Ltd. (KY)

4/09/2019

Customizable ear insert

10251789

Logitech Canada Inc. (Mississauga, CA)

4/09/2019

Distributed processing of electrophysiological signals

10252054

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, AU)

4/09/2019

Audio data buffering

10255035

Bose Corporation (Framingham, MA)

4/09/2019

Predicting acoustic features for geographic locations

10255285

Bose Corporation (Framingham, MA)

4/09/2019

Voice synthesis device, voice synthesis method, bone conduction helmet and hearing aid

10255902

Boe Technology Group Co. Ltd. (Beijing, CN)

4/09/2019

Hearing device incorporating conformal folded antenna

10256529

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

4/09/2019

Earbud insertion sensing method with infrared technology

10257602

Bose Corporation (Framingham, MA)

4/09/2019

Headset with ear support

10257604

Zound Industries International AB (Stockholm, SE)

4/09/2019

Managing telephony and entertainment audio in a vehicle audio platform

10257613

Bose Corporation (Framingham, MA)

4/09/2019

Hearing aid using wireless test modes as diagnostic tool

10257618

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

4/09/2019

Own voice body conducted noise management

10257619

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, AU)

4/09/2019

Method for detecting tonal signals, a method for operating a hearing device based on detecting tonal signals and a hearing device with a feedback canceller using a tonal signal detector

10257620

Sonova AG (Staefa, CH)

4/09/2019

Method of operating a hearing system, and hearing system

10257621

Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore, SG)

4/09/2019

Modular connection assembly for a hearing assistance device

10257622

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

4./09/2019

Hearing assistance system, system signal processing unit and method for generating an enhanced electric audio signal

10257623

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

4/09/2019

Hearing aid wireless antenna molded into the device shell

10257624

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

4./09/2019

Hearing device comprising switched capacitor DC-DC converter with low electromagnetic emission 

10257625

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

4/09/2019

Fitter defined user controlled adaptation tool for a hearing assistance device

10257626

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

4./09/2019

Hearing aid with antenna for reception and transmission of electromagnetic signals

10257627

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

4/09/2019

Open fit canal hearing device

10257628

Anova Hearing Labs Inc. (Springfield

4/09/2019

In-ear sport headphone

D845282

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

4/09/2019

Hearing aid

D845487

Applicant: Zheug, Weifeng (Shenzhen, CN)

4/09/2019

Method of testing hearing and a hearing test system

10258260

Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)

4/16/2019

Real-time continuous stress monitoring using wearable devices

10258273

International Business Machines Corporation (Armonk, NY)

4/16/2019

In-ear noise dosimetry system

10258509

Red Tail Hawk Corporation (Philadelphia, PA)

4/16/2019

Radio frequency transmitter circuits that provide power to an implant device

10258803

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)

4/16/2019

Enhancement of noisy speech based on statistical speech and noise models

10262675

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

4/16/2019

Hearing aid battery packaging

10263230

Energizer Brands LLC. (St. Louis, MO)

4/16/2019

Wearable vibration device

10264339

Applicant: Schwartz, David Todd (Livingston, NJ)

4/16/2019

Dynamic on ear headset detection

10264345

Cirrus Logic Inc. (Austin, TX)

4/16/2019

Wearable audio accessories for computing devices

10264346

Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC (Redmond, WA)

4/16/2019

User-specified occluding in-ear listening devices

10264365

Bose Corporation (Framingham, MA)

4/16/2019

Hearing aid and method for dynamically adjusting recovery time in wide dynamic range compression

10264366

Acer Incorporated (New Taipei, TW)

4/16/2019

Method for selecting transmission direction in a binaural hearing aid

10264367

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

4/16/2019

Hearing aid having an adaptive classifier

10264368

Widex A/S (Lynge, DK)

4/16/2019

Cochlear hearing device with cable antenna

10264369

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

4/16/2019

Hearing device configured to be placed in the ear canal of a user

10264370

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

4/16/2019

Hearing instrument comprising switched capacitor DC-DC converter

10264371

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

4/16/2019

Canal hearing devices and batteries for use with same

10264372

Sonova AG (Staefa, CH)

4/16/2019

Hearing aid comprising a locking mechanism

10264373

Oticon Medical A/S (Smorum, DK)

4/16/2019

Ball and socket connection with an acoustic seal and mounting interface for a hearing assistance device

10264374

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

4/16/2019

Ear model, artificial head, and measurement system and measurement method using the ear model and artificial head 

10264378

Kyocera Corporation (Kyoto, JP)

4/16/2019

Wearable wireless communication device and communication group setting method using the same

10264410

Applicant: Park, Saug-Rae (Seoul, KR)

4/16/2019

Writing instrument cap with ear pick

D846025

Application: Chun, Jung Byung (Douglaston, NY)

4/16/2019

Hearing aid processor

 

D846123

Oticon Medical A/S (Smorum, DK)

4/16/2019

Hearing aid

D846124

Sonova AG (Stafa, CH)

4/16/2019

Implant heat protection

10265533

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, AU)

4/23/2019

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

10269368

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

4/23/2019

Outcome tracking in sensory prostheses

10271147

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, AU)

4/23/2019

Hearing device with improved initialisation of digital feedback suppression circuitry

10271148

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

4/23/2019

Configurable hearing device for use with an assistive listening system

10271149

Starkey Laboratories Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)

4/23/2019

Implantable fluid delivery apparatus and implantable electrode

10272232

MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geraete GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)

4/23/2019

Ear plugs for hearing protection

D846730

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

4/23/2019

Earpiece

D746116

Bose Corporation (Framingham, MA)

4/30/2019

Wireless ear bud system with pose detection

10277973

Apple Inc. (Cupertino, CA)

4/30/2019

Adaptive level estimator, a hearing device, a method and a binaural hearing system

10277990

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

4/30/2019

Method for operating a binaural hearing aid system and a binaural hearing aid system

10277991

Sivantos Pte. Ltd. (Singapore, SG)

4/30/2019

Audio accessory for auditory prosthesis system that includes body-worn sound processor apparatus

10277993

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)

4/30/2019

Middle ear implant sensor

10277994

The Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)

4/30/2019

Bone conduction hearing aid device and bone conduction speaker

10277995

Winbond Electronics Corp. Taichung, TW)

4/30/2019

Hearing aid with a flexible carrier antenna and related method

10277996

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

4/30/2019

Systems and methods for license-enabled signal processing

10278223

Sonova AG (Staefa, CH)

4/30/2019

 

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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