US Ear Device Patents for February 2020

Thanks, Pearl Jam

Even from casual observation of our hearing behavior most of us connect the presence of two ears with our ability to locate sounds. (Schubert, 1980)1

Fig 1. Growth of binaural terminology in patent titles

We take our  two-ear arrangement for granted, which is probably why the “binaural” moniker rarely populated the titles of scientific studies until recent times.2 There were early pioneers:  a binaural stethoscope was referenced in an 1899 Boston medical journal. Binaural hearing made it to the title of a 1959 CID study which went so far as to call out the binaural hearing aid. Binaural masking effects entitled studies from the 1960s onward (e.f., Levitt & Rabiner, 1967; Wightman, 1970; Townsend & Goldstein, 2005). 

In short, binaural was a esoteric term that we hearing professionals had it to ourselves for well for over a century. Indeed, binaural beats were described in the early 1800s and remained our exclusive study topic into this century.

At the same time, binaural effects in the music industry were sold as stereo, which didn’t sound so wonky. Pearl Jam made binaural sexy in 2000 with the release its “experimental” studio album Binaural Beats. In the course of a decade, binaural shot from obscurity to ubiquity in hipsters’ lingo and in Google searches on the term (see feature image). 

 

Binaural Patents

 

Fig 2. Snap Inc 10567898 binaural audio setup

Add in the introduction of wireless binaural synchronization in ear level devices and the AR/VR needs of gamers and you can see how binaural has gone from a wonky lab set up to a fun “experimental” music recording method to a concept worth patenting from every design aspect (see Fig 1). 

 Which brings us to current efforts on the current patent list. For example, consider Snap Inc’s patent for a glasses frames with multiple mics to generate binaural audio (Fig 2), or Panasonic’s “binauralization” patent for rendering of multiple moving audio sources. 

 

The February 2020 Patent List

 

Description

Patent Number

Assignee

Issued

Method and device for continuous in-ear hearing health monitoring on a human being

10548516

EERS Global Technologies Inc (Montreal, Quebec, CA)

 

2/04/2020

DNP and DNP prodrug treatment of neuromuscular, neurodegenerative, autoimmune, developmental, traumatic brain injury, concussion, dry eye disease, hearing loss and/or metabolic diseases

10548900

Mitochon Pharmaceuticals Inc (Radnor, LA) & Bioventures LLC (Little Rock, AR)

 

 

 

2/04/2020

Method and system for rapid acquisition of evoked compound action potential recordings

10549089

Oticon Medical A/S (Smorum, DK)

 

2/04/2020

Event detection in an implantable auditory prosthesis

10549094

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

2/04/2020

Binaural cochlear implant system

10549095

Oticon Medical A/S (Smorum, DK)

2/04/2020

Directional noise-cancelling and sound detection system and method for sound targeted hearing and imaging

10553196

Stewart, Michael A (Sparks, NV)

 

2/04/2020

 

10554587

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

2/04/2020

Hearing aid

10555092

Nitto Denko Corporation (Osaka, JP)

2/04/2020

Power management features

10555093

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

2/04/2020

Hearing device with adaptive sub-band beamforming and related method

10555094

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

 

2/04/2020

Hearing aid adapter

10555095

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

2/04/2020

Antenna unit

10555096

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

2/04/2020

RF antenna and hearing device with RF antenna

10555097

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

2/04/2020

Hearing device including an external antenna part and an internal antenna part

10555098

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

 

2/04/2020

Hearing aid system with an aligned auditory perception

10555099

Oticon Medical A/S (Smorum, DK)

2/04/2020

Round window coupled hearing systems and methods

10555100

Earlens Corporation (Menlo Park, CA)

2/04/2020

Binaural decoder to output spatial stereo sound and a decoding method thereof

10555104

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (Suwon-si, KR)

 

2/04/2020

Binaural rendering apparatus and method for playing back of multiple audio sources

10555107

Panasonic Intellectual Property Corporation of America (Torrance, CA)

 

2/04/2020

Generating binaural audio in response to multi-channel audio using at least one feedback delay network

10555109

Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation (San Francisco, CA

 

2/04/2020

Charging base station

D874399

Oticon Medical A/S (Smorum, DK)

2/04/2020

Earbud case attachable to smartphone

D874142

Applicant: Anderson, Jerry P (Columbus, OH)

2/04/2020

Earbud cover

D874427

Applicant: Davis, Lorenzo Young (Las Vegas, NV)

2/04/2020

Hearing protector

D874736

3M Innovative Properties Company (St Paul, MN)

2/04/2020

External unit of an implanted medical device

10556110

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

2/11/2020

Feedthrough arrangement for medical device

10556115

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

2/11/2020

Interleaving power and data in a transcutaneous communication link

10556116

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

 

2/11/2020

In-ear noise dosimeter

10560776

WiSys Technology Foundation Inc (Madison, WI)

2/11/2020

Hearing device comprising an amplifier system for minimizing variation in an acoustical signal caused by variation in gain of an amplifier

10560787

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

 

 

2/11/2020

Hearing device with sound impulse suppression and related method

10560788

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

 

2/11/2020

Systems and methods for self-fitting an electroacoustic stimulation system to a patient

10560789

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)

 

2/11/2020

Method and a hearing device for improved separability of target sounds

10560790

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

 

2/11/2020

Hybrid electrically- and mechanically-stimulating cochlear implant

10560791

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

 

2/11/2020

Table microphone

D875085

Sonova AG (Staefa, CH)

2/11/2020

Hearing device comprising electrodes for picking up a physiological response

10561335

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

2/18/2020

Method and device for examining the faculty of hearing

10561347

Eberhard Karls Universitat Tubingen (Tubingen, DE)

2/18/2020

Method of retrofitting a hearing protector, and a hearing protector

10561532

3M Innovative Properties Company (St Paul, MN)

 

2/18/2020

Pharmaceutical composition for preventing or treating sensorineural hearing loss or tinnitus including platelet-rich plasma and method using the same

10561684

Shim, Min Bo (Gyeonggi-do, KR)

 

 

2/18/2020

Apoptosis inhibitor formulations for prevention of hearing loss

10561736

Spiral Therapeutics Inc (San Francisco, CA)

2/18/2020

System and method for configuring audio signals to compensate for acoustic changes of the ear

10567863

RevX Technologies Inc (Austin, TX)

 

2/18/2020

Directional hearing aid

10567888

Nuance Hearing Ltd (Tel Aviv, IL)

2/18/2020

Binaural hearing system and method

10567889

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

2/18/2020

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

10567890

Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)

2/18/2020

Ear-wearable device having tunnel with receiver coil

10567891

Starkey Laboratories Inc (Eden Prairie MN)

2/18/2020

Speaker unit for a hearing aid device system, and hearing aid device system

10567892

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

2/18/2020

Head-wearable apparatus to generate binaural audio

10567898

Snap Inc (Santa Monica, CA)

2/18/2020

Hearing diagnosis device and hearing diagnosis method

10568551

National Tsing Hua University (Hsinchu, TW)

2/25/2020

Compositions, systems, and methods for generating inner ear hair cells for treatment of hearing loss

10568883

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA) & The Brigham and Women’s Hospital Inc (Boston, MA)

 

2/25/2020

Personalized auditory-somatosensory stimulation to treat tinnitus

10569082

The Regents of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)

 

2/25/2020

Methods and devices for radio frequency (RF) mitigation proximate the ear

10575081

Staton Techiya LLC (Delray Beach, FL)

 

2/25/2020

Universal adjustable ear tip

10575082

Piearcings LLC (Kansas City, MO)

2/25/2020

Connector for in-ear systems

10575084

Banzai Defense Group LLC (Weatherford, TX)

2/25/2020

Combination of immersive and binaural sound

10575094

DTS Inc (Calabasas, CA)

2/25/2020

Method for operating a hearing aid apparatus and hearing aid apparatus

10575102

Sivantos PTE Ltd (Singapore, SG)

 

2/25/2020

Neural network-driven frequency translation

10575103

Starkey Laboratories Inc (Eden Prairie MN)

2/25/2020

Binaural hearing device system with a binaural impulse environment detector

10575104

GN Hearing A/S (Ballerup, DK)

 

2/25/2020

Method for characterizing a receiver in a hearing device, hearing device and test apparatus for a hearing device

10575105

Sivantos PTE Ltd (Singapore, SG)

 

2/25/2020

Modular hearing aid

10575106

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

2/25/2020

Hearing aid device having wireless communication

10575107

Oticon A/S (Smorum, DK)

2/25/2020

Prosthesis functionality control and data presentation

10575108

Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)

2/25/2020

Audio listening system

D876389

Apple Inc (Cupertino, CA)

2/25/2020

 

References & Footnotes

1 Schubert, E.D. Hearing: Its Function and Dysfunction. in Arnold, Winckel & Wyke (Eds) Disorders of Human Communication. Springer-Verlag: NY. 1980.

2 Which is not to say that binaural effects were not studied. They just didn’t make it into the titles of the reports.  c.f. Stevens & Newman, The localization of actual sources of sound. Am J Psychol 48, 297-306, 1983. And see Wayne Staab’s historical of binaural summation of loudness here at hearinghealthmatters.org

 

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 


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