US 2566313 A
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S p L. D. CATES' 2,566,313
SOUND CONDUCTING TUBE FOR HEARING AIDS Filed March 12, 1948 V INVENTOR. L/LL/AN 0. CA 7 'E$ Patented Sept. 4, 1951 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE SOUND CONDUCTING TUBE FOR HEARING AIDS 11 Claims. 1
My invention relates to improvements in hearing aid apparatus, and particularly to an improved means for conducting sound to the ear by air conduction.
The present invention is an improvement over that described and claimed in my copending patent application, Serial No. 753,393 filed June 7, 1947. In that application I described and claimed hearing aid apparatus including a sound reproducing device having an electric cord associated therewith and a cord support in the form of a filamentary member shaped to fit the rear portion of the users head. This member is designed to support the cord at a point adjacent the users ear so that the sound reproducing device may be mounted in the ear and also to support another portion of the cord at a point at the back of the users head so that the remainder of the cord is led downwardly from that point beneath the wearers garments and thence into communication with a microphone or sound pick-up device, which is usually mounted on the chest.
By employing such a cord support it is possible for a lady to lead the cord from the sound pickup device to the sound reproducing device for use, without employing hairpins, bobby pins or the like, and with the cord well concealed.
According to the present invention, a sound conductor, preferably in the form of a tubular member, is shaped to encircle the portion of the users head between the affected ear and the back of her head. The sound reproducing device is connected to a point of the sound conductor near the back of the head and an ear mold fitted to the mouth of the auditory canal is connected with the forward portion of the sound conductor in order to lead sound from the conductor into the ear. The sound conductor mentioned is preferably composed of stiff material, and the ear mold is connected thereto through a resilient tube.
This new type of hearing aid apparatus combines the advantage of being completely concealable beneath a ladys hair and the advantages of being less cumbersome and more convenient to use, partly because of the light-weight and small size of the ear mold, and partly because of the elimination of the necessity of leading electrical conductors from the back of the head to the affected ear.
The foregoing and other features and advantages of my invention will appear more fully from the reading of the following detailed description of two embodiments of the present invention taken in connection with the accompanying drawing which illustrates them, and in which:
Figure 1 is a perspective view of the rear of the head of a lady using one embodiment of the invention;
Figure 2 is a perspective view of the hearing aid apparatus alone;
Figure 3 is a cross-sectional View of the connector;
Figure 4 is a rear view of the connector;
Figure 5 is an enlarged detailed view partly in cross-section of one end of the hearing aid apparatus of Figure 1;
Figure 6 is a perspective view of a second form of the hearing aid apparatus; and
Figure 7 is a perspective view of the rear of the head of a lady Wearing the second form of the apparatus.
In Figures 1 to 5 inclusive there is illustrated hearing aid apparatus embodying the features of the present invention and comprising a main sound conductor l0 which includes a rear portion I2 shaped to encircle the back of a lady's head and also including two upwardly extending arms [4 which terminate in downwardly directed forwardly extending hooks 16. The entire main conductor I0 is shaped to conform to the back of the users head when supported thereon by resting the hooks [5 upon th upper portions of the users ears. For this purpose the main conductor Ill is preferably composed of silver or a light-weight aluminum or magnesium alloy, and is generally preformed into the general configuration required, but adapted to be readily and permanently altered in shape in order to fit the individual users head comfortably.
The main conductor [0 may be in the form of two branch tubes [8 which lead rearwardly from the respective ears of the user to the back of the users head where they are joined by means of a coupling 20. The coupling may be in the form of a small flat cylindrical or disc-shaped body member having a central cavity 22 which com= municates with two radially extending bores 24 in which the rear ends of the branch tubes is are pressed-fit or otherwise securely attached.
A coaxial passage 26 in the rear face of the coupling 20 is employed for introducing sound signals into the cavity 22 from which it is thence conducted through one or both of the branch tubes [8 to one or *both of the users ears. The
outer end of the coaxial passage 26 is defined,
at least in part, by means of a female connector 28 of the snap type which serves to clasp the projecting male portion 30 of a conventional sound reproducing device 32.
The sound reproducing device 32 is of a type which converts into sound waves, electrical signals carried thereto through electrical conductors 34 from a microphone (not shown). These sound waves enter the cavity 22 and are then distributed through the branch tubes 18 to the one ear or both, as the case may be.
An auxiliary conductor 40 is connected at one end to a nipple H! which projects outwardly from the main conductor II] at a point behind the affected ear and terminates at the other end in an ear mold 42 which is shaped to fit snugly within the mouth of the auditory canal of the users ear. The ear mold 42 is provided with an orifice fit which connects the auxiliary tube 40 to the auditory canal. Thus the auxiliary conductor 40 and the ear mold 42 form a branch pa'ss'a'ge'which' provides an air conduction pathirom the cavity 22 within the coupling to the auditory canal of v the affected ear.
The foremost ends of the main conductor 10 may be closed, such as by seals formed directly therein, or the branch conductor Ismwhi'ch the auxiliary conductor 40 is connected maybe closed by means of a plug M the forward side of the nipple ii. Also, a plug lit maybe mounted within the other branchtube 18' if it is not being employed to conduct sound to the other ear.
In order to effect maximum concealment of this hearing aid apparatus, the most forward portions of the branch tubes Hi, and the auxiliary conductor ie, and, the ear mold 4'2 are preferably formed of flesh-colored material, or at le'ast covered with a flesh-coloredcoatihg, -and the re--* mainder of the appar'atus i'nclud-ing the rear portions-of the branch tubes: iii, the entire coupling- 26, the sound reproducing device 32, the'elect'rical conductors 3'3 are formed 'of'materi'al the same .eolor as the hair of the user, or is at' least cov-- ered with a coating of suchcolor. I r
In an alternative formof my invention illus trated in Figures 6 and 7, theauxiliary conductor 4i} isconnected-t'o a forwardopen='-tip-of a branch tube It. This is preferably accomplished byen= larging-the tip '56 slightly, and'sl'ipp'ing one end of the auxilia-ryco'nductor iii over it.
In the latter f'orr; of the invention; the need for anipple ilis eliminated and tli'e-entire-strueture of the forward portion of theiiearing aid apparatus greatly simplified. In this fornr of the invention the entirem'ainconductorispreferably of the color of'the'usershair, whileth'e auxiliary conductor (iii a-nd th'e ear moldii are flesh-colored;
In both form's-oi the invention dscribedabove, the-branch tubes is are-preferably" composedof relatively stiff material such as-rr'ieta-l' and the auxiliary tube iiris preferablycompos'ed'o'f-a re=- silient or flexible material suchasrukiber-iiKe or plant plastics.
It is to be noted that theelectrical conductors *34 maybe led through thetube'frorii' therear opening to the forward opening in" accordance with the principles set forth in my aforemen tioned copending application. Accordingly, to the extent the hearing aidapparatus of this application also employs a hollo'w tubular member; it is to be considered'a continuation-in-part'of my prior filed copending application;
From the foregoingdescription'of my inverttion it is clear that I have provided improved hearing aid apparatusof compact; inexpensive construction which maybe readilysecured in place beneath a ladys hairwithout the use or hairpins or bobby pins 'and'withall'partsthereof concealed. Besides being easily concealed and bein? Worn readil'y Without interference with the combing of a lady's hair, this hearing aid apparatus is very comfortable to use.
While the invention has been described more or less in detail with reference to two particular embodiments thereof, it is to be understood that many changes may be made therein without departing from the true spirit and scope of my invention. In particular, it'fis to be understood that in the embodiment of the invention illustrated in Figure 1, the auxiliary sound conductor may be carried over the ear rather than under it.
Also inparticular, it is to be understood that while? the support member which encircles the head has been described as formed of still tubu- Iarsectionspnboth sides of the coupling, it might be for-med of' a fiexible tubular section on one side and a wire member on the other side. In fact, desired the tubular section in this case might even be flexible and terminate at the ear mold-1 It is also to be understood that the main conductor may be made of other materials such as suitable thermo plastics and any "flexible member is preferably made of a flexible-plastic. Reference is therefore to be had to the appended claims for a definition of the limits of my invention.
1'. Inhearing aid apparatus'of the air-conduction type; a stiff tubular member shaped to fit the'rearportion of ausers' head and means for holding one end thereof adjacentthe users affected ear and the other end thereof at theback o'f the-users head, saidmemb'er including a rear opening; at the backof the users head and a front opening adjacent the us'ers affected ear and in the tip of said: tub'ularmembe'r', an ear mold adaptedto fit in' the-rnouth ofana'uditory oa'rialof said affected ear and having anorifice therein-adapted to communicate with said canal, and a flexible tubular member connected-to- 0011- duct sound from said front opening to said orifice.
'2i-II'1- hearing aid apparatus of theair-cond-uction-typegxa s'tiif tubular member shaped to encircle the rear portion of the users head, said tubular member being formed with hooks for hooking: overthe-top portion of the users'ears, said member including a rear opening at the back" 'of' the users head and a front #:ip'iehing' adjacent one ear'of theuser.
3; Hearing aidapparatus asdefined in claim 2-in whieh said rear opening is definedby a female connector "adapted w clasp the ma1e' art' of a conventional-hearingaid soun'd reproducin device; I
4; Hearing" aidapparatus as defined in" claim 3 ii which said front opening is" in the tipof said tubular member.
5; Hearingaid apparatus as defined in claim 3 comprising means for blocking sound conduc tioifin said tubular member from said rearope'm in g *tot'v'ard the other ear.
6. Hearingaid" apparatus as'defi'ned iii claim 4 coi'riprising anearmold' adapted to fit iri'tli'e' mOuthoifan'auditory canal and having anon ficef-therein adapted m communicate with said seam; and anexiue tubular member connected to conduct soiind from said front bpeiiingtb' said orifice.
ing a mammals"stufia resrteaemg device 'at'" said rearward opening and in sound communication therewith, an ear mold adapted to fit in the mouth of an auditory canal of the users affected ear and having an orifice therein adapted to communicate with said canal, said ear mold being connected to conduct sound from said front opening to said orifice, and means terminating adjacent the users other ear for holding said tubular structure securely in position along a line adjacent the users head with said forward opening adjacent said affected ear and said rearward opening displaced. rearwardly therefrom, the spacing of said forward opening and said rear-opening being such that said sound-reproducing device and any electric cord leading thereto may be concealed beneath a ladys hair when said tubular structure is in such position.
8. Hearing aid apparatus as defined in claim 7 wherein said last mentioned means includes a hook member adapted for hooking over said other ear, said hook member being connected to the rear portion of said tubular structure.
9. In hearing aid apparatus of the air-conduction type, a stiff tubular member shaped to fit the rear portion of a users head, and means for holding one end thereof adjacent the users affected ear and the other end thereof at the back of the users head, said member including a front opening adjacent the users affected ear and a rear opening at the back of the users head, an ear mold adapted to fit in the mouth of an auditory canal and having an orifice therein adapted to communicate with said canal, and a flexible tubular member connected to conduct sound from said front opening to said orifice.
10. In hearing aid apparatus of the air-conduction type particularly suitable for use by ladies, a tubular member shaped to fit the rear portion of a. users head, means for holding one end thereof adjacent the affected ear and the other end adjacent the back of the users head, said tubular member having a passage therein extending from a front point adjacent the users affected ear to a rear point at the back of the users head, a sound reproducing device connected in sound conducting relationship with said passage at said rear point, an ear mold adapted to fit in the mouth of the auditory canal of a users affected ear and having an orifice therein adapted to communicate with said canal, and a flexible tubular member connected to conduct sound from said front point to said orifice, whereby said entire hearing aid may be concealed from view while in use by a lady.
11. In hearing aid apparatus of the air-conduction type particularly suitable for use by ladies, a tubular member shaped to encircle the rear portion of a users head, said tubular member being provided with hooks for hooking over the'top' portion of the users ears, said tubular member having a passage therein extending from a front point adjacent the users affected ear to a rear point at the back of the users head, a sound reproducing device connected in sound conducting relationship with said passage at said rear point, an ear mold adapted to fit in the mouth of the auditory canal of the users affected ear and having an orifice therein adapted to communicate with said canal, and a flexible tubular member connected to conduct sound from said front point to said orifice, whereby said entire hearing aid may be concealed from view while in use by a lady.
LILLIAN D. GATES.
REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:
UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 1,224,331 Smart May 1; 1917 1,585,407 Morin May 18, 1926 1,587,643 Harman June 8, 1926 2,151,706 Lieber Mar. 28, 1939