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Publication numberUS2593892 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 22, 1952
Filing dateApr 5, 1950
Priority dateApr 5, 1950
Publication numberUS 2593892 A, US 2593892A, US-A-2593892, US2593892 A, US2593892A
InventorsElmore A Kindel
Original AssigneeElmore A Kindel
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
US 2593892 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 22, 1952 E. 4A. KINDEL 2,593,892

EARPIECE Filed April 5, 1950 3 ShGQbS-S'neet l E31. EIQZ.


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April 22, 1952 E. A. KINDEL 2,593,892

ERPIECE Filed April 5 1950 5 SheetS-S`neet 2 INVENTOR. 2Mo/"E f4. lfm/asl.,


E. A. KINDEL April 22, 1952 EARPIECE I5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed April 5, 1950 Razz nl.I l l lill.



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Patented Apr. 22, 1952 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE 7 Claims.

This invention relates to an ear piece arranged tc seat against the bones of the skull around the human outer ear. As will more fully appear hereinafter, the invention has numerous elds of application, many of which will be described in detail hereinafter. But the fundamental principles of the invention are present in all modifications.

Swimming is an extremely popular pastime, and it is a very healthful pastime in most cases. There are, however, numerous situations where a person should not expose the ear to influx of water. Such situations may be permanent in the case of people who have been subjected to a radical mastoidectony or who have a perforated ear drum, or the condition may be temporary on account of some minor infection within the ear where access of water would be contraindicated.

There have been available in the past numerous devices designed to prevent access of water to the ear. Such devices, for the most part, have comprised plugs or caps of one form or another, designed to t in the aural canal or over the ear; but such devices have been objectionable for the reason that they are uncomfortable to the user, and for the further reason that they are not fully effective in preventing access of water. In addition, unless an extremely careful t is obtained, suoli ear plugs are liable to dislodgement during violent exercise in the water and they, therefore, do not accomplish their purpose satisfactorily.

It may also be noted that those who have had a radical mastoidectcmy can usually not wear ear plugs because they will not stay in position and physicians have generally advised such people, either not to indulge in swimming at all, or, if they do, to be extremely careful not to permit water to enter the ear.

In one aspect, therefore, it is an object of my invention to provide a device which can be worn by anyone whether or not such person has had a radical inastoidectoniy or a perforated ear drum, which will eifectively prevent iniiux of water to the ear. It is another object of the invention to provide such a device which can be worn not only without discomfort, but with complete comfort over long periods of time. It is yet another object of the invention to provide a device as outlined above which will securely remain in position and will not be subject to accidental dislodgement.

In certain areas of the country, particularly in Florida where the water is very clear and many interesting under-water organisms may be seen, there has ground up the sport of deep diving and under-water exploration. For this sport, the swimmers usually wear goggles which permit them to keep their eyes open without discomfort, and such goggles may be provided with a nose piece or have a nose piece integral therewith to prevent accidental influx of water to the nose. In connection with this sport, it is another object of the invention to provide in combination with goggles, with or without a nose piece, all constructed on the same principles as the ear piece, a pair of ear pieces as above outlined, whichvmay be in the form of accessory attachments, or which may be made integral therewith. A swimmer equipped with a device according to this aspect of the invention may dive to great depths without discomfort other than that occasioned by the necessity of holding his breath. There will be no sensation of pressure on the ear drums even at great depths.

It is yet another object of the invention to provide in combination with a bathing cap, a pair of ear pieces as above outlined for use by women who, besides wishing to prevent access of water to the ears, desire to prevent access of water to the hair. The cap itself may embody the same principle as the ear pieces.

An ear piece, as outlined above, has another and different field of utility wherein there is no need to prevent access of water. This field includes such items as radio earphones, earphones for secretarial machines and ear pieces for stethoscopes. Ear pieces useful in such iields may be speciiically different from those in connection with the prevention of water influx, but

'they are nevertheless governed by the same principles of construction. It is therefore, another object of the invention to provide an ear piece which can be worn with comfort for long periods of time by a radio or telephone operator, a stenographer, a doctor, or by one who desires simply to exclude sound.

These and numerous other objects of the invention, which will be discribed in more detail hereinafter, or which will become apparent to one skilled in the art upon reading these specications, I accomplish by that certain construction and arrangement of parts of which I shall now describeseveral exemplary embodiments.

Reference is made to the drawings forming a part hereof and in which Figure 1 is a front elevational view of a device suitable for use by swimmers.

Figure 2 is a side elevational view of the same.

Figure 3 is an exploded view of one of the ear pieces with parts broken away to show the construction.

Figure 4 is an elevational view of one of the ear pieces on an enlarged scale.

Figure 5 is a cross-sectional view of the same taken on the line 5-5 of Figure 4.

Figure 6 is a view similar to Figure 4 of a modi ed ear piece.

Figure 7 is aV cross-sectional view of the same taken on the line 'I-'l of Figure 6.

Figure 8 is a perspective view of a device com` prising a pair of ear pieces according to the invention combined with a. pair of goggles.

Figure 9 is a perspective view similar to Fig,-

ure 8, showing a pair of ear pieces combined with a pair of goggles havingV a nose piece;

Figure 11 is a fragmentary cross-sectionalview on the line lI-II of 'Figure 10.

Figure 12 is an elevationalY view of a stethoscope, incorporating ear pieces according tothe invention.

Figure 13 is a cross-sectional view taken on the line I3-I3 of Figure l2. V

Figure 14 is an elevational view o-'a headset for a stenographers transcribing machine Figure 15 is a cross-sectional view'of the same on an enlarged scale taken on the line I5--I5 or Figure 14.

Figure 16 is a perspective view'of anaviators helmet, incorporating a pair of ear pieces according to the invention, and a throat microphone.

Figure 17 is a cross-sectional view onan en'- larged scale taken on the line I'I--I'I ofk Figure 16.

Figure 18 is a horizontal cross-sectionalview through an ear piece for sound-exclusion pur'- poses.

Figure 19` is a view similar' to Figure 13 showing a slight modification.

Figure 20 is an elevational view of. a stethoscope bell incorporating a slight. modification.

Figure 2l is a central cross-sectional. View through a modied ear piece.

The principle of the invention is based' upon the discovery that, while individuals may differ greatly in; size, weight and bone structure, the conformation of the skull aroundV the outer ear is substantially the same. It has been. found that ear pieces of the prior art wereuncomfortable to wear: because they exerted` undue pressure at one place ory another against. the skull. The-principle of the present inventiomtherefore, resides in providing an ear piece. which isp'eculiarly'l shaped so. as to. t the conformationof thehuman skull in the regionimmediately sur.- rounding the outer ear. If the ear piece is of such conformation, then the pressure holding' it against the'skull is evenly distributed around the periphery of the. ear piece-and anysensation of undue pressure is eliminated.

Since the conformation in the region. of. the ear may be altered by surgery, as in the case of a radical mastoidectomy Where considerable portions of theY skull are cut away, I prefer where it is-necessary to prevent the, ingress of Water, to provide the ear piece of a soft,. resilient material and, preferably, under pneumatic pressure, so that when the ear piece is pressed against. the skull around the outer ear,y the increase in pressure in certain regions, based upon the fact that there would normally be no contact'inthe.

region Where bone has been removed, will cause' an expansion in the cut-away region so that again the ear piece will conform to the shape of the skull and prevent access of water.

Referring now more particularly to the dra-wings, I have illustrated in Figure 1 a device useful for swimmers to prevent access of water to the ears, which comprises two ear pieces indicated generally as I0 and II, connected together by a clamping member I2, which may be of spring steel orthe like. The ear pieces It and Ii will, of course, be mirror images of each other and will definitely have to be labeled right and left In Figure 1, the position of the device is' as though it were on the head of a person looking, atthe reader. Thus, the device IQ is designed for the right ear, and the device Ii for the left ear. Asi can be seen more clearly in Figure 3, each ear piece comprises two members which have been designated by the same numeral as the ear piece with the postscripts a and 1J. Thus themember I Ia is made of rubber or rubber-like material and is yielding, while the member lib is a plate of some rigid and light material such as alightweight metal or plastic. Generally speaking, the member liov comprises an inner tube-like portion having a flange lic. Between the annular flange IIc and the main portion of the device I la there is thus provided an annular groove IIdl. In assembly, the peripheri7 of the plate IIb fits into the annular groove iid and. thel clamping member or connecting piece I2 is suitablyv connected to the plate IIb. As illustrated'in the drawings, the connection may simply amount` to a hole IIe through which the end oi the member I2 may pass. In order to prevent the-ear pieces from becoming separated from the connecting or clamping member i2, the ends of the member i2 may be bent over as at i203, or any other suitable structure may be provided for this purpose. rIhe device may be adjusted to the individual head by a slidingf movement of the member I2 with respect to the plates ith and IIb.

The ear pi ces, as above outlined, are shaped to conform to the human skull in the region immediately surrounding the outer ear. Thus, it will be observed, that at the point indicated at I3 there is a slight depression to accommodate the bony prominence immediately behind the ear. At the point I4 there is a depression to accommodate the prominence immediately above the ear. At I5 there is a depression to accommodate the prominence just in front of the ear, substantially at the end of the upper jaw. In between the depressions i3, ifi and l5 there are provided the prominences i5, El and i3 to cn gage the depressions in the skull contour theprominences above referred to.

The rubber or rubber-like portions ida and IIa of the ear pieces arev preferably molded to the configuration above described. This may be doneby providing a metallic piece having the desired contour and dipping it in a rubber latex so as to provide a coating of rubber about the contoured metallic piece. When the metallic piece is removed from the rubber, the rubber piece will, to some extent, retain the conguration Which was molded into it but it wl not retain the configuration completely. hr1 other Words, the. prominences will be less prominent and the depressions will be less deep. The contours will be in general somewhat smoothed out. In order to maintain the desired contour, I provide the plates Ib and I Ib with the same` desired contour S0 that' when the plates Ib and Hb are incor- DOratcd respectively into the rubber pieces Ita and Ha, they will force the rubber pieces to re tain the necessary contour. If the portions i3d and Ila are molded to the correct configuration, they will normally retain their shape indefinitely. Nevertheless it is desirable that the plates |61) and lib be shaped as above described, not only to assure a retention of the correct conguration by the portions la and la, but also to insure the application of uniform pressure over the entire area of contact with the skull. In order that both ear pieces may be fully illustrated, it will be noted that Figures 2 and 3 show details of the left ear piece While Figures 4 and 5 show details of the right ear piece i0. These ear pieces should be understood to be identical except for being mirror images of each other.

Since these ear pieces t over the outer ear so perfectly, I have found that sounds are transmitted through them with dirhculty, particularly if the plates |01? and lb are of metallic material. Sounds are transmitted somewhat better if these plates are of a plastic material such as one of the phenol-aldehydes, urea aldehydes, melamines, vinyl, acrylic or polystyrene plastics. Therefore, if it is desired that sound be transmitted through the ear pieces, the plates lab and Hb must be modified by the provision of some membrane to transmit sound waves to the inner ear. Such a modication is shown in Figures 6 and 7, where the plate ||Jb has been cut away as at |9 to provide a circular opening in the plate |0b bridged by an arch portion 2D, which arch portion 20 in turn provided with the hole Ille to accomn modate the clamping member i2. The hole in the plate is preferably circular, as indicated at 2| in Figure 6, and is covered With a rubber or rubber-like membrane 22. Sound waves impinging upon the outside of the membrane 22 will set it in vibratory motion, which in turn will set into vibration the air inside the membrane 22 and will thus transmit sounds to the ear drum.

In passing on to a description of the other figures, it will be understood that the ear pieces themselves will be as described heretofore unless specifically stated otherwise.

In Figure 8 I have shown a pair of ear pieces combined with a pair of goggles, indicated generally at 30, which goggles are designed to nt tightly around the eye sockets of the wearer so that he may keep his eyes open in swimming under Water -without discomfort. The goggles may be of rubber or rubber-like material or one of the plastics, and Will preferably be shaped to fit the skull contour over their entire periphery.

They will also preferably be provided with a rubber or rubber-like tube via around their periphery, functioning in the same manner as the portions |a and Ila of the ear pieces. Such goggles are generally held in place by straps 3|, 32, provided with conventional fastening means 33. The plate portion of each ear piece may be secured to the strap 3| or 32 in any desired manner as for example by passing the strap through a slot 33a in the plate.

In Figure 9 I have shown the combination of a pair of ear pieces, as above outlined, with a face piece comprising a pair of goggles 34a and a nosecovering member 35a. The face piece comprising the members 34a and 35a is designed to fit snugly on the face of a wearer to exclude water from the eyes and nose. Such devices are well known 'and again are usually provided with straps as at 34 and 35, and fastening means 3B. In both the embodiments of Figures 8 and 9 one 6 Y or both the straps may be provided with an elastic insert, as at 3T, so as to provide an element of resilience. The face piece of the type shown in Figure 9 will preferably be provided with a peripheral tube (similar to the member 30a) as indicated at 38. By Virtue of the passage of the straps 3i, 32, .31., 35 through the slots 33a, the ear pieces may be adjusted to any desired point along the straps.

In Figures 10 and 11, I have shown the combination of ear pieces according to the present invention with a bathing cap for use by women who desire not only to keep water out of their ears, but to keep their hair dry. These ear pieces, while they may be provided with the plate members described above, need not have the plate members but may simply have a rubber diaphragm 4| in place of the metallic or plastic plate. The ear pieces may be cemented or even vulcanized in place on the interior of the cap 42 and the cap itself will preferably have a pneumatic sealing arrangement around its periphery as indicated at 43. The material of the cap may simply be rolled to form a sealed tube, and the sealed tube will then bear against the skull of the wearer and will prevent entrance of water. Any water which might enter around the member 43 to wet the hair of the user would, nevertheless, not enter the ear because of the supplemental protection of the ear pieces according to the invention. The ear pieces are indicated generally at 43a in these figures. It may be de.- sirable to provide a spring steel connecting member as shown in broken lines at 42a, in which case of course the plates may not be omitted. If the member 42a is used, a chin strap Will generally be unnecessary. Preferably also the tube 43 will be contour molded as above described for the ear pieces and face pieces, so as to conform closely to the conguration of the skull.

The various embodiments thus far described have been provided for the principal purpose of preventing access of water to the ear. The embodiments to be described hereinafter do not necessarily have the function of preventing access of water, but have the function of supporting a listening device of one sort or another for the ear with a maximum of comfort to the Wearer.

Thus, in Figures l2l and 13 I have illustrated the adaptation of my invention to a stethoscope. The particular stethoscope shown may be of the simple tube type. Thus the curved pieces of rigid metallic or plastic tubing 52a which are resiliently urged toward each other by the springr '5212, may be threaded into the respective plates 5| as indicated at 5|a. Each tube 52a is connected to the bell 53 by a nexible tube 54. The portion 52 of the ear piece may be in all respects the same as the members Illa and Ila respectively.

In Figures 14 and 15, I have shown an adaptation of my invention to earphones such as are used by radio and telephone operators. Here again the rubber portions 55 of each ear piece may be the same as described above, but the plates `lit will be modified to provide space for an acoustical device indicated generally at V5T.

The ear pieces may be held in place by means of an arrangement such as Was described above Yin connection with Figure 12, or if desired, a

single ear piece may be used with a conventional over the head clamp.

In Figures 16 and 17, I have shown an adaptation of my invention to an aviators helmet Wherein radio headphones are required. Here again the rubber portions of the ear pieces indicated all uses to which the device may be put.

at. 6l, may be. the same as heretofore described. The plate. member 6I is provided with means for supporting. theA acoustical member 62 and the plate` (il. may be stitched or riveted or stapled, or otherwise, suitably secured to the fabric or material of. the. helmet S3. In the particular embodiment of Figure 16, the incorporation of a throatmicrophone `lill is shown.

In Figures 16 and 17 I have illustrated yet another minor modification where a valve member 6.5i may be provided` for the ear piece, which valve member may have a perforation l terminating at anangle as at 6l. This type of valve maybe employed with a needle, wherein the needle is inserted' through the hole 66, lifting up the flap GBand' upon withdrawal of the needle the flap V68l returns to the position shown in Figure 17 andA is maintained in a leak-proof condition. by the pressure within the member 66. The valve may alsobe of the typewherein the needle hole is1 sealed' by a piece of crude rubber, as is well known. in the art. It will be understood that any` ofthe devices heretofore described may be provided with such a valve if thought to be desirable or necessary.

In Figure 18 I have shown an arrangement wherein the ear piece is the same as that described in, connection with Figures 1 to 5, but wherein a layer ofsound absorbent material is insertedlas indicated at 7B. Such a device will most-effectively exclude sound, andmay be comfortably worn by those exposed to nerve shatteringl noises as in boiler factories and the like.

Figures 19 and 20 illustrate a modification in connection with stethoscope of Figures l2 and 13, Whereinthe bell53 is provided with a membrane diaphragm 1l, and wherein the ends of the tubes 52a'. are flared as at I2 and carry a membrane 13. It will bev clear that an air space is provided within the tubes 52a.' and 54 and the bell 53', whichV is closed at its ends by the diaphragms 1| andfl.. A more sensitive stethoscope may be providedin this way at a lower cost than the electronic stethoscope.

While allV of the ear pieces in all the modications` described thus far have been of rubber or rubber-like material, and all of them have been described as being hollow and containing a volume of air, this construction is not necessary in As pointedout hereinbefore, such a structure is desirable where the object is to prevent access of watertothe ear. Where, however, the desire is simply to support comfortably adjacent the ear an'Y acoustical device or the like and there is no necessity to prevent access of water, the ear pieeemay be made of some light material such as-oneof the plastics mentioned above or the like, and may-be hollow for lightness as indicated in Figure; 19, or, it may, if desired, be solid if weight considerationsv are not important. By virtue of the conformation of the ear pieces described above and clearly visible in Figure 19, the ear pieces will fit comfortably with no sensation of pressure even though they are not of a resilient or yieldable material. Since they are so contoured as'to fit the area of the skull uniformly aroundl the periphery of the ear, the pressure of' anyv clamping device will be uniformly distributed and will not cause sensations of pressure at any particular point. Thus, in any embodiment where my invention is employed for the purpose only of holding an acoustical device or the. like. in. position adjacent the ear, the ear piece may be made solidand it may be made of an unyielding material. In any event, the material will. preferably be light in Weight. Such embodiments include, as described above, stethoi scopes, radio head phones and stenographic transcribing machine head phones and the like.

While in all. the embodiments wherein a clamping member has been employed, the clamping member has been shown as passing over the top of the headV of the wearer, it will be understood that this is not a definite requirement. The connecting'or clamping member l2, may, if desired, pass under the chin of the wearer or around the back of the head of the wearer. All that is necessary is that the ear pieces be pressed against the skull, and it will be clear that this can be accomplished regardless of the position of the member l2.

While numerous modifications of the basic concept have been shown, it will be understood that these have been shown by way of illustration only and that many other embodiments will suggest themselves to those skilled in the art. Likewise, I do not intend to limit myself to specic .details of structure or methods of manufacture otherwiseV than as specifically set forth in the claims which follow.

Having now fully described my invention, what I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:

l. An ear piece comprising an annular hollow member ofy smoothly rounded surface adapted to seat' against the human skull around the outer ear, said annular member independent of external forces being deformed from a mean general plane and having a protuberance in the region adapted to contact the skull in front of the helix of the ear and a protuberance in the region adapted to contact the skull below the lobe of the ear and depressions intermediate said protuberances whereby said ear piece in place has substantially uniform contact with the skull, and a rigid plate secured to said annular member on the side which isA away from the skull in use to form a pocket adapted to cover the outer ear, said plate being deformed peripherally from a mean general plane to the same configuration as said annular membei', and being domed, whereby to help said annular member to retain its contour permanently.

2. A device according toclaim l, wherein said annular member is tubular in cross-section, and is constituted of a yieldable material.

3. A device according to claim l, wherein said annular mem'beris provided with en annular flap on the side which is away from the skull in use, and wherein said plate is engaged between said annular member and said fiap.

4'. A device according to claim l, wherein said plate has a perforation and said perforation is closed by a diaphragm capable of vibratory motion for the transmission of sound.

5. Ar device according to claim 1 wherein said plate is imperforate and has onits inner side a layer of sound absorbent material for the exclusion of noise.

6,. A device according to claim 1 in which said plate carries on its inside an acoustic device.

7. An` ear piece according to claim l, said ear piece.. being made of a light but rigid material.


(References on following page) REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:

UNITED STATES PATENTS 5 Number Name Date 350,393 Radzinsky Oct. 5, 1886, 387,709 Cole Aug. 14, 1888 882,700 Lewis Mar. 24, 1908 1,223,545 Whitman f Apr. 24, 1917 10 Schulhoff" May 11, 1926` Number 10 Name Date Kark Sept. 14, 1926 Dawson Mar. 22, 1927 Reno May 10, 1932 Burritt Sept. 11, 1934 Valentine Apr. 4, 1944 Woodruff Sept. 17, 1946 Valentine Aug. 17, 1948 Volkmann Apr. 26, 1949 Pfeiffer Nov. 15, 1949

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U.S. Classification181/129, 2/174, 2/428, 2/209, 2/68, 381/372, 128/866, 381/189, 381/376
International ClassificationA42B3/16, A42B3/30, A61F11/14
Cooperative ClassificationA42B3/30, A61F11/06, A42B3/166
European ClassificationA42B3/16C, A61F11/06, A42B3/30