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Publication numberUS2613282 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 7, 1952
Filing dateSep 8, 1949
Priority dateSep 8, 1949
Publication numberUS 2613282 A, US 2613282A, US-A-2613282, US2613282 A, US2613282A
InventorsAlan M Scaife
Original AssigneeAlan M Scaife
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Spectacle type hearing aid
US 2613282 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct- 7 1952 A. M. scAlFE SPECTACLE TYPE HEARING AID 2 SHEETS-*SWEET l Filed Sept. 8, 1949 :Ill

INVENTOR ALAN M. SCAIFE Oct. 7, 1952 A. M. scAlFE l 2,513,282

SPECTACLE TYPE HEARING AID Filed Sept. 8, 1949v l 2 Sl-IEETS-SHEET 2 lINVENTOR ALAN M. SCAIFE m u 4% i Patented ct. `7, 179522 UNITED S'l'ATES PATENT OFFICE 2 asiatical o n l SPECTACLE TYPE HEARING AID l Alan-M. Scaife, Pittsburgh, Pa. ,Application-September 8, 1949, kSerial No. 114,537

rThis invention relates to hearing aids and parl ticularly to hearing aids which are characterized by their inconspicuousness andcompactness. vIt relates more particularly tofahearing aidhaving provision for supporting the sound Vvibration receiving portion thereof in fixed position on'the head of the wearer so that movement. of the wearers head correspondingly -moves the sound vibration receiving portion of. the hearing aid. In its more specific aspects the invention relates to a hearing aid in which the reproducer and/ or the entire means for converting soundvibrations into electrical impulses is or are carried'by. a Support adapted to be worninsubstantially xed'position on the users head.

All hearing aids heretofore developed have two very serious .drawbacks whichy militate against their use by many persons in need of. aid .tovhearing. Perhaps the most serious drawback is the conspicuousness of thehearing aid; Many hard of hearing persons are sensitive of their poor 1 claim, (C1. 17e- 407) hearing and are loathe to wear conspicuous'hear#` to manipulate and wear, but they are highlyvundesirable because of the conspicuousness` of the sound reproducer and thesound vibration receiving portion. While the-powerunitmaybeqconcealed in the clothing-ofthe wearer, the sound reproducer cannot` be thus concealed asit must be in or adjacent the ear or at least4 disposed against a bone of thehead'if thehearingaid is of the bone conduction type. `The *sound` vibration receiving portion of thehearing aid must be positioned to adequately receivethe vsound vibrations which are'to beconverteddnto electrical impulses for activating the soundreproducer and is normally worn yexposed-upon the front of the wearers body. It is -possibleforthe sound vibration receiving portion of the-hearing aid to be disposed in a pocket if'the material of, the pocket is suiciently light that it will'not seriously interfere with `passage of sound vibrations from without to the sound vibration receiving portion. In any event, however, there must be conductors of electricityfextending between the means for converting sound vibrationsy into electrical impulses and the sound reproducer which is activated by. the electrical impulses for activating the auditory nervcofy the Wearerand 2 v when the sound vibration receiving portion is carried by the body below the head,`even if it is disposed ina pocket, the conductors of electricity leading to itare more or'less conspicuous.

lIt has heretofore beenproposed to mount the rsound reproducer of a hearing aid on orin connection with a v spectacle frame, the spectacle frame being utilized as a means; of support for the sound reproducer andto renderthe sound reproducer lessconspicuous than in the normal hearing aid. However, all `hearing aids with which I amiamiliar have the sound vibration receiving portion and the 4battery carried by a portion o f the wearers bodygbelow the head and connected with the sound reproducer by conductors of electricity.

A further drawback of hearing aids heretofore developed is that since the sound vibrationl receiving portionhas been carriedY uponthe wearers" body below thev headits orientation is xed forl any position of the wearers torso. If the wearerisv conferring with a numberof people grouped about the wearer, the sound vibration receiving portion of the hearing aid may effectively Ireceive sound vibrations caused by the speech of one or more of the persons present but rnot the -soundvibration's caused bythe speech of others. v'locounteract this `drawback the wearer must eitherturn his body'toward each speaker in-turn-or hold the sound vibration receiving portion# of the hearing aidin hisy handvand orient it toward the various speakers. Either alternative is distasteful to av'hard of hearing person.

I. have devised a hearing aidv which may be embodied in various forms-al1 of which Aobviate disadvantages of hearing aids heretofore avail able; I: provide a hearing aid comprisingga support adapted tobe Worn in substantially 4iixed position .on the head of the user and having-portions relatively positioned to engage portions of the head .to maintain it in placameans for con-r portionof the hearing aidiniixed positionk rela,-

tively to the wearers head Vso that movemcntof ,the `wearers head correspondingly' moves the sound vibration receiving portion has in itself twoimportant advantages not heretofore realized Theo-,nrstladvantage isthat it lis-not necessary for the wearer to either turn his body or hold the sound vibration receiving portion of the hearing aid in his hand and orient it toward the various speakers when in conference; the wearer need merely turn his head toward a speaker and thereby, even without consciousness on the part of the wearer, automatically orient the sound vibration receiving portion of the hearing aid to most effectively receive the sound vibrations caused by the speech of the speaker. A further advantage realized is that the hearing aid can be made selective. When it is properly and may by that portion of the frame be pressed against a bone of the head in the vicinity of the ear, such as the mastoid bone. If it is desired that the entire hearing aid be self-contained within a support having the general oonguration of a spectacle frame, the power unit may be mounted in the spectacle frame. For example, the spectacle frame may have opposed portions extending to positions adjacent the ears of the wearer, which portions `are hollow. The power unit may be disposed within one or both of those hollow portions and conductors of electricity also oriented to receive sound vibrations emanating 5 from a particular source, it will operate atin-v creased eiiiciency for a particular currentA consumption. Conversely, less current is required to operate the hearing aid when it is selectively oriented, adding to the wearers comfort and reducing the cost of operation. Smaller batfixed position on the wearers head is that it may be more effectively camoufiaged than when mounted on the wearers torso and connected with the sound reproducer by conductors of electricity which are exposed to view. For example, the support for the sound vibration receiving por` tion may have the general configuration of'a spectacle frame. The sound vibration receiving portion may be mounted in or formed as a part of the spectacle frame so that it is inconspicuous'. Desirably the sound vibration receiving portion is carried in xed position at the portion of the support which is disposed at the front of the wearers head when the support is being worn so that it is positioned to receive sound vibrations emanating from in front of the wearers head. The support may have a portion disposed at or above the wearers nose in which the sound vibration receiving portion of the hearing aid may be mounted. The support may have opposed bearing portions spaced apart a distance approximately equal to the width of a portion of a human nose and adapted to bear on the nose of the wearer as in an ordinary spectacle frame and the sound vibration receiving portion may be mounted on the crosspiece which bridges the wearers nose.

My hearing aid has important advantages as pointed out above incident to mounting the sound vibration receiving portion in fixed position on the wearers head even though the power unit is separately mounted and even though a more or less conspicuous sound reproducer is used. However, further advantages in inconspicuousness and compactness of the hearing aid are obtainable by mounting the sound reproducer and/or the power unit in the support which carries the sound vibration receiving portion. For example, when the support for the sound .vibration receiving portion has the general configuration of a spectacle frame it'may have a portion extending to a position adjacent an ear of the wearer and the sound reproducer may be carried by that portion of the support. If the sound reproducer is of the bone conductiontype it may be mounted in the portion of the frame which extends to a position adjacent the wearers ear concealed within the frame may appropriately connect the power unit with the sound vibration receiving portion and the sound reproducer so that sound vibrations received by the sound vibration receiving portion are converted into electrical impulses which activate the sound reproducer which in turn activates the auditory nerve of the wearer.

lWhile it is possible to embody the entire hearing aid within a support having the general configuration of a spectacle frame it may in some cases be desirable to mount the power unit separately from the frame while mounting the remainder of the hearing aid in the frame. In that case the power unit may be connected with the frame by conductors of electricity which may be made to resemble the ribbon or cord sometimes worn with spectacles to save them from damage in the event of falling oil. Separate mounting of the power unit enables a power unit of greater capacity and longer life to be employed than can be concealed within the support although power units are now available which are of such small size that they can be concealed within a support having the general configuration of a spectacle frame.

Other details, objectsand advantages of the invention will become apparent as the following description of av present preferred embodiment thereof proceeds.

In the drawings I have shown a present preferred embodiment of the invention in which Figure 1 is a top plan view of a self-contained hearing aid having a support having the general configuration of a spectacle frame which carries the entire means for converting sound vibrations into electrical impulses including the power unit and which also carries the sound reproducer;

g Figure 2 is a front elevational view of the hearing aid shown in Figure 1;

Figure 3 is a cross-sectional view to enlarged scale taken on the line III-III of Figure 1;

Figure 4 is a cross-sectional view to enlarged scale taken on the yline IV--IV of Figure 1;

Figure 5 is a cross-sectional view to enlarged scale taken on the line V-V of Figure 1;

Figure 6 is a cross-sectional view to enlarged scale taken on the line VI-VI of Figure 1;

Figure 7 is a cross-sectional View to enlarged scale taken on the line VII- VII of Figure l; and

Figure 8 is a wiring diagram showing one form of electrical circuit which may be employed in the hearing aid of Figures 1-7.

Referring now more particularly to the drawings,` the hearing'aid is shown in its entirety in Figures 1 and 2. It is entirely self-contained within a supportadapted to be worn in substantially fixed position on the head of the user and having portions relatively positioned to engage portions of the head to' maintain it in place. The support shown is designated generally by reference numeral 2 vand has the general configuration of a spectacle frame.'r It has opposed s. bearing portionsd spaced apart a distance ap-y proximately equalto the'width of aportion of a human nose and adapted to bear on the nose of the wearer. VIt hasvopposed portions 4 and 5 extendingv yto positions adjacent the ears-of the wearer and having slightly curved end portions 6 and 'i respectively which are adapted to liey atop the ears and to press against the head thereabove, as 4against themastoid bone, and to cooperate with, the portions 3 to maintain the'support in iixed position on the head. rIhe portions 3 are integral or connected with a front part 8 of the support 2. Thefront part 8 has two por.-l

tionsk t shaped ask-lens4 frames connected'by. rai bridge It. wearers nose ,therbridge 'I0 is disposed at ythe frontof the unperportionof the-:nose."'-4

The essential parts of thew hearing vaid are .the means for converting sound vibrations 11,112.0y elec:-

trical impulses and thesound reproducer acti-y vated by the electricalgi-mpulses for activating the auditory nerve: of the wearer. The sound reproducer is disposedjuih` the curved end por tion l ofthe portion -5 of `the support 2 and isr shown diagrammatica'lly at I2 in Figure 1. The sound reproducer I2 is ofthe bone conduction type and is by the portion 5- of thei support pressed against the m'astoid bone-generally above the wearers leit ear. j The sound reproducer is suitably mounted in the portion 1 so that. when it is activated'by the electrical impulses coming to it from the means for converting sound vibrations into electrical impulses it will in turn through the mastoid boneof the lwearer activate the auditory nerve `of the wearer. 4The principle teries I3, I si and I5 relectrically connectedffas will presently be described. The batteriesarepf difr-` ferent voltages, th'e ba-tteryfI3lfiavin g, a voltage' of the order-oi one and one-half volts, the; bat-A tery it lhaving a voltage vofthe order of three volts and the battery I5 having a volta'geoi Athe order of thirtyvolts. The-function of the power unit consisting of the batteries I3, I 4 ,and I15is to supply the necessary electrical energy to operate the means for converting sound vibrations into electrical impulses. The means for converting sound vibrations into .electrical impulses comprises a sound vibration Areceiving yportion I6 which is desirably mounted in -the rbridger I and which may be a microphone landthree transistors Il, I3 and I9 4and two transformers 20 and 2|,

all of the .transistors'and transiormers being disposed .withinthe portion Aof :the support. The electrical ,connections will be described in ydetail below. A switch 22 forclosing and opening the electrical circuit to energize and kd'e-energizefthe hearing aid is kprovided ron the portion 4 of the support, the switch comprising a turnable ring operable by the lingers oi thelwearer of the'hear-v ing aid-either 4when-the hearing aid is beingworn or when it is being held in the hands, the circuit being closed when the ring is in one rotative position and being open when the ring is in another rotative position. A similar ring 23 is provided on the portion 5 of the support for volume control, i. e., for controlling the amount of current passing from the power unit through the When the portions4 3 bear onthes f. washer .as `shown Figure means for converting sound vibrations into elec'- trical impulses.

,The front part 8 of the support 2 and the portions4 andthereof maybeforzned separately, as, for examplaby beingrnolded out of plastic material. The respectiverings 22 and 23 may bedisposed at the joints between the front part 8 and the respectiveportions .4 and 5. The front part` 8 yhas the.i required-number of conductors ofelectricity disposed and yconcealed within it, the conductors, either being permanently embedded in the material of which the front part 8 is molded or being threadedthrough cored ducts formed inthe front part '8 when it is made. The right-hand end portion 24 ofthe iront part 8, viewing Figure l, has at its end a recess 25 into which a stern 2-6 of the portion extends as shown in Figure '1, thestem also passing through the ring-22. The portion-4 (and the same is true-of the portion 5) may be made in two halves as shown bythe cross-sectioning` in Figures 5 and '7 to enable easy introduction thereinto of the 4portions of the hearing aid which are to be disposed therein, the halves being fastened together in any suitable manner as by cementing.

The stern E6 is preferably cemented Within the recess 25 but provision is made for turning of the switch ringk 22. Ijhe switch ring 212 has formed thereinparallel to its axis asmany bores 2l as there are vconductors extending from the front part 8 into;l the portion 4, three such bores be ingindicatedin Figure 4. In each bore 21a-re positioned contact members ,2:9 urged apart by a compression coil spring 29 dis-posed therebetween as shown in Figure 7. The .contactmembers are arranged so that when the ring 22 is in one vrotative position they make electrical contact between the end portionsi) of the conductors of electricity. the front part ;8 and the endportions 3l vof thev conductors ofA electricityin the portion i and when the .ring w22 is in another rotative position they are :angularly onset from the ends 30 and 3| .so that current ycannot pass therebetween.

The :ring '23 Ahas one bore 13.2 therethrough parallel .to its axis andv contact members 33 are mounted'therein and urged apart `by a compression coilfspring 3d. The left-handcontact member 3S viewing Figure 6 always .engages a contactzring 35 Vto `which extends a vconductor of electricity 36'. Mounted inthe end portion 3l of the front part `8 is a resistance pad 3'8 .to vone endaof which extends a conductor i3d, the re.-

sistance pad having generally the forni of a splitr Upon turning of the ring 52:3."the contact members close va circuit between the. contactfria- 3.5. and different portions of theiresistance .pad &3 whereby to vary the *,.amount of current passingv through the circuit. V

`Theend :.portioni vof theiront'ipart is shown asl having a central cored `opening 'fit with a reduced recess 4i at its. extremity receiving the stemt .oi' 'the portion li fwherebyflto connect the portion '.5 to the fronti part :8. in .a manner vsimilar `totthatfzin:which the portion :d is connected toitheir ont :part :SL

yAs well :flrnowln' to those skilled in the art, 'the hearing aid may be operated by many different types of electrical circuits. Any operative electrical circuit may be employed in my hearing s aid. One possible circuit is given purely by Way 44 extends from the switch 22 to the microphonev I 6. A conductor 45 extends from the microphone I6 to the emitter electrode y46 f of the transistor I'I. A conductor 41 extends from the collector electrode 48 of the transistor II to one side of the transformer 20. The circuit through that side of the transformer 20 is completed by a conductor 49 which extends to a conductor 50 which extends to the switch 22 and a corresponding conductor I which extends from the switch 22 to the battery I5. The batteries I3, I4 and I5 are connected in series. a conductor 52 extending from the battery I3 to the battery I4 and a conductor 53 extending from the battery I4 to the battery I5.

The opposite side of the transformer 20 is connected through a conductor 36 with the contact member 33 cooperating with the resistance pad 38. The conductor 39 from the resistance pad 38 is connected to the transformer 28 at 55. The conductor y39 is connected with a conductor 56 which extends to the switch 22. A corresponding conductor 51 extends from the switch 22 to the conductor 52.

The transformer 2D is connected with the emitter electrode 58 of the transistor I8 by a conductor 56. The collector electrode 60 of the transistor I8 is connected with the transformer 2| by a conductor 6I. A conductor 62 leads from the transformer 2I to the conductor 50.

The transformer 2I is connected with the emitter electrode 63 of the transistor I9 by a conductor 64. The collector electrode 65 of the transistor I9 is connected with the sound reproducer I2 by a conductor 86. A conductor 61 leads from the sound reproducer I2 to the conductor 5U.

The ground electrode 68 of the transistor II, the ground electrode 69 of the transistor I8 and the ground electrode 'I0 of rthe transistor I9 are grounded as is the conductor 53. A ground conductor may connect the ground electrodes 68, 69 and I0 and the conductor 53.

Sound vibrations impinge on microphone IS and the resulting electrical impulses are conducted through conductor 45 to the emitter electrode 46 of the transistor I'I. Battery I3 supplies the current for operating microphone I6. Changes in current between the emitter electrode 46 and the ground electrode 68 of the transistor I'I produce changes in current in the transistor path between collector electrode 48 and ground electrode 68 which by virtue of the relatively high voltage of the battery I5 have energy greater than that exerted by the current through microphone I6, emitter electrode 46 and ground electrode 68. Transformer 28 produces the voltage of the amplified speech currents from transistor II to match the resistance of the emitter electrode 58 and ground electrode 69 of transistor I8. The resistance pad 31 acts in the nature of a rheostat to vary the amplitude of the electrical vibrations reaching transistor I8 in order to control the volume of current employed for operating the hearing aid and hence the loudness of the sounds emanating from the sound reproducer I2. The energy of the electrical impulses originating in the path between the collector electrode 6B and the ground electrode 69 of the transistor I8 derived from the battery I5 is fed to the sound transformer 2| which matches the impedance between'the output of the transistor I8 and the input of the transistor I9 in a manner well known in the art. The output of transistor I9 derived from the circuit including collector` electrode 65, sound reproducer I2I battery I5 and ground electrode I0 represents a impulses originating in microphone I 6 so that the wearers auditory nerve is activated.

I make no claim to the specific electrical circuit above described or the manner of operation thereof. Possibly other circuits could more effectively perform the function. I am concerned with the reduction of the conspicuousness of the hearing aid by mounting at least the sound vibration receiving portion in fixed position on the support as above explained. Maximum advantages from the standpoint of inconspicuousness lare obtained by mounting the entire mechanism within the support so that the hearing aid is entirely self-contained. no part of it is worn separately upon any portion of the body below the head and no conductors of electricity extend from the support to any external device.

While I have shown and described a present preferred embodiment of the invention it is to be distinctlyunderstood that the invention is not limited thereto but may be otherwise variously embodied within the scope of the following claim.

I claim: A

A hearing aid comprising a' support adapted to be worn in substantially xed position on the headv of the user and havingV the general configuration of a spectacle frame, the support having a hollow bridge portion positioned to lie above the nose, means for converting sound vibrations into electrical impulses, said means having a sound vibration receiving portion carried in xed position within the hollow bridge portion so that movement'of the wearers head correspondingly moves said sound vibration receiving portion, a sound reproducer carried by the support near the ear of the user and connections between said means and the sound reproducer whereby the electrical impulses produced by said means in turn produce audible sounds in the sound Vreproducer, the connections being disposed within the support so as to be invisible from without.


' REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the le of this patent:`

. UNITED STATES PATENTS 541,226 Great Britain NOV. 18, 1941

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U.S. Classification381/327, 381/162, 338/67, 351/158, 200/52.00R, D16/309, 351/124, 351/83
International ClassificationH04R25/00, G02C11/06
Cooperative ClassificationH04R25/606, G02C11/06
European ClassificationH04R25/60D1, G02C11/06