US 2802214 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
(8- 1957 T. e. HANKS EAR-ENVELQPING CUPS Filed July.l5, 1954 INVENTOR. TAP/F7 6. HAA/A/S BY- WMZM 2,802,214 EAR-ENVELOPING curs Thrift G. Hanks, Seattle, Wash., assignor to Boeing Airplane Company, Seattle, Wash., a corporation of Delaware i I T Application July 15, 1954, Serial No. 443,657
3 Claims. c1.2-209 The present invention pertains to a cup for enveloping an ear which has. particular value for use by aircraft personnel, although it may be used advantageously by others. V The. principal object of the ear-enveloping cup is efiectively to mufile sounds of high intensity such as produced by airplane engines, particularly of the jet type, or other loud noises, for example, riveting or artillery percussion.
It is a further object to accomplish such sound mufiling with the least possible discomfort to the car. over which the cup. is placed.
Anincidental object is to construct the ear-enveloping cup so that it can house the earphone of a radio receiving set if desired. 1
Upon cursory consideration it would appear that the objects mentioned above could be achieved quite readily, but this presumption is contrary to experience. The ear is an organ not only sensitive to sound, but also quite sensitive to cold and to sustained pressure. Moreover, the auditory organism responds in substantialmeasure not only to sound waves entering the auditory canal of the ear, butalso to su'chwaves as impinge upon the head about the baseof'theear and travel through the head by bone conduction.
Ametho'd frequentlyused for muffiing the ear against the efiects of high intensity sound has been to plug the opening into the auditory canal either with wadding or with. a solid plug, such as of rubber. In order to fit these plug's tightly in the canal opening, they were tapered inwardly, and when forced into place would exert a distending force on the canal opening which became quite uncomfortable, particularly if continued over a long period. If a helmet or cap is placed over such a plugged ear andfits sufliciently tightly to press against the plug, the distending pressure is increased and the discomfort aggravated.
To protect cars from cold it has been the practice to coverthein with flat, padded ear muifs which pressed the external ear rim, composed of thehelix and anti-helix, against the head. Whilethi s' con'tact with the head promoted theiwarmth of the ear, such pressure, when prolonged, became very uncomfortable.
More specifically, therefore, it is an object of the present invention to mufiie the ear and keep it warm while exerting on it a minimum of pressure, and such pressure is exerted in a manner and on portions of the ear which are not appreciably uncomfortable even when maintained for an extended period. Particularly such pressure is applied only to the tragus of the ear and to a degree just sufficient to fold the tragus firmly over the opening or mouth of the auditory canal to close it. Moreover, such pressure preferably is applied by soft, resilient material.
The several objects enumerated above can be accomplished by placing over the external ear an ear-enveloping cup of soft, resilient material, such as foam plastic, which has in its surface adjacent to the head a cavity with a reniform opening generally corresponding to the ice shape of the ear helix and lobe. cavity, including the opening, is of an extent to pass the helix of the ear without deformation, and of a depth to receive the helix and anti-helix without exerting pressure on them.;' A peninsular projection at the. anterior side of the cavitys periphery is disposed to overlie and engage the tragus with suflicient pressure, when the rim of the cup is pressed against the head at the base of the ear, to fold the tragusover the opening of the auditory canal and close it. Moreover, the. perimeter of the cut is suliiciently large to provide a rim of substantial width between the outer edge of the cup and the opening or mouth of its cavity for covering the principal area of the head bone most able to transmit sounds by conduction to the auditory organism.
A preferred form of ear enveloping cup having the general characteristics discussed above is shown in the accompanying drawings.
Figure 1 is a posterior perspective view of the earenveloping cup showing principally its inner side which would be placed adjacent to the head.
Figure 2 is a side elevation view of a persons head on which is fitted a helmet of a type suitable for holding the cup of Figure 1 in ear-enveloping position and having parts broken away to reveal the persons ear, but showing in phantom the position which the ear-enveloping cup would occupy relative to the ear when held in place by the helmet.
Figure 3 is a horizontal sectional view through an earenveloping cup and the portion of the helmet supporting it, as it would appear in place on the head of a person when viewed on line 3--3 of Figure 2, a portion of the head-structure being broken away.
Figure 4 is a vertical sectional view through the earenveloping cup and the portion of the helmet supporting it as it would appear in use when viewed along line 4-4 of Figure 2, a portion of the person's head being broken away.
The ear-enveloping cup shown in the drawings is illustratedv without any radio receiver incorporated in it, and in Figure 1 it is shown as a unit which may be held in place in ear-enveloping position by any suitable device, such as the aviators helmet H of conventional general contour, which is shown in Figure 2. The ear-enveloping cup 1 preferably is formed of unitary construction of soft, resilient material having sound absorbing properties, such asfoam plastic. Thus the ear-enveloping cup can be molded into the appropriate shape.
As shown in Figure 2, the external perimeter of the cup I greatly exceeds the peripheral extent of the ear-receiving cavity 2. Such proportioning provides a wide rim 3 completely encircling the ear-receiving cavity and engageable with the head about the base of the ear. As shown in Figures 1, 3 and 4, this rim may have in it a shallow groove 4 providing head-engaging ridges at its opposite sides to afford more intimate contact with the head and to provide somewhat of a suction cup engagement to improve the seal between the rim and the head. Such rim is of a Width to cover the principal portion of the sound conduction bone around the ear to deter transmission of sound to the hearing organism by bone conduction. As shown in Figure 2, at least the major portion of such rim is of a width exceeding the average width of the cavity 2.
From the anterior portion of the cup rim projects the peninsular projection 5 of a size and profile, as indicated in Figure 2, substantially corresponding to the size and profile of the ear tragus. Moreover, the height of such projection above the bottom of the ear-receiving cavity 2 is such that, when the rim 3 of the cup 1 is pressed against the head adjacent to the base of the ear, the pro- The periphery of suchv jection will bend the tragus over the opening to the auditory canal and press it lightly, but firmly, against the rim of such opening so as to close it. The tragus itself thus acts as a barrier to the entrance of sound waves into the auditory canal, as well as the wall thickness of the cup between the bottom of the ear-receiving cavity 2 and the exterior of the cup. Although such pressure is positive, the sponge plastic of the cup body is soft and resilient and will conform to the shape of the tragus. Pressure of this type on the tragus has proven not to be uncomfortable, although sustained for long periods.
The reniform conformation of the cup cavity 2 and its depth is such that no appreciable pressure is exerted on other parts of the car, as shown clearly in Figures 2, 3 and 4. Thus Figure ,2 shows that the profile of the ear-receiving cavity, including its opening or mouth, is of such size as to pass the helix and lobe of the ear without pressure on them. although the profile of the cavity conforms generally to these parts, so as to embrace the ear reasonably closely to afford a rim 3 of maximum width of given external size and shape. Preferably the periphery of the cavity 2 is substantially uniform from its opening or mouth approximately to the bottom of the cavity, and the cavity is sufliciently deep, as shown in Figures 3 and 4, so that the ear helix and anti-helix have no appreciable pressure placed on them and probably will not even be engaged either by the periphery or by the bottom of the cavity. Thus the cavity may be said to have a peripheral extend and shape substantially as great as and substantially corresponding to the shape of an ear helix and a depth from the cavity mouth substantially as great as the projection of the ear from the head.
To provide an ear-receiving cavity of the type described and a wide rim while enabling the exterior of the cup to be of a convenient uniform shape, the ear-enveloping cup as a whole may be of substantially ellipsoidal segment shape. The helmet H may then have a cavity 6 in it of complemental shape to engage and hold the cup in proper ear-enveloping position while enabling some positional adjustment between the cup and the helmet to accommodate the cup most appropriately to the car. It will be evident that the cups 1 can be custom molded to fit and receive most accurately the ears of the individual user just as the helmet will be selected for size to fit the head of a particular user. Also, the location of the cavity relative to the external surface, as well as its size and shape, can be chosen as dictated by the disposition of the users ear relative to the cup-receiving cavity 6 of the helmet when the helmet is in place on the user's head. Similarly, in molding or otherwise fabricating the cups, as well as in designing the helmet H, provision can be made for mounting a small earphone in the cup, such as in the projection 5, which will enable the user to hear sounds from the earphone, despite occlusion of the auditory canal by tragal pressure, at least as clearly as if the auditory canal were open, although external sounds are mufiled.
I claim as my invention:
1. An ear-enveloping cup comprising a solid body of soft, resilient material having an ear-receiving cavity of generally reniform shape and of a size to receive the helix of an ear, said body having a surface extending from such cavity to the periphery of said body and engageable with the side of the head around the ear, and said body having a projection having an edge spaced from the lower and rear walls of such ear-receiving cavity to be disposed forwardly of the ear antitragus when said body surface is thus engaged with the side of the head, said projection extending into such ear-receiving cavity generally centrally between the top and bottom of the cavity at the front thereof to engage the outer surface of the ear tragus, and of a size sutficiently small as to avoid bearing appreciably on the antitragus, and said projection extending to a sufficient height and being of sufficiently firm material to press the tragus into a position closing the auditory canal.
2. The ear-enveloping cup defined in claim 1, in which the body surface extending from the cavity to the periphery of the body and engageable with the side of the head around the ear has in it a shallow groove disposed inwardly from the body periphery and extending continuously around such surface for effecting sealing contact of such surface with the portion of the wearers head engaged by such surface.
3. An ear-enveloping cup comprising a solid body of soft, resilient material having an ear-receiving cavity of generally reniform shape, of a width and length at least as great as the corresponding width and length of an ear and of a depth at least as great as the projection of such an car from the head, and said body having a surface extending from such cavity to the periphery of said body and engageable with the side of the head around the ear,'said cavity having a re-entrant front wall portion defining a projection having an edge spaced from the lower and rear walls of such ear-receiving cavity to be disposed forwardly of the ear antitragus when said body surface is thus engaged with the side of the head, said projection extending into such ear-receiving cavity generally centrally between the top and bottom of the cavity at the front thereof to engage the outer surface of the ear tragus, and of a size sufiiciently small as to avoid bearing appreciably on the antitragus, and said projection extending to a sufficient height and being of sufficiently firm material to press the tragus into a position closing the auditory canal.
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