US 2977425 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 28, 1961 I. H. COLE HEARING AID Filed Sept. 14, 1959 [WA-1220f //PA///1/ h. 0014 50am $7dwm iwekajfl HEARING AID Irwin H. Cole, 926 Elm Place, Glencoe, Ill.
Filed Sept. 14, 1959, Ser. No. 839,629
Claims. (Cl. 179-107) The present invention relates generally to a smoking pipe hearing aid and more particularly to an acoustic smoking pipe apparatus wherein a single unit functions as a tobacco pipe and also as a self-contained hearing aid utilizing osseous or bone conduction, i.e., conversion of sound waves to mechanical vibrations which are transmitted through the teeth and bone structure of the head to .the auditory organs.
While bone conduction is a very eifective method of aiding certain types of faulty hearing, it is usually quite diflicult or inconvenient to get good contact between a means for transmitting vibrations and a suitable bone. One method which has been employed to meet this problem is to provide a device which is gripped in the teeth, and along those lines there have been several prior attempts to provide hearing aids in the form of pipes which rely on osseous conduction. However, because of certain ditlieulties involved the known form of hearing aid pipes were not capable of being smoked and the dummy pipe served only as a disguise for part of a hearing aid. Also, of even greater importance the prior pipe hearing aids were not entirely satisfactory for their intended purpose and, therefore, were generally not accepted commercially.
Accordingly, the principal object of the present invention is to provide in a single compact and easy-to-handle unit a functional smoking pipe which is also an effective but inconspicuous hearing aid.
A further object is to provide such a hearing aid which can be used and handled in the manner of an ordinary smoking pipe without adversely affecting its hearing aid function.
Another object is to provide such a device wherein the microphone and mechanical vibrator are located along the stem of the pipe in spaced relation to avoid intereference between and to position each for more effective operation.
A still further object is to provide a pipe hearing aid in which the smoking portion of the pipe is separated from the hearing aid components so that tobacco, dirt, saliva and heat from the smoking portion do not adversely effect the operation of the hearing aid components.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description and accompanying drawings of one preferred embodiment thereof.
In the drawings: v
Figure l is a longitudinal sectional view of an acoustical smoking pipe embodying some of the features of the invention.
Figure 2 is a sectional view taken along line 2-2 of Figure 1.
Figure 3 is a side view of the bowl, the stem, and the bit (partially broken away) as assembled. I V
Figure 4 is a bottom view of the lower housing of the pipe stem.
Figure 5 is a sectional view taken along line 5-5 of Figure 4.
atent Figure 6 is an enlarged fragmentary view, partly in section, of the structure in Figure 1.
Briefly, the present invention is a smoking pipe hearing aid which serves the dual function of being a usable tobacco smoking pipe as well as a bone conduction hearing aid.
In the illustrated embodiment of the invention the smoking pipe hearing aid is comprised of a bowl 7, an elongated stem 9, and a short bit 11 sequentially joined together. As shown in Figure 1, the bowl 7 is suitable for smoking tobacco and is connected to the front end of the elongated stem 9. The stem 9 is made up to two elongated, parallelly oriented portions.
The upper housing portion 13 which supports the bowl 7 at its front end is comprised of a frame 14 which supports both several integrally connected sections and a separate elongated hollow tube 33. That tube 33 has an internal passageway 17 which extends the entire length of the stem 9 and connects with the bowl 7 of the pipe to accommodate the flow of smoke from the bowl. The lower housing portion 15 of the stem is separably'connected to the underside of the upper housing portion 13 and holds an electrical hearing aid unit 19 which picks up sound waves and changes them to mechanical vibrations. The microphone 43 of the electrical unit is mounted on foam rubber to reduce case noise and is located at the front of the stem farthest from the output 21 of the unit to combat interference such as electrical put 21 of the electrical unit 19 through the upper housing portion 13 and lower portion 15 of the stern so as to receive the vibrations therefrom. An elongated internal passageway 23 extends the full length of the 'bit. When the bit is connected with the stem the two passageways 17 and 23 form one continuous passageway for the smoke to travel from the bowl to the mouth 'of the smoker.
More particularly, in the embodiment of the inven-' tion shown in the drawings, the bowl 7 is a vertically oriented, generally cylindrically-shaped, hollow standard smoking pipe bowl. At the lower end of the bowl 'its external diameter is reduced and it is externally threaded so as to screw into a mating internally threaded pan 28 in the front end of the upper portion 13 of the stem.
The stem 9, illustrated in Figures 1 and 3, is an elon-L parallelly oriented separable portions. The upper housing portion 13 is made gated member comprised of two up of the separate elongated tube 33 and a generally elongated casting of aluminum or like material whichis comprised of the frame 14 supporting the pan 28 at its front end and supporting an annular, bit-receiving.
section 39 at its rear end. The pan 28 serves as a bottom for the cylindrical bowl 7.
The frame 14, which is' integrally connected to the; rear of the pan 28 supports the elongated tube 33. The: tube 33 defines the passageway 17 which extends. the full length of the stem 9, opening at its front end intothe pan 28 and at its rear end into a passageway 23 in the bit 11. The elongated tube '33- is preferably} grooved to increase its surface area and thus its ability to dissipate heat. Part of the frame 14 surrounding the tube might also be cut away to aid cooling of the tube, Also, the tube is located above the electrical unit so that heat from the tube will rise away from the unit.
The frame holds the tube 33 spaced from the electrical components held in the lower housing of the stem in order to prevent tobacco, dirt, saliva or the heat given off by the tube from adversely affecting the operation of the electrical unit.
At the rear end of the upper housing portion 13 of the stem is an integrally connected annular or ring section 39 which extends downwardly therefrom and which has its axis parallel to, but below, the axis of the elongated tube 33. The annular section 39 is closely adjacent to a portion of the mechanically vibrating output 21 and aids in locating, securing, and acoustically connecting the output 21 to the bit 11 which is fitted into the ring 39. There are four vertical, internally threaded holes 41 in the upper portion 13 of the stem, two at the front and two toward the rear, which receive screws (not shown) which pass through four matching holes 44 in the lower portion 15 of the stem thereby removably securing it to the upper portion 13. The mechanical vibrating output 21 is located to the rear of the rearmost two screws, between them and the bit 11, so as to avoid any dampening effect of the screws.
The lower housing portion 15 of the stem, as seen in Figures 1 to 5, is an elongated hollowed-out casting of aluminum or a like material which is open at the top and has several holes through its bottom surface (the functions of which will be explained below). As described above, and illustrated in Figure 1, the lower housing portion 15 is detachably secured to the underside of the upper housing portion 13 of the stem so that the two lie parallel to one another. The lower housing portion 15 holds the electrical unit 19 which changes sound waves to mechanical vibrations, with the microphone 43 at the front end and with the output 21 located at the rear end of the stem. A pair of small plates and 40 of Bakelite or like material are attached to the lower housing 15 to assist in securing the electrical unit 19 in position. Several small elements 42 attached to the plates 40 and 40' and to the lower housing also assist in securing various components of the unit.
The unit 19 includes conventional components used in transistor type hearing aids. Briefly, the microphone 43 located beneath the bowl at the front of the stem picks up the sound waves and converts them to electrical waves. The forward location of the microphone 43 is preferred as it avoids interference and places the microphone at the point in the device closest to the sound source. The microphone is cushioned with foam or similar soft rubber to eliminate pick-up of mechanical vibrations from the output. The electrical waves are amplified by a transistor-amplifier 45, powered by a miniature battery 47 and including an interstage transformer 49, which amplifier is connected to the microphone. The transducer or vibrator which serves as the output 21 of the hearing aid is connected to the output of the amplifier and converts the electrical waves into mechanical vibrations. The vibrator preferably vibrates perpendicular to the axis of the stem. It is mechanically fixed to the rear end of the lower housing portion 13 closest to the user so as to more effectively transmit the vibrations through the stem and bit to said user. There is a small hole 53 through the bottom surface of the lower housing portion 15 of the stem at its front end directly adjacent the microphone 43 which allows for free passage of sound waves to the microphone 43 as well as aiding to ventilate the pipe. Located between the microphone 43 and the amplifier and also at the front of the stem is a volume control and off-on switch 55 which is operated by a knob 57 which extends vertically downward from the switch 55 through a hole 53 in the bottom surface of the lower housing 15. Thus, the pipe can be handled as an ordinary smoking pipe and the hearing aid can be regulated or shut off without the necessity of touching the rear portion of the pipe where the output vibrator 21 is located and which would dampen the vibrations being transmitted. The greatest amount of heat is generated in the bottom of the bowl at the front ofthe pipe and there is less and less heat as you move'rearward. Accordingly, as shown particularly in Figure 1, the components of the electrical unit most susceptible to heat are placed toward the rear end of the pipe.
The bit 11, which is a relatively short member, has the rear end of the elongated tube 33 press fitted into its front end. Then that front end is itself press fitted into the annular section 39 of the upper portion of the stem. A method utilizing prior freezing of the parts may be used to accomplish this press fit. The bit 11 is tapered toward its rear end to form a suitable mouth piece for gripping between the smolzers teeth.
With reference particularly to Figure 6, it will be noted that the output vibrator 21 includes a movable elemeat 68 which is responsive to the electrical signal transmitted through the transistor-amplifier and thereby caused to strike an anvil plate 62 on the lower housing 15. The resulting vibrations are carried through lower housing 15, upper housing 13, the ring 39, and the bit 11 to the teeth of the user.
In order to provide for easy replacement of the battery 47, the lower housing 15 is preferably provided with a side opening 64 and the battery is mounted in a pivotable frame 66 (Fig. 2) which may he swung outwardly of the housing to afford access to the battery.
The specific details of the illustrated embodiment may obviously be varied without departing from the broader scope of the present invention.
Features of the invention believed novel and patentablc are set forth in the following claims.
1. A hearing aid adapted to transmit vibrations through the teeth of the user, comprising a smoking pipe having a bowl, an elongated stem, and a bit portion to be gripped between the teeth of the user, said elongated stem includ ing an upper housing portion and a lower housing portion. the upper housing portion including a passageway providing communication between said bowl and said bit, the lower housing portion having therein an electrical unit for receiving sound waves and converting same into chanical vibrations, said electrical unit including a microphone located forwardly along said stem and a mechanical vibrator located rearwardly of said stem adjacent to said bit, whereby the vibrations produced in response to the sound waves picked up by said microphone are transmitted through said bit to the teeth of the user.
2. A hearing aid adapted to transmit vibrations through the teeth of the user, comprising a smoking pipe having a bowl, an elongated stem, and a bit portion to be gripped between the teeth of the user, said elongated stem including an upper housing portion and a lower housing portion. the upper housing portion supporting said bowl at its forward end and including a passageway providing communication between said bowl and a communicating passage through said bit, the lower housing portion being detachably secured to said upper housing portion and having therein an electrical hearing aid unit for receiving sound waves and converting same into mechanical vibrations, said electrical hearing aid unit including a micro phone located forwardly along said stern and a mechani cal vibrator located rearwardly of said stern adjacent to said bit, said vibrator acting against said stem and the latter being closely fitted with said bit, whereby the vibrations produced in said stern are transmitted through said bit to the teeth of the user.
3. A smoking pipe hearing aid, comprising a bowl, an elongated stem connected to said bowl and a bit adapted to be gripped between the teeth of the user, said stem including an upper housing portion having an internal passage leading from said bowl to a communicating 'passageway in said bit, an adjustable electrical means positioned in said lower housing portion in spaced relation to said passage in said upper housing, said electrical means being adapted to receive and convert sound waves to mechanical vibrations, said lower housing portion including an opening therethrough adjacent the bowl end of said stem, said electrical means including a microphone positioned adjacent said opening in the lower housing and a mechanical vibrator positioned adjacent said bit in the rearward portion of said lower housing, and said bit being closely fitted with respect to said stem to receive therefrom the vibrations produced in said lower housing portion by said vibrator.
4. A smoking pipe hearing aid, comprising a bowl, an elongated stem connected to said bowl in rearwardly extending relation thereto, and a bit fixed to the rearward end of said stem and adapted to be gripped between the teeth of the user, said stem including an upper housing portion having an internal passage leading from said bowl to a communicating passageway in said bit, an adjustable electrical hearing aid unit positioned in said lower housing portion and operable to receive and convert sound waves received forwardly of said stem to mechanical vibrations at the rear of said stem, said lower housing portion ineluding an opening therethrough adjacent the forward end of said stem, said hearing aid unit including a microphone positioned adjacent said opening in the lower housing, an amplifier connected with said microphone, and a mechanical vibrator positioned adjacent the rearward portion of said lower housing which is operable to produce vibrations in said lower housing in response to sound waves picked up by said microphone, said upper housing including an annular section at its rearward end which receives said bit and which is integrally connected with the rear end of said upper housing which is in contact with the rearward portion of said lower housing, whereby the vibrations produced in said lower housing are transmitted through said upper housing, said annular section and said bit to the teeth of the user.
5. A hearing aid adapted to transmit vibrations through I the teeth of the user, comprising a smoking pipe having a how], an elongated stem supporting said bowl at the for- 1 ward end of said stem, and a bit portion-at the rear end a of said stem and adapted to be gripped between the teeth of the user, said stem including an upper housing portion and a lower housing portion, the upper housing portion including a passageway providing communication between said bowl and said bit, the lower housing portion being secured to said upper housing portion, an electric hearing aid unit for receiving sound waves and converting said waves into mechanical vibrations disposed in said lower housing portion and having its components References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,161,169 Iefien's June 6, 1939 2,167,377 Schwencke July 25, 1939 2,230,397 Abraham Feb. 4, 1941 2,439,459 Eddy Apr. 13, 1948 2,868,876 Ticchioni Jan. 13, 1959 2,896,024 Tommey Iu1y21, 1959 FOREIGN PATENTS 761,169 Great Britain Nov. 14, 1956