US 3068954 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 18, 1962 c. w. sTRzALKowsKl HEARING AID APPARATUS AND METHOD Original Filed Sept. 8, 1952 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 0 IN V EN TUR. CHEAES W57e29u aws- Arraezvfv Dec. 18, 1962 c. w. sTRzALKowsKI 3,068,954
HEARING AID APPARATUS AND METHOD Original Filed Sept. 8, 1952 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Dec. 18, 1962 c. w. s'rRzALKowsKl 3,068,954
HEARING AID APPARATUS AND METHOD 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Original Filed Sept. 8. 1952 QM, @MAM United States Patent Ofi rp v Patented Dec. 18, 1962 714,298 11 Claims. (Cl. 181-23) This invention relates to hearing aid apparatus and method, particularly in connection with hearing aid ear piece mountings.
This application is a continuation of my application Ser. No. 308,444, led September 8, 1952 and now abandoned.
The invention is particularly directed to conveying sound inconspicuously to ear drum or other point of perception and accomplishing this result without reducing the ability of the wearer to receive directly from their source such sounds as he is capable of hearing.
In one embodiment of my invention, I provide for a coupling 4of two sound tube sections through a special hole provided through the external ear in immediate proximity to the external auditory canal. From this point, the sound may be conveyed indirectly through the external auditory canal to the ear drum by means of a plug or mold positioned within the canal, or sound may be directed toward the external auditory canal from an external point, and 'through another channel in the mold be carried directly to the ear drum. Even when a mold with an indirect electrical transmission is employed, I take pains to provide access to the external auditory canal for sound waves to reach the canal and ear drum, otherwise than through the electrical reproducing mechanism. In some forms of apparatus, I provide the mold or plug with separate passages for direct sound waves. In other forms, I provide a space around the outside of the mold or speaker for such access.
Either as av supplement to the connection of the sound tube through a special aperture in the outer ear, or as a separate feature, I may use temples or bows of specially built spectacles as a means of transmitting the sound waves or supporting portions, or all, of the hearing air apparatus. Further, i'or the concealment of such apparatus, I may incorporate it into spectacles or an imitation tobacco pipe in such fashion, if desired, that the sound is transmitted to the bone rather than through the auditory canal.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a side elevation of portions of the head and shoulder of the person wearing the hearing aid embodying my invention.
FIG. 2 is a detail View, principally in side elevation but partially in section showing in relatively separated positions the component parts of the hearing aid shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary detail view in section showing two parts of the sound channel connected through the special surgical conduit that has been made through the wearers ear.
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary posterior View showing the hearing aid applied to the rear of the wearers ear.
FIG. 5 is arfragmentary detail View in anterior section showing a special form of plug as it is incorporated in the external auditory canal.
FIG. 6 is a detail view partially in perspective and partially in section Showing the same mold or plug.
FIG. 7 is a view in side elevation showing the external appearance of a'moditied type of mold which does not use or need the surgical approach.
VFIG'. 8 is a view on an enlarged scale taken in section on line 8 8 of FIG. 7 showing two of the direct external auditory canal.
sound conduits which are disposed at vantage points peripherally spaced around the channel of the indirect electrical conduit.
FIG. 9 is a detail view in posterior cross section showing a modiiication wherein the mold may be terminated anywhere in the external ear. From its distal end then the sounds would be carried directly by air waves to the ear drum.
FIG. 10 is a detail view partially in side elevation and partially in section showing a telescopically yieldable connection between the reproducer and the sound conduit, this being a modification of the device disclosed in FIGS. l and 2.
FIG. 11 shows in fragmentary perspective the use of a spectacle temple or bow in conjunction with a sectional sound conduit such as that shown in FIGS. 2 and 3.
FIG. 12 fragmentarily illustrates in perspective a modified embodiment of FIG. ll.
FIG. 13 shows a further modified spectacle and hearing aid combination.
FIG. 14 is a view in side elevation showing a further modified embodiment of the invention. v
FIG. l5 is a View in rear elevation of the device shown in FIG. 14.
FIG. 16 fragmentarily illustrates in perspective a further modied spectacle and hearing aid combination.
FIG. 17 is a View on an enlarged scale taken in section online 1.7-17 of FIG. 16.
FIG. 18 is a view in axial section through a hearing aid organized to resemble a smoking pipe.
According to the embodiment shown in FIGS. l to 6, a mold 20 is made to iit into the external auditory canal 21 as shown in FIG. 5. This mold is so designed as to provide a free opening at 22 for air conducted sound waves in order that these may have direct access to the Opening into the side of the passage 22 desirably near the inner end thereof, is a conduit 23 for indirect electrically reproduced sound waves. This conduit enters through a lateral extension 24 of plug 20. Due in part to the opening 22, and to the fact that nothing is visible in the outer ear other than extension 24, the hearing aid is much less conspicuous than might be supposed from FIG. 1. The extension 24 is not only small but flesh-colored and tends to be quite largely obscured by the conformation of the wearers ear. This is particularly true in View of the fact that it does not lead outwardly Ibut leads to a point within the cavum conchae of the ear through which a special aperture is surgically provided at 25, as best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3.
While the perforated ear 26 forms no part of the pres-- ent invention, the means by which such aperture is made may be brielly described. The outer ear 26 is comprised of cartilage-perichondrium, subcutaneous tissue, and skin at 27, as shown in FIG. 3. Surgically, the conduit 25 has been made by folding back a ap of skin from the posterior surface of the ear, cutting out a piece of cartilage, replacing the skin over the opening and suturing it so that it heals adherently to the anterior skin. After healing time the tissue is pierced by cautery through the center of the opening, formed in the cartilage. This leaves an opening which is lined with skin and perichonlrium to protect the cartilage as is clearly shown in At the proximal end of extension 24, the conduit 23 terminates in a connection 28 desirably somewhat tapered, as in FIG. 3, to receive a correspondingly tapered terminal portion 29 of a male connector '30 which extends through the opening 2-5 in the outer ear 26. Connector 30 is mounted on a fitting 32 inconspicuously fitted to FIG. 4. This tting has a tubular lower connection 33 3 from which passage 34 leads through the iitting and its male connector portion 30, thereby communicating with passage 23 as best shown in FiG. 3. The opposing faces of fitting 32 and ear mold extension 24 constitute shoulders between which the perforated portion of the outer ear is disposed.
The reproducer 35 receives impulses in the usual way through the electrical wiring at 36. The reproducer may conveniently be provided with a snap fastener button 37 for which a snap fastener socket '38 is attached at any desired point to the users clothing 39. From the sound box 40 of the reproducer extends a tube 41, the end of which is sleeved on to stern 33 of tting 32 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 4. In order to keep tube 41 relatively straight, while at the same time accommodating movement of the wearers head, I may provide a light helical spring at 43 which encircles tube 41 and tends to retain it; but readily yields resiliently to permit it to be bent into an arc as shown in FIG. 2.
The arrangement described is one in which practically nothing of the hearing aid is visible other than tube 471, the sound box 35 being concealed within portions of the wearers clothing, the connection from the tube to the member 24 being made through the outer ear, and mem ber 24 lbeing almost invisible within the ear. The sound received by the wearer is of relatively high fidelity and, at the same time, is supplemented by such sound as directly reaches the ear drum. The passage 22 is not only open for the reception of air-transmitted sound but also tends to improve the quality of reception. It also provides for perception of sound direction.
FIG. 9 shows how the connection through the outer ear may 4be used without any mold inserted in the auditory canal. In this instance, the male stem Sti connects with an upright speaker element 24@ which is substituted for the part 24 as above described. The distal end of this upright has a concave sound reflector 4S directed toward the external auditory canal 21 and spaced laterally from the canal to provide an opening 220 through which air-transmitted sound waves can reach the external auditory canal. Speaker element 240 has a passage at 230 for discharging in the direction of the external auditory canal the sound waves transmitted through the tube system from the reproducer. r.This passage communicates with the passage 34 of titting 32 as above described.
An arrangement for admitting air-borne sound waves independently of those originating at the reproducer may be used with more conventional tubing organizations for conducting the sound from the reproducer. Thus, in FIGS. 7, 8, the tube 41 from the reproducer connects to a tube 411 which, instead of passing through a surgical aperture in the outer ear, extends over the ear in conventional fashion and is thrust into the tubular core 46 of a plug 201 which is integral with 'fitting 241 in the concha. `Qne or more openings at 221 between core 46 and plug 20^1 permit air-borne sound waves to enter the external auditory canal and they eliminate the development of any pressures within the external auditory canal such as are experienced when the external auditory canal is completely closed by a mold of the type with which the present hearing aid reproducers are ordinarily equipped.
FlG. l shows a special reproducer connection which may lbe substituted for the coil shown at 43 in FIG. 2. In FIG. l0, the reproducer is generally the same as that above described, but the outlet from its sound chamber is upwardly directed at 47 and has an exten sion tube 48 within which a head 49 on conduit 41 has a sliding lit, whereby the overall distance between the reproducer and the connection to the wearers ear is varied by telescopic movement of the ends of conduit 41 within tubular extension 48. This is made practical by reason of the fact that the plug in the external auditory canal does not seal or stop the end of the canal, the latter remaining open to the atmosphere as by the passage 22 75 in FIG. 5 or the opening 2213 in FIG. 9 or the passages 221 in FIGS. 7 and 8.
FIGS. 14 and l5 disclose an arrangement in which the reproducer is rendered inconspicuous by making it in the form of an earring 356 held to the lobe of the wearers ear by a clamp 376 and connected by the short length of tube 416 with the posterior fitting v32 above described. In such a device, all that is visible is the inconspicuous mold 24, the earring 356 in which the reproducer is built, and the wiring 36 from the amplifier.
In order to provide a fixed reference point for that portion of the hearing aid which is positioned in or upon the wearers ear, I may employ the wearers spectacles as suggested in FIGS. 1l to 13 and 16 and 17. In the construction shown in FIG. ll, there is nothing unconventional about the spectacles except the fact that the temple or bow i is provided at its rear end with a short length of tubing7 51 which may pass through it, if desired, `being provided at 332 with a tubular portion projecting to receive connection with sound tube 411 and being provided at 302 with angularly arranged male connector adapted to project through an opening in the outer ear and in all respects to perform the same function as the corresponding part 30 in FIG. 2 and FIG. 3. The arrangement and connections of the reproducer and the two arms of the ear mold may be identical with the disclosure in FIGS. l to 6.
FIG. 12 suggests how the tube 41 can be dispensed with, the end portion of the temple or bow 503 of the spectacles having the reproducer 35 mounted directly thereto to lie behind the outer ear in direct communication through the conduit S13 with the male connector 363. In this arrangement, the only externally visible part of the reproducer is the wiring at 36. The two arms of the mold 24 and 2u within the outer ear and the external auditory canal will be as shown and described above in connection with FIGS. l to 6.
In the device shown in FIG. 13, the microphone 55 is mounted on the spectacle bridge 56 and wired to the batteries S7, 5S in temple 59 and to a volume control and switch 66 and amplifier 61 in temple 62. The reproducer 354 is located at the end of temple 62 and has a male connector 3-@4 projecting at an angle to penetrate the surgical aperture in the outer ear for connection with arms 24 and 2t), within the outer ear and external auditory canal as shown and described in connection with FIGS. 1 to 6. It will be observed that all of the parts ot this hearing aid device are either in the ear or built into or carried upon the spectacles, thus requiring no microphone or wiring to any other part of the body. In this device, as in all previously described embodiments, one or both sides of the outer ear are engaged by the faces or shoulders of portions of the appliance, the tubular connecting parts being telescopically engaged with one or both of them passing through the outer ear.
Where the hearing aid microphone, amplifier, battery and controls are thus built into the spectacles, it is also possible to transmit sound from the reproducer 355- directly into the bone of the head, as shown in FIGS. 16 and 17. The wall 66 is held by the temple 65 in direct contact with that portion 67 of the wearers head which lies directly behind the ear and which is hard enough to transmit readily through the bone of the skull the vibrations developed by the voice coil 68 in attracting the armature 69.
FIG. 18 suggests an arrangement in which a complete hearing aid is built into a simulated tobacco pipe having a bowl portion 7d, a stem portion 71 and a bit 72. The microphone 556 is built into the mouth of the bowl portion 70. The amplifier 616 is built into the bowl. The volume control and switch 606 is built into the outer end of the stern in front of the bowl. the B battery 586 and the A battery 576 are located within the stem 71 and a tubular plug is at 73 within the stem carries a relatively heavy armature 74. The voice coils 75 are in proximity to the armature to establish vibrations therein which are readily perceptible in the bit and transmitted therefrom by direct conduction through the teeth and jaws of `the user.
1. In a hearing aid of the character described for use with a surgically perforated outer ear, the combination of male and female conduit elements adapted for telescopic connection, one of said elements comprising a tting adapted to have its major portion posteriorly of the outer ear and the other comprising a fitting adapted to have its major portion within the outer ear, both said iittings having portions materially larger than the male conduit element and having opposed surfaces spaced by substantially the thickness of the outer ear to receive the outer ear between them and to abut the ear at opposite sides of said perforation, said fittings having complementary passages for providing a continuous conduit through the ear perforation upon connection of said elements.
2. Thedevice of claim 1, in which said other tting element comprises a plug adapted to be iitted in the auditory canal of the ear, and a lateral extension of said plug adapted to extend along the concha of the ear toward said perforation, said plug and extension having connecting channels for communicating with said conduit to convey sound to the auditory canal.
3. The device of claim 1 in which the iitting of said one element comprises a spectacle temple adapted to t behind the outer ear and from which said one conduit element projects forwardly.
4. A hearing aid device adapted for attachment to an ear having an apertured posterior outer ear portion and comprising in combination, a reproducer having a sound transmitting conduit with a terminal fitting for extending behind the apertured posterior portion of the outer ear, an ear plug comprising a sound transmitting conduit, said plug including a first portion engaging the ear in such a position as to direct sound from said second named conduit into the auditory canal of the ear and a second portion for extending toward said ear aperture, said terminal fitting being adapted to lie at the opposite side of the ear aperture from the terminal fitting of the reproducer conduit, and means for interconnecting said terminal fittings through said ear aperture.
5. The device of claim 4 in which one of said fittings comprises a hollow tube which is adapted to extend through said ear aperture and the other fitting comprises a hollow tube adapted to be telescopically received over said irst named tube.
6. The device of claim 5 in which both said fittings have shoulders adapted for engagement with the ear at opposite sides of the aperture to anchor the fittings to the ear.
7. In a hearing aid device adapted for use by a person having his outer ear provided with an aperture laterally proximate to his inner ear opening, said device comprising an ear plug for said opening having a lateral inlet extension leading to said plug from the vicinity of the outer ear aperture and communicating through said plug with the inner ear opening, and a sound transmitting conduit extending through said outer ear aperture and in telescopic sleeved connection with said inlet extension and having a sound reproducer connection with said conduit for communicating sound through the outer ear aperture and said extension to the inner ear of the wearer.
8. The device of claim 7 in which said extension and conduit have frictionally engaged complementary parts whereof at least one is provided with a shoulder in engagement with `the outer ear.
9. The device of claim 7 in further combination with a spectacle temple to which the sound reproducer connection is attached.
10. The device of claim 7 in which the sound reproducer connection is mounted on said conduit to be supported thereby directly behind the outer ear.
11. The device of claim 7 in further combination With an earring having means for connecting it to the lobe of the ear and to which earring said sound reproducer connection is attached.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 113,031 Edge Mar. 28, 1871 229,581 Boning July 6, 1880 2,207,705 Cox July 16, 1940 2,312,534 Fiene Mar. 2, 1943 2,377,739 Wyckoi June 5, 1945 2,506,116 Starkey May 2, 1950 2,506,490 Coley May 2, 1950 2,738,850 Tooker Mar. 20, 1956 2,739,660 French Mar. 27, 1956