|Publication number||US3130810 A|
|Publication date||Apr 28, 1964|
|Filing date||Jun 27, 1961|
|Publication number||US 3130810 A, US 3130810A, US-A-3130810, US3130810 A, US3130810A|
|Inventors||Mack M. Werner|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (10)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
April 28, 1964 M M. WERNER DISPOSABLE EAR TIP COVERS FOR STETHOSCOPES Filed June 27, 1961 FIG.
INVENTOR. MACK M. WERNER BY 4/ 0 Fmy n, 510M 5 1! ATTO R N EYS United States Patent M 3,130,810 DISPOSABLE EAR TIP COVERS FOR STETHOSCOPES Mack M. Warner, 1865 Great: Ave, Brooklyn 30, NY. Filed June 27, 1961, Ser. No. 119,999 1 Claim. (Cl. 181-44) The present invention relates to a cover for the ear tip of a stethoscope, and more particularly to a thin, soft, disposable ear tip cover that forms an effective barrier to germs or infectious bacteria.
It is common practice in hospitals, medical centers and clinics throughout the country for stethoscopes kept in examination rooms to be shared by more than one doctor or nurse. A stethoscope or series of s-tethoscopes are usally provided for examination rooms and are placed in examination rooms in handy locations. When a doctor wishes to examine a patient, it is thus not necessary for him to provide his own stethoscope or to bring one to the examination room; he merely takes one off a wall rack or similar location in the examination room uses it and replaces it in its former location.
Recently it has been discovered that the high incidence of furuncles and staphylococcus infections in the ears of doctors is caused by transmission of disease bacteria from one doctors ear to another through the ear tips of stethoscopes which are shared among several doctors. In hospitals where large medical staffs are in attendance, the problem of troublesome and even serious ear infection among the doctors has frequently reached large proportions.
The present invention was made in an effort to solve the problem of ear infections among hospital medical staffs in an effective, efiicient, and inex ensive manner. A number of different materials were tried as possible disposable ear tip covers for stethoscopes, but it was found that only soft rubber, or a material having the characteristics of soft rubber, were suitable. Most plastics tried were found to be too hard and not sufficiently resilient. Soft rubber was finally settled uponas having the most desirable qualities.
It is believed that the ear of a doctor or nurse is made more susceptible to infection through the irritation that is perforce produced when the hard ear tip of a stethoscope is partially inserted into the opening of the ear canal to listen to a patients heartbeat or breathing. When these hard car tips are inserted and removed many times during the day, the ear eventually becomes somewhat irritated and generally more susceptible to infection. Accordingly, it was desired to find a disposable ear tip cover that, in addition to acting as a barrier for disease bacteria, would serve to increase the comfort and reduce the irritation of stethoscope ear tips in the ears of a doctor.
In view of the foregoing, it is a primary object of this invention to provide a disposable cover for the car tips of stethoscopes that will completely cover the ear tip and act as a sanitay barrier against the transmission of disease germs or bacteria from the ear tip to the ear of the user of the stethoscope.
Another object of this invention is to provide a disposable cover for the ear tips of stethoscopes that will provide sufficient softness and resiliency to increase the comfort of the ear tip in the ear and greatly reduce the irritation produced by insertion of the ear tip at the opening of the ear canal.
Another object of this invention is to provide a disposable cover for the car tips of s-tethoscopes that will have an opening for effective transmission of sound through the stethoscope but that will also be small enough to avoid direct contact with the ear tip of the stethoscope.
Another object of this invention is to provide a disposable cover for the ear tips of stethoscopes that can be 3,130,810 Patented Apr. 28, 1964 quickly and easily placed on the ear tip of the stethoscope or removed therefrom.
Another object of this invention is to provide an ear tip cover for stethoscopes that is disposable, inexpensive to manufacture and easy to use.
Another object of this invention is to provide a disposable ear tip cover for stethoscopes that is both resilient and subject to being sterilized.
Another object of this invention is to provide a disposable ear tip cover for stethoscopes that is easy to put on and remove but that will stay in place in proper relative position with the stethoscope ear tip once it has been applied so that the listening hole in the stethoscope ear tip and in the cover will be aligned once the cover is snapped on the ear tip.
It is another object of this invention to provide a disposable ear tip cover for stethoscopes that is sufliciently elastic to accommodate the full range of size variation in stethoscope car tips regardless of the manufacturer or model of the stethoscope.
Broadly described, this invention comprises a resilient elastic cover for the ear tips of stethoscopes that fully covers the stethoscope ear tip to act as a barrier to disease germs or bacteria, that improves wearer comfort and reduces ear irritation, and that does not interfere with proper functioning of the stethoscope.
Additional objects and advantages of the invention will be set forth in part in the description that follows, and in part will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention, the objects and advantages being realized and attained by means of the instrumentalities and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claim.
The invention consists in the novel parts, constructions, arrangements, combinations, and improvements shown and described.
The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate one embodiment of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.
Of the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the stethoscope ear tip cover forming the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevation of the stethoscope ear tip cover;
FIG. 3 is a central vertical section of the cover taken along the line 33 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the cover showing how it is used in combination with the ear tip of a stethoscope.
It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory but are not restrictive of the invention.
Reference will now be made in detail to the present preferred embodiment of the invention, an example of which is illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
In accordance with the invention, means are provided for covering the ear tip of a stethoscope that will act as a barrier to disease germs and bacteria and prevent such germs and bacteria from being transferred from the ear tip of a stethoscope to the ear of a user of the stethoscope.
In accordance with the invention, means are also provided to cover the ear tip of a stethoscope in a manner that will make the stethoscope more comfortable and less irritating to the ear of the user but that will nevertheless have no adverse effect upon the functioning of the stethoscope.
As embodied, and as shown in FIG. 1, the means for providing the foregoing cover for the ear tip of a stethoscope comprises a resilient and elastic cover, preferably formed from soft rubber. This cover is generally des gnated 10 in the drawings. The cover 10 comprises a main body 12, a necked down portion 14 and a flared skirt portion 16.
As can best been seen in FIG. 4, the main body portion 12 surrounds the bulbous portion 13 of the stethoscope ear tip 17 when the cover is in place. The necked down portion '14 generally fits over the rim or flange 15 at the base of the stethoscope ear tip which in general practice appears on most stethoscope car tips. The flared skirt portion 16 extends below the bottom of the stethoscope ear tip 17, insuring that the ear tip 17 itself is completely encased in the cover.
For ease in putting on and removing the cover from the ear tip 17 of the stethoscope, the flared skirt portion 16 is provided with a finger tab 18. By grasping the finger tab 18 of the cover between the thumb and forefinger, a user may very easily and readily either put on or remove the cover 10 from the ear tip 17 of a stethoscope.
In FIG. 4, it can be seen that the opening 21? in the cover 10 is smaller in diameter than the opening 22 in the ear tip of the stethoscope itself. ,This reduction of the diameter of the opening 2t) over that of the opening of the ear tip itself is an important feature of the invention. The reduced diameter opening 2% of the cover insures that even if the cover is not perfectly centered on the ear tip of the stethoscope, the hole in the cover will nevertheless line up sufiiciently with the hole 22 in the ear tip 17 of the stethoscope to provide proper functioning of the stethoscope. At the same time, the smaller opening 20 in the ear tip cover insures that no portion of the stethoscope ear tip itself will protrude through the cover to permit transmission of disease, genus or bacteria to the ear of the user.
As described above, soft rubber has been found to be an ideal material from which to construct the stethoscope ear tip cover of the present invention. Soft rubber is sufiiciently elastic to accommodate the full range of size variation found in stethoscope ear tips. Yet, even when used over the largest size ear tips, a cover of the present invention made from soft rubber will preserve enough resiliency, even though stretched, to remain soft, comfortable, and non-irritating in the ear of the user.
The soft rubber ear tip covers of the present invention have a further great advantage when used on stethoscope car tips in that the natural pliability and resilience of the soft rubber makes the ear tip conform more closely to the configuration of the opening of the ear canal of the user to provide a better seal against unwanted noise entering the ear canal when the stethoscope is in use. i
The ear tips of stethoscopes have been made for years from hard rubber because of the necessity of having them hold up in constant use. Thus, even though soft rubber would provide a better and more practical ear tip cover from almost every standpoint except durability, the need for the other prefer-able characteristics has had to be compromised in the interests of producing a durable stethoscope.
By providing disposable soft rubber ear tip covers the present invention in addition toproviding a method of insuring that the stethoscope will be sanitary in use provide the other advantages which flow from the use of a softer more resilient material between the car tips of the stethoscope and the ear of the user.
In use, a supply of the ear tip covers of the present invention may be provided next to any stethoscope which will be shared by a number of doctors. The doctors can be quickly trained not to use the stethoscope until they have placed covers on the car tips or until they have replaced existing covers with fresh ones. The ear tip covers of the present invention are formed in a simple and economical design and make use of a well-known fairly economical material so that they may be removed from the ear tips of the stethoscope and disposed of after each use.
The stethoscope ear tip covers of the present invention provide a solution to the problem of the spread of ear infections among doctors .and at the same time serve to make the use of stethoscopes more comfortable and efiicient.
The invention in its broader aspects is not limited to the specific mechanisms shown and described, but also includes within the scope of the accompanying claim any departures made from such mechanisms which do not depart from the principles of the invention and which do not sacrifice its chief advantages.
What is claimed is:
In a stethoscope construction of the type having a bulbous ear tip piece provided with an aperture in the top end thereof and a tubular member of substantially uniform diameter extending from the opposite base end of said ear tip piece, and a cover for said ear tip piece; the improvement of a cover comprising a one-piece, disposable, resilient, elastic cover detachably enveloping said bulbous ear tip piece in tight engagement therewith, said cover having a bulbous, thin-walled, flexible main body portion having one end open and one end closed, and conforming in configuration to the bulbous ear tip piece in tight fitting engagement therewith, said main body portion having a small aperture in the closed end thereof in registry with the aperture in said ear tip piece, a thinwalled, flexible, flared skirt portion integrally secured to the open end of said body portion forming a necked down portion of reduced diameter at the point of jointure, said necked down portion enveloping the base end of said ear tip piece in tight engagement, said skirt portion extending outwardly in flared relationship to said necked down portion and in spaced relation to said tubular portion, and a finger tab portion secured to said skirt portion to enable said cover to be pulled over the ear tip piece.
Hummert Oct. 13, 1959 Collins Sept. 19, 1961
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