US 3157245 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 17, 1964 J. BERNSTEIN 3,157,245 HEARING AID TUBE ATTACHMENT Filed April 3, 1965 IN VEN TOR Jflm fife/yarn ITTOPNF) United States Patent 3,157,245 HEARING AID TUBE ATTACHMENT Jack Bernstein, 6315 E. 12th Ave., Denver 20, Colo. Filed Apr. 3, 1963, Ser. No. 270,297 Claims. (Cl. 181-23) This invention relates to an ear mold for hearing aids of the air conduction type. It is the present practice for the practitioner to make an impression of a patients external and internal ear and to form from that impression a transparent plastic ear piece which will fit snugly into the convolutions of external ear and the auditory canal and support the sound delivery extremity of a flexible plastic sound conveying tube leading to a sound producing element or speaker mounted externally of the ear. The tube acts to pneumatically conduct the sound vibrations from the speaker to the auditory canal of the ear. It is the present custom to cement the ear extremity of the tube in the ear piece to prevent the entrance or escape of air therefrom.
The ear pieces are not subject to deterioration or wear. The sound conveying tubes, however, are constantly flexed and bent and they deteriorate with age so as to require frequent renewal. The removal of the old tube from the ear piece has been a diflicult procedure due to the hardened cement which must be removed before a new tube can be cemented in place. It is usually necessary to return the ear piece to the factory for the drilling out the old tube. This is objectionable for the patient is deprived of use of the hearing aid during the replacement period.
The principal object of this invention is to provide means for mounting the sound conducting tube in a hearing aid ear piece which will eliminate the use of cement and which will enable the patient to quickly and easily remove a defective tube and replace it with a new one without recourse to the factory or dealer and without be ing deprived of use of the hearing aid.
For highly efiicient results, the most efiicient size of the orifice at the discharging extremity of the tube and the auditory canal must be pie-determined for each individual patient. At present, this requires drilling of a communicating opening in the ear piece to conduct the air pulsations from the conveying tube to the auditory canal. it" the opening is found to be too small, it can, of course, be reamed and enlarged but, if too large, a problem is presented usually requiring a remolding of the ear piece.
Another object of this invention is to provide means whereby a variety of communication openings can be quickly tried out upon the pati nt at a single sitting to determine the most efiicient opening size for that particular patient and which will enable the selected opening to be instantly installed in the ear piece without the necessity for shop, factory or laboratory work of any kind.
Other objects and advantages reside in the detail construction of the invention, which is designed for simplicity, economy, and efiiciency. hese will become more apparent from the following description.
In the following detailed description of the invention, reference is had to the accompanying drawing which forms a part hereof. Like numerals refer to like parts in all views of the drawing and throughout the description.
In the drawing:
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a typical ear hearing aid ear piece with this invention in place thereon;
FIG. 2 is an inside face view or" the ear piece of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary longitudinal section taken on the line 3-3, FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a magnified end view of the tube expanding bushing employed in this invention;
FIG. 5 is a similarly magnified side view of the bushing of FIG. 4;
PEG. 6 is a longitudinal section through the bushing,
3,157,245 Patented Nov. 17, 1964 taken on the line 66, FIG. 4, showing its relation to the cross section of the sound conveying tube;
FIG. 7 is a similar longitudinal section showing the bushing in place in the sound conducting tube;
FIG. 8 is an enlarged, fragmentary section, on the line 3-3, FIG. 1, showing the tube with its contained bushing in place in an ear piece;
FIG. 9 is a top view of a conventional hearing aid ear piece illustrating the manner of installing this invention therein, to be later described; and
FIG. 10 illustrates a tool for use in installing and removing the tube in and from the ear piece.
In the drawing, one of the many varieties of individual ly molded plastic ear pieces is designated in its entirety by the numeral 12. Such ear pieces are molded to fit into the convolutio-ns of a given patients ear and each is provided with a canal protuberance 13, molded to fit the inner contour of given patients auditory canal and adapted to terminate adjacent the drum of the ear.
The canal protuberance is drilled longitudinally to provide a tube passage 14 for the reception of the extremity of a sound conducting tube 15, which is normally cemented in the passage 14 and extends outwardly from the ear piece for connection with a sound reproducer or speaker. The sound vibrations are pneumatically transmitted from the speaker and are projected from the ear piece extremity into the auditory canal of the ear.
The structure as above described is normal in most ear molds. This invention relates to a method and means for demountably securing and sealing the ear extremity of the tube 15 in the tube passage 14-.
The latter is accomplished through the medium of a tubular, substantially-cylindrical, internal-tube-bushing 16 having an axial internal passage 17 and a tapered terminal portion 18.
The outer diameter of the cylindrical portion of the bushing in substantially corresponds to the outer diameter of the tube 15. The minimum diameter at the terminal extremity of the tapered portion corresponds substantially to the inner diameter of the tube 15. The bushing preferably has a length of substantially 2 /2 times its diameter.
To use the improved bushing, the drum extremity of the tube passage 17 is reamed to a diameter slightly in excess of the outer diameter of the bushing 16 to form a terminal counterbore 1.9. The tapered portion of the bushing 16 is then faced toward one extremity of the tube 15, as shown in FIG. 6, and the bushing is forced into the latter extrenu'ty, as shown in FIG. 7, to form an expanded extremity 29 on the tube.
The opposite extremity of the tube 15 is now inserted in the canal protuberance and is pushed through the tube passage 14 so as to project outwardly therefrom. The outwardly projecting portion of the tube 15 is now pulled upon, as indicated by the arrow in FIG. 9, to draw the expanded extremity 2% into the counterbore 19. The final positioning of the expanded extremity 2b can be accomplished by pressing the latter into the counterbore to the final position of FIG. 8.
The diameter of the counterbore is slightly less than the normal diameter of the expanded extremity so that, when finally in place, the wall of the tube 15 about the bushing 16 will be compressed, as indicated in FIG. 8, to pneumatically seal the tube to the ear piece and to firmly lock the tube to the ear piece ready for use.
To assist in the assembling and disassembling, it is preierred to form internal threads 21 in the bushing passage 1'7 and to provide a tool 22. having a threaded shank 23, as shown in FIG. 10, which can be threaded into the bushing to facilitate insertion and withdrawal thereof from the ear piece.
As pointed out in the objects of the invention, it is ften desirable to vary the cross sectional area of the bushing passage 17 to suit various users. This can be easily accomplished with this invention by having bushings with a variety of diiierent diameters of bushing passages 17. These can be quickly and easily interchanged for trial on a patient to determine the most efiicient passage diameter. For removal, it is only necessary to insert the tool shank 23 and pull outwardly thus reversing the procedure of FIG. 9. The bushing is preferably, but not necessarily, formed of hard, transparent plastic resin.
While a specific form of the invention has been described and illustrated herein, it is to be understood that the same may be varied Within the scope of the appended claims, Without departing from thespirit of the invention.
Having thus described the invention What is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
1. An ear piece for hearing aids comprising: a plastic element having a contour to fit into the convolutions of the external ear; a canal protuberance on said plastic element having a contour to fit into the auditory canal; a tube passage extending longitudinally of said protrusion; an enlarged cylindrical counterbore in the tube passage at the protruding extremity of said protuberance; a flexible expandable tube extending through said tube passage and through said counterbore; and a bushing contained Withall in said tube having an external diameter larger than the internal diameter of the tube and of such an outer diameter as to expand said tube tightly within said counterbore.
2. The structure of claim 1 wherein the bushing has a tapered terminal portion, the tapered terminal portion being located remote from the end of the protuberance.
3. The structure of claim 1 wherein the internal diameter of the bushnig is substantially equal to the diameter of the uncxpanded portion of the tube.
4-. The structure of claim 1 wherein the bushing is internally threaded.
5. The structure claim 3 internally threaded.
wherein the bushing is References tilted in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,668,978 Rhinevault May 8, 1928 2,545,731 French Mar. 20, 1951 2,763,334 tarkey Sept. 18, 1956 2,934,160 Touson Apr. 26, 1960 FOREIGN PATENTS 609,567 Great Britain Oct. 4, 1948