US 3297832 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 10, 1967 B. J. BROWN 3,297,832
HEARING AIDS Filed July 26, 1963 United States Patent 3,297,832 HEARING AIDS Bernard James Brown, Flackweil Heath, England, assignor to Bernatone Limited, Buciringhamshire, England, a British company Filed July 26, 1963, Ser. No. 297,783 Claims priority, application Great Britain, June 26, 1963,
13 Claims. (Cl. 17--107) The present invention relates to connections in sound carrying tubes for heading aids. Such tubes are used between sound reproducers and earpieces worn in the ear.
Hearing aids can be divided into two classes; those worn on the body usually in a pocket and those worn on the head usually on or near the ear. Hearing aids in the latter class are known as ear level aids and it is to this class that the invention particularly applies.
Ear level aids are often incorporated in spectacles where one arm of the spectacle is hollow and contains a microphone, amplifier and sound reproducer.
The arm containing the aid is clumsy and heavy in comparison with a normal spectacle arm and is not flexible. It therefore cannot be formed to suit an individuals head so that spectacles made with standard frames and arms of this type are a poor fit. An additional disadvantage is that if a fault occurs in the hearing aid, the spectacles and the aid must be sent for repair, leaving the owner without spectacles or aid.
If it is desired to wear more than one pair of spectacles a separate aid is required to be built into each pair.
The aid cannot be worn without spectacles. A person who suffers from poor hearing in both ears is forced to wear spectacles with two heavy arms or if he wishes to use one ear at times and the other ear at other times he must have different pairs of spectacles.
The object of the present invention is to overcome the disadvantages mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs.
According to the present invention there is provided, a connector, to be used with hearing aids, to join two parts of a sound carrying tube between a housing containing a sound reproducer and an earpiece, comprising a first tube which is adapted to be pushed inside a second tube, the tubes being provided with integral or separate coupling members which snap into engagement when the first tube is pushed into the second.
Preferably the coupling members consist of a depression or projection in the outer surface of the first tube and an internal projection or depression respectively in the second tube, either or both of the tubes being of resilient material so that they deform when first pushed together and later the projection snaps into the depression relieving the deformation and forming a tight joint.
Although such integral coupling members are preferred they are not essential. One tube may be fitted with a circlip which snaps into an annular depression in the other tube.
At present the best resilient material appears to be nylon although other materials can be used and better materials may become available. A particular advantage of nylon is its great resistance to Wear.
Certain forms of the invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings in which,
FIGURE 1 shows a pair of spectacles fitted with a hearing aid,
FIGURE 2 shows a partially sectioned side view of the connector between the hearing aid and the arm of the spectacle frame,
FIGURE 3 shows the end view of the part of the connector attached to a hearing-aid housing,
3,297,832 Patented Jan. 10, 1967 FIGURE 4 shows the end view of the part of the connector which is set into a spectacle frame arm,
FIGURE 5 shows how the hearing aid is adapted to be worn without spectacles.
In FIGURE 1, a pair of spectacles with a detachable hearing aid has a housing 10, for a microphone, an amplifier and a sound reproducer, attached to one arm 15.
An earpiece 11 receives sounds through a tubular connector 12. A conventional tail 13 is attached to the other arm 16 by a connector 14 which is the same as the connector 12.
The housing 10 may be changed with the tail l3 and the earpiece 11 may be joined to the arm 16 at point 17 where a tube through the arm emerges.
The connector 12 is shown in more detail in FIGURES 2 and 3, where the housing is shown just pulled out of of the arm 15. A tube 20 has a depression in the form of a groove 21 close to the surface 22, a flat surface 24 parallel to its axis, and a bevelled front 23. This tube is made of metal. When the housing 10 is to be attached to the arm 15, the tube 20 is pushed into a tube 28, made of nylon, set in the arm. The bevelled front 23 cases entry and the nylon tube deforms, especially in the region of a projection 25. The angle of entry of the metal tube into the nylon tube is only allowed at a desired angle because of the flat surface 24 and a second flat surface 26 in the nylon tube. This is best seen in FIGURES 3 and 4. When the two tubes reach a certain point the projection 25 snaps into the groove 21 thus relieving the deformation and at the same time pushing a bevelled edge 27 of the nylon tube against the surface 22 making a tight sound-proof connection.
The groove 21 and the projection 25 extend circumferentially from one side of their respective flat surfaces to the other side over an angle of about 280. The nylon tube is strengthened by a metal collar 29 round its outside surface.
To prevent feedback between the sound reproducer and the microphone a good sound-proof joint such as that described is essential. If sufficient feedback occurs the audio and electrical circuit will oscillate producing singing in the form of a loud whistle from the earpiece. As an example of the requirements of the sound proof joint, such a joint made by screwing one tube into another would have to be screwed tightly home to prevent oscillation. For this reason a screwed joint would be difficult to make and use since when screwed tightly home the hearing-aid tail would usually be at the wrong angle to the arm, and would also be liable to damage through crossing threads.
A joint between the tail 13 and the arm 16 is the same as that between the housing 19 and the arm 15 except that the part corresponding to the tube 20, but fixed to tail 13, is solid not tubular. Two tails such as 13 may be used if it is desired to use the spectacles without a hearing aid.
When it is required to use the hearing aid without glasses the arrangement shown in FIGURE 5 is used. The housing 10 is detached from the spectacles and pushed into a connector 41 which is like connector 12 except that it is fitted into a tube 42 and is without the metal sleeve 29. An earpiece 43 which may be the same earpiece 11 used on the spectacles is connected at a joint 45 to the tube 42. Surfaces 44 and 46 hook round the back and front of the ear respectively holding the hearing aid in place.
In use, hearing aids and spectacles fitted with the connector described may be used together, either to provide aid for one ear or both ears or one hearing aid may be used for either ear. Alternatively a hearing aid may be adapted when fitted with the connector to be worn behind theear and used without spectacles. In all the applications the connector is used to provide a sound proof joint which does not allow feedback from the sound reproducer to the microphone to occur. The joint is rigid but can be broken and remade repeatedly by unskilled persons without damage resulting.
What is claimed is:
1. A connector, to be used with hearing aids, to join two parts of a sound carrying tube between a housing containing a sound reproducer and an earpiece, comprising,
a first tube,
a second tube, which is sized to be pushed inside said first tube,
a first coupling member, attached to one of said tubes and a second coupling member, attached to the other of said tubes, said coupling members being of the snap acting type and serving when assembled to hold said tubes firmly but releasably together in sound 'tight relationship.
2. A connector according to claim 1 in which said housing has a flat surface, said second tube projecting from said flat surface, said coupling members urging the end of the first tube against said flat surface.
3. A connector according to claim 1 in which said two tubes are keyed so as to fix the orientation of one tube in relation to the other.
4. A connector according to claim 1 in which, said first coupling member includes a depression, and said second coupling member includes a projection which snaps into said depression.
5. A connector according to claim 4 in which, said first coupling member is integral with one of said tubes,
said second coupling member is integral with the other of said tubes, and the said other tube is made of resilient material so that when said tubes are pushed together said projection first deforms and then when said tubes are in place said projection snaps into said depression, the deformation is relieved, and the two tubes are held tightly together.
6. A connector according to claim 5 in which, said housing has a flat surface, said second tube projecting from said flat surface so that when said tubes are pushed together the end of said first tube is held firmly against said flat surface after the deformation has been relieved.
7. A connector according to claim 5 in which said depression is in the form of a groove, in the surface of one of said tubes substantially at right angles to the axis thereof, and said projection is in the form of a ridge on the surface of the other of said tubes substantially at right angles to said tube.
8. A connector according to claim 7 in which said tubes are keyed so that the orientation of one tube relative to the other is fixed,
9. A spectacle frame arm terminating short of the tail at the end remote from the frame front, and comprising:
a tubular member forming one member of an unthreaded plug and socket coupling projecting axially from said arm for attachment of an ear level hearing aid,
a nipple projecting from the side of said arm for attachment of an earpiece sound tube, and
a passage forming a communication between said tubular member and said nipple.
10. A spectacle frame arm according to claim 9, wherein the tubular member is the socket coupling member and is made of resilient yieldable material and has a deformation in its inner tubular surface for effecting snap engagement with a complementary deformation on a plug member.
11.- A connector part to be used with a hearing aid, to join two parts of a sound carrying tube between a housing containing a sound reproducer and an earpiece, comprising,
a tube, forming the socket coupling member of an unthreaded plug and socket joint, and
a nipple projecting from the side of, and interconnected with, said tube, for attachment of an earpiece sound tube.
12. A connector part according to claim 11, wherein the tube is made of resiliently yieldable material, and has a deformation on its inner surface for effecting snap engagement with a complementary deformation on a plug member.
13. An ear level hearing aid comprising:
a sound reproducer;
a housing, containing said sound reproducer, having a flat external surface;
a tube, projecting from said flat surface, for connection to a sound carrying tube, said tube being connected to said sound reproducer and having a deformation on its outer surface for effecting snap engagement with a complementary deformation on said sound carrying tube, and
keying means associated with said tube, connected to said sound reproducer, for fixing the orientation of said tube relative to said sound carrying tube.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS KATHLEEN H. CLAFFY, Primary Examiner.
S. I. BOR, F. N. CARTEN, Assistant Examiners.