|Publication number||US3594514 A|
|Publication date||Jul 20, 1971|
|Filing date||Jan 2, 1970|
|Priority date||Jan 2, 1970|
|Publication number||US 3594514 A, US 3594514A, US-A-3594514, US3594514 A, US3594514A|
|Inventors||Robert C Wingrove|
|Original Assignee||Medtronic Inc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (7), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (110), Classifications (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent  Inventor Robert C. Wingrove Minneapolis, Minn.  Appl. No. 489  Filed Jan. 2,1970  Patented July 20, I971  Assignee Medtronic, Inc. I
Minneapolis, Minn. Continuation of application Ser. No. 625,042, Mar. 22, 1967, now abandoned.
[541 HEARING AID WITH PIEZOELECTRIC CERAMIC ELEMENT 13 Claims, 4 Drawing Figs.
 US. Cl 179/107 R, 128/1 R  Int. Cl H04r 25/00  Field oISearch 179/107; 128/1 R  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,339,148 [/1944 Carlisle I79/107 2,995,633 8/1961 Puharich et a1 179/107 3,156,787 11/1964 Puharich et a1 3,170,993 2/1965 Puharich et al.... 179/107 3,209,081 9/ 1 965 Ducote et al. 179/ 107 3,346,704 10/ I 967 Mahoney 179/107 FOREIGN PATENTS 788,099 12/ I 957 England 179/107 OTHER REFERENCES Conservative Tympanoplasty," October 1, 1966, Geze J. Jako MD. and Claus Jensen M.D., A REPORT TO THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF OPHTALMOLOGY AND OTOLARYNAOLOGY, Page 54 1 Primary Examiner-Kathleen H. Clat'fy Assistant Examiner-Randall P. Myers Attorneyl.'ew Schwartz ABSTRACT: Implantable hearing aid apparatus having a piezoelectric ceramic element mounted adjacent to the auditory conductive system of the middle ear for imparting vibra HEARING AID WITH PIEZOELECTRIC CERAMIC ELEMENT This is a continuation of application, Ser. No. 625,042 filed Mar. 22, I967 andnow abandoned.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Hearing aids have long been known in the field of medicalelectronics. Generally these known hearing aids are mounted external to the body and apply a vibration from a device mounted adjacent the external portion of the ear drum. While satisfactory for some uses, these known hearing aids are ineffective when the auditory system of the middle ear has become inoperative or highly inefficient. Some prior art attempts have been made to provide an implantable hearing aid by which the inoperative portions of the auditory system can be bypassed. These prior art systems used the technique of converting the vibration into air acoustics, and providing the vibrated air to the inner ear. These systems have the disadvantages of being inefficient and not capable of overcoming many common problems of inoperability of the auditory system, such as when the auditory ossicles are fused as pointed out in the publication Conservative Tympanoplasty," G. .I. .lako, MD. and C. Jansen, M.D., AMERICAN ACADEMY OF OPHTALMOLOGY AND OTOLARYNGOLOGY, IN STRUCTIONS SECTION, 1966.
To overcome these disadvantages the apparatus of this invention provides a piezoelectric ceramic element which is suitable for implantation in the middle ear structure of the body. Thus mechanical vibrations can be applied directly to the auditory system, such as the auditory ossicles or the oval window, or the vibrations can be caused at a predetermined spacing from the desired element of the auditory system.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Briefly described, the apparatus of this invention comprises a piezoelectric ceramic element, described herein in its preferred embodiment as a bimorphic ceramic element, capable of transducing electrical signals to mechanical vibrations. The piezoelectric element is electrically connected to an electrical circuit which provides electrical signals to the piezoelectrical element representing the sound waves desired to be heard. The electrical circuit and the piezoelectric element are encapsulated in a substance inert to body fluids and tissue to avoid harmful effects from implantation in the body. The electrical circuit can be a receiver which receives electric signals from a transmitter located external to the body, or can be a complete unit which receives the sound waves through devices totally implanted, for transmission to the piezoelectric element.
IN THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a view of an embodiment of the apparatus of this invention shown completely encapsulated;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view of a portion of the embodiment of FIG. I showing an encapsulated piezoelectric ceramic element;
FIG. 3 is a schematic drawing of the circuit of the embodiment of FIG. I; and
FIG. 4 is a block diagram of an external transmitter which can be used with the circuitry of FIG. 3.
DESCRIPTION OF FIGURES In FIG. 2 there is shown a sectional view of tall 13 and a portion of stem I2. Within tail 13 there is shown a piezoelectric transducer 15, here shown as a bimorphic ceramic element, similar to bimorphic elements used in phonograph pickup apparatus well known to those skilled in the electrical art. A pair of leads I6 and I7 are each shown connected to piezoelectric element 15, and extending through stem 12. Element I5 is shown encased in an epoxy 18. Element 15 and epoxy coating 18, as well as leads 16 and 17, are shown encapsulated in a substance 19 which is substantially inert to body fluids and tissue, such as silicon rubber. Preferably, the substance 19 around tail portion I3 is sufficiently thin so as to allow efficient translation of vibratory motion from transducer 15 to the auditory system of the middle ear, as more fully described below.
With respect to FIGS. I and 2 it should be understood that for purposes of clarity the drawings are not dimensionally accurate or in scale. For example, in one embodiment of this in vention which has been successfully tested, piezoelectric element 15 was 0.3-0.5 inches long; 0.05 inches wide; and 0.025 inches thick (including both layers of a bimorphic element); epoxy coating 18 around element 15 was approximately 0.01-0.015 inches thick; and substance 19 comprised a coating of about 0.01 inches thickness. The preceding dimensions are approximate.
Referring now to FIG. 3, there is shown a signal receiving coil 20. Connected in parallel with coil 20 is a capacitor 21. A diode 22 and a resistor 23 are connected in series across capacitor 21. Lead 16 connects from piezoelectric element 15 to a point between diode 22 and one side of resistor 23. Lead 17 connects between element 15 and the other side of resistor In FIG. 4 there is shown an exemplary block diagram of a transmitter used to provide signals to coil 20 of FIG. 3. In FIG, 4 there is shown a microphone 24, the output of which enters an audio preamplifier 25. Preamplifier 25 then provides a signal to a modulator 26 which in turn presents the modulated signal to an R-F oscillator 27. The output of oscillator 27 is transmitted through a transmitting coil 28 to coil 20 of FIG. 3.
OPERATION In the preferred embodiment disclosed herein, piezoelectric element 15 is a bimorphic element. That is, it is a ceramic element composed of two layers. When a voltage is applied between the two layers, that is across the bimorphic element, one of the layers tends to lengthen while the other tends to contract. Thus a bending is accomplished. It thus becomes apparent that the application of a varying voltage signal, such as one representing sound waves, will cause element 15 to bend or vibrate in response to the varying voltage signal. Element 15 is chosen to respond, or vibrate, in the audio frequency range, and is thus uniquely adapted to act as an electricalmechanical transducer in an implanted hearing aid.
The mode of vibration or bending is similar to that of a common diving board when the element used is substantially rectangular, as that shown in the preferred embodiment. As mentioned above, an element I5 can be chosen such that the frequency response covers the audio frequency range. The amount of bending or vibration is relatively small and is proportional to the amplitude of the applied signal. The bending force of an element such as element 15 is related to atomic crystal binding forces, and is thus relatively large and can overcome damping effects such as may be caused by epoxy coating 18 and silicon rubber coating 19.
It should be noted that epoxy coating 18 is shown here as part of the preferred embodiment for its function of adding further protection to the implanted device of this invention, such as added moisture protection. The apparatus of this invention will operate without epoxy coating 18. It should further be noted that greater efficiency of operation of the apparatus of this invention occurs when the portion of substance 19 encapsulating element 15 and its coating 18 in tail 13 of the apparatus is relatively thin, to avoid undue damping ef fects.
When mounting the apparatus 10 in a body, it is preferable to firmly mount one end of element (tail 13) in an area that can provide a stable platform, such as the mastoid bone. The other end of element 15 is then placed adjacent one of the elements of the auditory system of the middle ear, such as one of the auditory ossicles or the oval window. The free or vibrating end of element [5 can actually touch, or can be spaced from, the portion of the auditory system, as required. Head 11 can be mounted, for example, in the antrum cell of the mastoid, from which stem 12 can extend to tail 13 in the middle ear.
Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, it can be seen that microphone 24 will transduce sound waves into electrical signals which will be amplified in preamplifier 25, modulated in modulator 26, and then passed on to R-F oscillator 27 whence it will be transmitted by coil 28. The apparatus of FIG. 4 is in this preferred embodiment intended to be located external to the body. However, as will be described below, it is possible to incorporate this entire hearing aid within an implantable device.
Coil 28 will transmit a modulated RF signal which will be picked up by the circuit comprising receiving coil and capacitor 21. The resulting voltage drop across capacitor 21 will be felt across diode 22 and resistor 23. Leads 16 and 17 connect element 15 across resistor 23. Diode 22 provides rectification or detection of the RF signal, and the combination of resistor 23 with the inherent capacitance of element 15 provides filtering of the RF signal leaving the resultant audio frequency modulation signal applied across element 15. Thus, as the transmitted signal varies in accordance with the varying sound waves picked up by microphone 24, a proportional varying voltage signal will be felt across element 15. This will cause bending or vibration of element 15 which will be mechanically transmitted directly to the auditory ossicle or oval window or other member of the auditory system of the middle ear.
If desired, and completely in keeping with the spirit of this invention, microphone 24 and amplifier 25 can be mounted within head 11 ofdevice 10 so that the entire hearing aid is implanted. This will remove the need for transmission and receiving coils 28 and 20, as well as modulator 26 and oscillator 27 and the associated electronic components described above, as will be obvious to those skilled in the art. Also, because a piezoelectric element such as element 15 can also be used as a microphone, microphone 24 can comprise another piezoelectric element, such as a bimorphic element, which transduces from mechanical to electrical signals.
The apparatus of this invention can also be used when it is necessary to remove completely the auditory ossicles of the middle car. This is a further example of the situation where it may be desirable to place vibrating element 15 adjacent the oval window.
ln summary, the apparatus of this invention provides a new and important hearing aid capable of implantation in the body, for imparting vibrations to one or more members of the auditory system of the middle car by means ofa piezoelectric element.
1. In an implantable hearing aid including means for providing electrical signals representative of and derived from sound waves, piezoelectric ceramic means connected to receive the electrical signals, and further means operatively connected to said piezoelectric ceramic means and adapted to be mounted to contact a portion ofa middle ear of an animal.
2. The hearing aid of claim 1 in which said piezoelectric ceramic means comprises a bimorphic element.
3. The hearing aid of claim 1 in which said further means is adapted to be mounted to contact the auditory ossicles.
4. The hearing aid ol'claim l in which said further means is adapted to be mounted to contact the oval window.
5. The hearing aid of claim 1 in which said piezoelectric ceramic means is substantially rectangular and said piezoelectric ceramic means has one end adapted to be mounted to the mastoid bone In an ear of an animal, the other end connected to said further means adapted to extend to contact the portion of the middle ear of an animal for imparting vibrations thereto.
6. An implantable hearing aid comprising: electrical circuit means for providing electrical signals representative of sound waves; piezoelectric ceramic means for converting the electrical signals to mechanical vibrations; electrically conductive means connecting said circuit means to said piezoelectric means; all said means being encapsulated in a substance substantially inert to body fluids and tissue; said encapsulated piezoelectric ceramic means adapted to be mounted to contact a portion of the structure of the ear of an animal for imparting vibrations thereto.
7. The hearing aid of claim 6 in which said encapsulated piezoelectric ceramic means is operatively connected to further means adapted to contact a portion of the structure of the ear of an animal.
8. The hearing aid of claim 6 in which said piezoelectric ceramic means comprises a bimorphic element.
9. The hearing aid of claim 8 in which said bimorphic element is substantially rectangular and said bimorphic element has one end adapted to be mounted to the mastoid bone in an ear of an animal and the other end adapted to extend to contact a portion of the middle ear of an animal.
10. The hearing aid of claim 6 in which said electrical cir cuit means comprises electrical receiver means for receiving electrical signals from a transmitter external to the body in which the hearing aid is implanted.
11. The hearing aid of claim 6 in which said electrical circuit means includes mechanical-electrical transducer means for transforming sound waves into electrical signals.
12. The hearing aid of claim 11 in which said transducer means comprises second piezoelectric ceramic means.
13. The hearing aid of claim 12 in which said second piezoelectric ceramic means comprises a second bimorphic element.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US2339148 *||Dec 29, 1942||Jan 11, 1944||Sonotone Corp||Bone conduction receiver|
|US2995633 *||Sep 25, 1958||Aug 8, 1961||Lawrence Joseph L||Means for aiding hearing|
|US3156787 *||Oct 23, 1962||Nov 10, 1964||Lawrence Joseph L||Solid state hearing system|
|US3170993 *||Jan 8, 1962||Feb 23, 1965||Lawrence Joseph L||Means for aiding hearing by electrical stimulation of the facial nerve system|
|US3209081 *||Oct 2, 1961||Sep 28, 1965||Behrman A Ducote||Subcutaneously implanted electronic device|
|US3346704 *||Dec 27, 1963||Oct 10, 1967||Jack L Mahoney||Means for aiding hearing|
|GB788099A *||Title not available|
|1||*||Conservative Tympanoplasty, October 1, 1966, Geze J. Jako M.D. and Claus Jensen M.D., A REPORT TO THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF OPHTALMOLOGY AND OTOLARYNAOLOGY, Page 54|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US3764748 *||May 19, 1972||Oct 9, 1973||J Branch||Implanted hearing aids|
|US4498461 *||Dec 1, 1982||Feb 12, 1985||Bo Hakansson||Coupling to a bone-anchored hearing aid|
|US4606329 *||May 22, 1985||Aug 19, 1986||Xomed, Inc.||Implantable electromagnetic middle-ear bone-conduction hearing aid device|
|US4628907 *||Mar 22, 1984||Dec 16, 1986||Epley John M||Direct contact hearing aid apparatus|
|US4982434 *||May 30, 1989||Jan 1, 1991||Center For Innovative Technology||Supersonic bone conduction hearing aid and method|
|US5277694 *||Feb 13, 1992||Jan 11, 1994||Implex Gmbh||Electromechanical transducer for implantable hearing aids|
|US5360388 *||Oct 9, 1992||Nov 1, 1994||The University Of Virginia Patents Foundation||Round window electromagnetic implantable hearing aid|
|US5411467 *||May 30, 1990||May 2, 1995||Implex Gmbh Spezialhorgerate||Implantable hearing aid|
|US5460593 *||Aug 25, 1993||Oct 24, 1995||Audiodontics, Inc.||Method and apparatus for imparting low amplitude vibrations to bone and similar hard tissue|
|US5498226 *||Mar 5, 1990||Mar 12, 1996||Lenkauskas; Edmundas||Totally implanted hearing device|
|US5554096 *||Apr 8, 1994||Sep 10, 1996||Symphonix||Implantable electromagnetic hearing transducer|
|US5624376 *||Jan 3, 1995||Apr 29, 1997||Symphonix Devices, Inc.||Implantable and external hearing systems having a floating mass transducer|
|US5762583 *||Aug 7, 1996||Jun 9, 1998||St. Croix Medical, Inc.||Piezoelectric film transducer|
|US5772575 *||Sep 22, 1995||Jun 30, 1998||S. George Lesinski||Implantable hearing aid|
|US5800336 *||Jan 3, 1996||Sep 1, 1998||Symphonix Devices, Inc.||Advanced designs of floating mass transducers|
|US5836863 *||Aug 7, 1996||Nov 17, 1998||St. Croix Medical, Inc.||Hearing aid transducer support|
|US5842967 *||Aug 7, 1996||Dec 1, 1998||St. Croix Medical, Inc.||Contactless transducer stimulation and sensing of ossicular chain|
|US5857958 *||Dec 23, 1996||Jan 12, 1999||Symphonix Devices, Inc.||Implantable and external hearing systems having a floating mass transducer|
|US5879283 *||Aug 7, 1997||Mar 9, 1999||St. Croix Medical, Inc.||Implantable hearing system having multiple transducers|
|US5881158 *||May 23, 1997||Mar 9, 1999||United States Surgical Corporation||Microphones for an implantable hearing aid|
|US5894651 *||Dec 23, 1993||Apr 20, 1999||Trw Inc.||Method for encapsulating a ceramic device for embedding in composite structures|
|US5897486 *||Mar 11, 1997||Apr 27, 1999||Symphonix Devices, Inc.||Dual coil floating mass transducers|
|US5913815 *||Dec 6, 1995||Jun 22, 1999||Symphonix Devices, Inc.||Bone conducting floating mass transducers|
|US5951601 *||Mar 24, 1997||Sep 14, 1999||Lesinski; S. George||Attaching an implantable hearing aid microactuator|
|US5977689 *||Jul 18, 1997||Nov 2, 1999||Neukermans; Armand P.||Biocompatible, implantable hearing aid microactuator|
|US5984859 *||Apr 25, 1996||Nov 16, 1999||Lesinski; S. George||Implantable auditory system components and system|
|US5997466 *||Aug 7, 1996||Dec 7, 1999||St. Croix Medical, Inc.||Implantable hearing system having multiple transducers|
|US6001129 *||Aug 7, 1997||Dec 14, 1999||St. Croix Medical, Inc.||Hearing aid transducer support|
|US6005955 *||Aug 7, 1996||Dec 21, 1999||St. Croix Medical, Inc.||Middle ear transducer|
|US6010532 *||Nov 25, 1996||Jan 4, 2000||St. Croix Medical, Inc.||Dual path implantable hearing assistance device|
|US6050933 *||Nov 9, 1998||Apr 18, 2000||St. Croix Medical, Inc.||Hearing aid transducer support|
|US6137889 *||May 27, 1998||Oct 24, 2000||Insonus Medical, Inc.||Direct tympanic membrane excitation via vibrationally conductive assembly|
|US6153966 *||Sep 27, 1999||Nov 28, 2000||Neukermans; Armand P.||Biocompatible, implantable hearing aid microactuator|
|US6171229||Aug 7, 1996||Jan 9, 2001||St. Croix Medical, Inc.||Ossicular transducer attachment for an implantable hearing device|
|US6261224||May 3, 1999||Jul 17, 2001||St. Croix Medical, Inc.||Piezoelectric film transducer for cochlear prosthetic|
|US6264603||Aug 7, 1997||Jul 24, 2001||St. Croix Medical, Inc.||Middle ear vibration sensor using multiple transducers|
|US6277148||Feb 11, 1999||Aug 21, 2001||Soundtec, Inc.||Middle ear magnet implant, attachment device and method, and test instrument and method|
|US6315710||Jul 21, 1997||Nov 13, 2001||St. Croix Medical, Inc.||Hearing system with middle ear transducer mount|
|US6436028||Dec 28, 1999||Aug 20, 2002||Soundtec, Inc.||Direct drive movement of body constituent|
|US6475134||Jan 14, 1999||Nov 5, 2002||Symphonix Devices, Inc.||Dual coil floating mass transducers|
|US6488616||Apr 18, 2000||Dec 3, 2002||St. Croix Medical, Inc.||Hearing aid transducer support|
|US6491722||Jan 4, 2000||Dec 10, 2002||St. Croix Medical, Inc.||Dual path implantable hearing assistance device|
|US6540662||Jul 5, 2001||Apr 1, 2003||St. Croix Medical, Inc.||Method and apparatus for reduced feedback in implantable hearing assistance systems|
|US6629922||Oct 29, 1999||Oct 7, 2003||Soundport Corporation||Flextensional output actuators for surgically implantable hearing aids|
|US6643378||Mar 2, 2001||Nov 4, 2003||Daniel R. Schumaier||Bone conduction hearing aid|
|US6676592||Nov 1, 2002||Jan 13, 2004||Symphonix Devices, Inc.||Dual coil floating mass transducers|
|US6689045||Dec 12, 2001||Feb 10, 2004||St. Croix Medical, Inc.||Method and apparatus for improving signal quality in implantable hearing systems|
|US6726618||Apr 12, 2002||Apr 27, 2004||Otologics, Llc||Hearing aid with internal acoustic middle ear transducer|
|US6730015||Jun 1, 2001||May 4, 2004||Mike Schugt||Flexible transducer supports|
|US6755778||Oct 18, 2002||Jun 29, 2004||St. Croix Medical, Inc.||Method and apparatus for reduced feedback in implantable hearing assistance systems|
|US6914994||Sep 7, 2001||Jul 5, 2005||Insound Medical, Inc.||Canal hearing device with transparent mode|
|US6940988||Nov 25, 1998||Sep 6, 2005||Insound Medical, Inc.||Semi-permanent canal hearing device|
|US6940989 *||Dec 30, 1999||Sep 6, 2005||Insound Medical, Inc.||Direct tympanic drive via a floating filament assembly|
|US7016504||Sep 21, 1999||Mar 21, 2006||Insonus Medical, Inc.||Personal hearing evaluator|
|US7302071||Sep 15, 2004||Nov 27, 2007||Schumaier Daniel R||Bone conduction hearing assistance device|
|US7424124||Apr 26, 2005||Sep 9, 2008||Insound Medical, Inc.||Semi-permanent canal hearing device|
|US7664282||Sep 27, 2005||Feb 16, 2010||Insound Medical, Inc.||Sealing retainer for extended wear hearing devices|
|US7668325||May 3, 2005||Feb 23, 2010||Earlens Corporation||Hearing system having an open chamber for housing components and reducing the occlusion effect|
|US7771642 *||Apr 1, 2005||Aug 10, 2010||Novartis Ag||Methods of making an apparatus for providing aerosol for medical treatment|
|US7867160||Oct 11, 2005||Jan 11, 2011||Earlens Corporation||Systems and methods for photo-mechanical hearing transduction|
|US7876919||Jun 29, 2006||Jan 25, 2011||Insound Medical, Inc.||Hearing aid microphone protective barrier|
|US8068630||Nov 26, 2007||Nov 29, 2011||Insound Medical, Inc.||Precision micro-hole for extended life batteries|
|US8147544||Oct 26, 2002||Apr 3, 2012||Otokinetics Inc.||Therapeutic appliance for cochlea|
|US8150083||Jul 7, 2008||Apr 3, 2012||Cochlear Limited||Piezoelectric bone conduction device having enhanced transducer stroke|
|US8294141||Jul 7, 2009||Oct 23, 2012||Georgia Tech Research Corporation||Super sensitive UV detector using polymer functionalized nanobelts|
|US8295523||Oct 2, 2008||Oct 23, 2012||SoundBeam LLC||Energy delivery and microphone placement methods for improved comfort in an open canal hearing aid|
|US8396239||Jun 17, 2009||Mar 12, 2013||Earlens Corporation||Optical electro-mechanical hearing devices with combined power and signal architectures|
|US8401212||Oct 14, 2008||Mar 19, 2013||Earlens Corporation||Multifunction system and method for integrated hearing and communication with noise cancellation and feedback management|
|US8401214||Jun 18, 2010||Mar 19, 2013||Earlens Corporation||Eardrum implantable devices for hearing systems and methods|
|US8457336||Jun 18, 2010||Jun 4, 2013||Insound Medical, Inc.||Contamination resistant ports for hearing devices|
|US8494200||Dec 15, 2010||Jul 23, 2013||Insound Medical, Inc.||Hearing aid microphone protective barrier|
|US8503707||Dec 23, 2009||Aug 6, 2013||Insound Medical, Inc.||Sealing retainer for extended wear hearing devices|
|US8538055||Feb 15, 2008||Sep 17, 2013||Insound Medical, Inc.||Semi-permanent canal hearing device and insertion method|
|US8594356 *||Apr 29, 2010||Nov 26, 2013||Cochlear Limited||Bone conduction device having limited range of travel|
|US8620015||May 20, 2008||Dec 31, 2013||Cochlear Limited||Vibrator for bone conducting hearing devices|
|US8666101||Nov 16, 2011||Mar 4, 2014||Insound Medical, Inc.||Precision micro-hole for extended life batteries|
|US8682016||Nov 23, 2011||Mar 25, 2014||Insound Medical, Inc.||Canal hearing devices and batteries for use with same|
|US8696541||Dec 3, 2010||Apr 15, 2014||Earlens Corporation||Systems and methods for photo-mechanical hearing transduction|
|US8715152||Jun 17, 2009||May 6, 2014||Earlens Corporation||Optical electro-mechanical hearing devices with separate power and signal components|
|US8715153||Jun 22, 2010||May 6, 2014||Earlens Corporation||Optically coupled bone conduction systems and methods|
|US8715154||Jun 24, 2010||May 6, 2014||Earlens Corporation||Optically coupled cochlear actuator systems and methods|
|US8758217||Sep 2, 2008||Jun 24, 2014||Georgia Tech Research Corporation||Piezoelectric nanowire vibration sensors|
|US8761423||Nov 23, 2011||Jun 24, 2014||Insound Medical, Inc.||Canal hearing devices and batteries for use with same|
|US8787609||Feb 19, 2013||Jul 22, 2014||Earlens Corporation||Eardrum implantable devices for hearing systems and methods|
|US8808906||Nov 23, 2011||Aug 19, 2014||Insound Medical, Inc.||Canal hearing devices and batteries for use with same|
|US8824715||Nov 16, 2012||Sep 2, 2014||Earlens Corporation||Optical electro-mechanical hearing devices with combined power and signal architectures|
|US8837760||Mar 25, 2010||Sep 16, 2014||Cochlear Limited||Bone conduction device having a multilayer piezoelectric element|
|US8845705||Jun 24, 2010||Sep 30, 2014||Earlens Corporation||Optical cochlear stimulation devices and methods|
|US8864645 *||Jan 13, 2006||Oct 21, 2014||Sentient Medical Limited||Hearing implant|
|US8876689||Apr 2, 2012||Nov 4, 2014||Otokinetics Inc.||Hearing aid microactuator|
|US8908891||Mar 9, 2011||Dec 9, 2014||Audiodontics, Llc||Hearing aid apparatus and method|
|US8920496||Mar 3, 2008||Dec 30, 2014||Sentient Medical Limited||Ossicular replacement prosthesis|
|US8986187||Mar 18, 2014||Mar 24, 2015||Earlens Corporation||Optically coupled cochlear actuator systems and methods|
|US9049528||Jul 24, 2014||Jun 2, 2015||Earlens Corporation||Optical electro-mechanical hearing devices with combined power and signal architectures|
|US9055379||Jun 7, 2010||Jun 9, 2015||Earlens Corporation||Optically coupled acoustic middle ear implant systems and methods|
|US9060234||May 21, 2014||Jun 16, 2015||Insound Medical, Inc.||Canal hearing devices and batteries for use with same|
|US9071914||Aug 13, 2008||Jun 30, 2015||Insound Medical, Inc.||Combined microphone and receiver assembly for extended wear canal hearing devices|
|US9107013||Apr 1, 2011||Aug 11, 2015||Cochlear Limited||Hearing prosthesis with a piezoelectric actuator|
|US20040181117 *||Apr 13, 2001||Sep 16, 2004||Adams Theodore P.||Piezoelectric film transducer|
|US20050203557 *||Oct 26, 2002||Sep 15, 2005||Lesinski S. G.||Implantation method for a hearing aid microactuator implanted into the cochlea|
|US20050259840 *||Jan 26, 2005||Nov 24, 2005||Insound Medical, Inc.||Precision micro-hole for extended life batteries|
|US20060002574 *||Jul 1, 2005||Jan 5, 2006||Insound Medical, Inc.||Canal hearing device with transparent mode|
|US20090043149 *||Jan 13, 2006||Feb 12, 2009||Sentient Medical Limited||Hearing implant|
|US20110268303 *||Apr 29, 2010||Nov 3, 2011||Cochlear Limited||Bone conduction device having limited range of travel|
|DE102009014770A1||Mar 25, 2009||Sep 30, 2010||Cochlear Ltd., Lane Cove||Schwingungserzeuger|
|DE102009014772A1||Mar 25, 2009||Sep 30, 2010||Cochlear Ltd., Lane Cove||Hörhilfevorrichtung|
|WO1998006236A1 *||Aug 7, 1997||Feb 12, 1998||St Croix Medical Inc||Middle ear transducer|
|WO1999008480A2 *||Aug 7, 1998||Feb 18, 1999||St Croix Medical Inc||Middle ear transducer|
|WO2001050815A1||Dec 28, 2000||Jul 12, 2001||Insonus Medical Inc||Direct tympanic drive via a floating filament assembly|
|WO2015077786A1 *||Nov 25, 2014||May 28, 2015||Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary||Piezoelectric sensors for hearing aids|
|U.S. Classification||600/25, 381/326|