US 3604861 A
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United States Patent  SPECTACLE HEARING AID WITH CROSSOVER SIGNAL ROUTING 2 Claims, 10 Drawing Figs.
 U.S.Cl 179/107S  1nt.Cl G024: 11/06, H04r 25/00  Field of Search 179/107 S;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,734,177 2/1956 Gilbert 339/97 2,794,085 5/1957 DeAngelis.. 179/107 3,019,305 H1962 McCarrell ,179/107 3,091,020 5/1963 Strazalkowski 179/107 3,238,309 3/1966 Christofiersen... 179/107 2,874,230 2/1959 Carlson 179/107S FOREIGN PATENTS 1,074,617 10/1954 France 181/23 1,180,905 6/1959 France 181/23 Primary ExaminerKathleen H. Clafiy Assistant Examiner-Thomas L. Kundert All0rneyCarlsen, Carlsen, Stunn & Wicks ABSTRACT: A spectacle hearing aid for directing sound signals from the side of a patients head having a severe hearing loss to the side having normal or near normal hearing. The apparatus includes a microphone in one of the templar members of the spectacles for converting sound energy to electrical impulses and a conductor assembly adhesively bonded to the rear of the spectacle frame in a position extending transversely above the spectacle lenses. One end of the conductor assembly is connected to the microphone. The other end is connected to means for converting electrical impulses back to sound energy. In one application, the microphone is provided in one of the templar members. The ear with normal or near normal hearing is fitted with the templar member containing an amplifier. Provision is made for sound to enter the good ear in a normal manner and in addition to receive amplified sound from the other side of the head. in another application, microphones are provided on both sides of the head for receiving and amplifying sounds on both sides of the head and for transmitting the resulting amplified sound to the good ear.
SPECTACLE HEARING AID WITH CROSSOVER SIGNAL ROUTING The present invention relates to the hearing aid art and more particularly to an improved spectacle hearing aid. The invention is especially concerned with what will be referred to herein a hearing aid used for directing sounds side of the patients head to the other.
An advantage of spectacle hearingai ds is that when worn in the normal manner the spedfacles provide support for the receiver, amplifier, microphone and speaker but occupy very little space and are out of the users way. Moreover, the movement of the wearers head moves the microphone portion of the hearing aid as the ears would normally move. Accordingly, it is not necessary for the user to turn his body as when using a microphone worn on the body or hold the microphone portion of the hearing aid in his hands and orient it toward the various speakers when in a conference. The wearer need only turn his head toward the speaker and thereby, even without being conscious of it, automatically orient the microphone portion of the hearing aid to effectively receive the voice of each of the speakers.
These advantages of spectacle hearing aids cannot, however, be achieved when there is a severe hearing loss in one ear or in the event one ear will not support an ear mold.
In cases of this kind, it has been previously proposed to provide contralateral routing signals, i.e., from one side of the users .head to the other. In these devices which will hereinafter be referred to as a crossover hearing aid there is a microphone in one of the templar members of the spectacles for the purpose of converting sound energy into electrical impulses. Relatively complicated arrangements have been necessary to provide contacts in each of the hinges of the spectacles for transmitting the electrical impulses through conductors embedded within the spectacle frame. These have been expensive to manufacture and do not provide the desired degree of reliability, where contact points at the hinge become dirty or covered with a foreign material which is not a conductor of electricity. A further disadvantage of this type of hearing aid is that a special andrelatively expensive spectacle frame is required.
In view of these and other deficiencies of the prior art, it is of the present invention to provide an improved crossover spectacle hearing aid in which the spectacle frame, i.e., the part supporting the lenses is entirely conventional.
The further object of the invention is the provision of an improved spectacle hearing aid wherein electrical impulses are conducted from one of the spectacle templar members to the other without the requirement for electrical contacts at the hinge portion of the hearing aid.
The further object of the invention is the provision of an improved spectacle hearing aid with contralateral signal routing wherein a conductor assembly is provided for transmitting signals between one templar member and the other and a provision is made for securing the conductor assembly to the surface of the spectacle frame.
Yet another object of the invention is the provision of an improved crossover spectacle hearing aid with a flexible conductor assembly connected between the spectacle frame and the templar members in which the flexibility of the conductor assembly itself permits the articulation of the hinge connected between the templar members and spectacle frame.
A further object of the invention isthe provision of an improved spectacle hearing aid in'cluding'a conductor assembly composed of insulated wire at least partially coated with an adhesive and a provision for rendering the adhesive temporarily sticky.
A further object of the invention is the provision of an improved crossover spectacle hearing aid having a conductor assembly, each end of which terminates in a removable plug including contacts adapted to pierce the insulation of the conductors.
A further object of the invention is the provision of an improved crossover spectacle hearing aid including a provision enabling the templar members to be quickly removed for shipment to a repair center in the event they fail to operate.
These and other more detailed and specific objects will be disclosed in the course of the following specification, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, in which FIG. 1 is a plan view of a pair of spectacles embodying the invention.
FIG. 2 is a partial rear elevational view of the spectacle frame.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged partial transverse sectional view taken on line 3-3 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the right-hand templar member afier having been removed from the frame.
FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of the left-hand templar member after having been removed from the frame.
FIG. 6 is a vertical longitudinal view taken on line 6-6 of FIG. 3.
FIG. 7 is a horizontal longitudinal sectional view taken on line 7-7 of FIG. 6.
8 is a horizontal transverse sectional view taken on line 8-8 of FIG. 6.
FIG. 9 is a vertical longitudinal fragmentary sectional view of the templar membertaken on line 9-9 of FIG. 10.
FIG. 10 is a transverse sectional view taken on line 10-10 of FIG. 9.
In brief terms, the present invention provides a 7 spectacle hearing aid including a frame structure simulating and worn as a pair of spectacles. The frame structure includes a center portion with a bridge and rims which extend transversely around either the top or bottom of the lenses. The templar members of the hearing aid are hinged to the frame structure but in a preferred form of the invention are removably mounted thereon. A conductor assembly which is composed of flexible wires is removably bonded to the rims of the frame structure and includes unsupported portions adjacent to the hinges which are free to bend as the hinges are articulated. The rearwardly ends of the conductor assembly are preferrably connected to a plug and each of the plugs is removably and conductively engaged with a socket in a templar member for completing an electrical circuit between a microphone that is mounted in one of the templar members and a receiver that is associated with the other templar member. Suitable amplifiers, batteries and volume control are conductively connected between the microphone and the earphone in a manner well known to those skilled in the art.
Referring to the drawings in detail, there is shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 a spectacle hearing aid 10 including a spectacle frame 12 having a bow 14 and a pair of rims l6 and 18 containing lenses 20 and 22 respectively. Hinges 24 and 26 support stubs 28 and 30 respectively for articulation at the ends of the center portion of the spectacle frame 12. Each of the stubs 28 and 30 includes a rearwardly extending projection designated 32 and 34 respectively which are telescopically and removably engaged with recesses 36 and 38 of templar members 40 and 42 (FIGS. 4 and 5).
The left templar member 40 includes a microphone 44 conductively connected to a socket 46 through suitable means (not shown). Templar member 42 includes an amplifier 48 having a receiver that is operatively associated in the usual way with a flexible depending sound transmission duct 49 having an earpiece 50 connected to its lower end. Earpiece 50 in this instance is provided with a center opening 52 through which normal sound impinging directly upon the user's ear is able to enter the external auditory meatus. The templar member 42 is provided with a socket 54 which is in turn wired to the amplifier 48.
The conductor assembly 60 which will be described with particular reference to FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 6 is composed of a pair of flexible wires 62 and 64 bonded with adhesive to the rearward surface of the center portion 12 of the spectacle designated 66 and 68 are unsupported and accordingly are free to bend as the hinges 24 and 26 articulate. From the hinges, the conductors 62 and 64 extend rearwardly and terminate within identical male plugs designated 70 and 72 which will be described in detail below. The conductors 62 and 64 preferrably bonded the spectacle frame 12 by the provision of a solvent activated adhesive 73 of any suitable known composition (FIG. 3).
The plugs will now be described with particular reference to FIGS. 3, 6, 7 and 8. Each of the plugs 70 and 72 includes a generally rectangular casing 74 having a hollow interior 76 within whichismounted coittacts 7 d 80. Contact 78 is affixed to the casing 74 by plastic resin 82 which projects through opening in the contact. Three sharp projections 84 will pierce the conductor62 to provide an electrical connection therewith. The contact 78 includes a laterally extending tongue 86 which projects into the center of the templar member 40 and is engaged by a resilient metal contact 88. Similarly, the contact 80 is bonded to the casing 70 by the provision of resin 90. Three sharp projections 92 pierce the installation on the conductor 64 to make an electrical connection. A laterally extending tongue 94 makes electrical contact with a resilient terminal 96. Openings 98 are provided at the ends of the casing 70 to permit entry of the conductor 62 and 64. A cover 100 formed from a generally rectangular sheet of plastic is telescopically fitted within an opening 102 of corresponding shape to form the outward wall of the plug 70. Transversely extending plugs 104 and 106 having longitudinally extending projections 104a and 106a provide a snap fit within recesses 1 l and l 12 to removably retain the cover 100 securely in place.
A preferred method of assembly will now be described.
In the case of the individual having a severe hearing loss in one ear or an ear that will not support an ear mold and has normal or near normal hearing in the other ear, it is desirable to fit the templar member on the side having a severe hearing loss with a microphone only. The ear with normal or near normal hearing would be fitted with the templar member containing the receiver which includes the amplifier, batteries, volume control and receiver. An earpiece or car mold is also fitted to the templar member containing the receiver. Ear mold 50 may be of any well-known kind having 'a canal 52 which permits unamplified sound to enter the good ear in the normal manner. In addition, howeve the good car would receive the amplified sound rom t e other side of the patient's head. This is essentially the arrangement illustrated and described above in the specification.
On the other hand, a patient with a severe hearing loss in one ear and slight or moderate hearing in the other is ordinarily fitted with an arrangement that will provide amplified sound from both sides of the head, that is to say bilateral amplified signals supplied to one car. This version of the crossover hearing aid contains a microphone in the templar member on the side of the ear with the severe hearing loss. The other templar member contains a complete instrument (microphone, amplifier and volume control). The electrical signals transmitted from the microphone through the crossover assembly are applied to the same amplifier. Accordingly, the bilateral crossover signal routing aids the ear with the moderate hearing loss and also receives electrical signals corresponding to sounds received from the side with the severehearing loss.
After a suitable combination of microphones and amplifiers is selected as described above, a spectacle frame is selected and the stubs 28 and 30 are properly mounted unless already present. The rear upper portion of the spectacle framework is washed with alcohol in the area whe e the conductors 62 and 64 will be attached. The eo nduct rs are then laid on a horizontal surface and a suitable adhesive-activating solution is applied to make the adhesive become sticky. While the solvent that is used will depend upon the composition of the adthe adhesive 73 has been rendered sticky, the center portion of the cable assembly is attached first to the middle of the eyeglass frame 12 and worked outwardly towards the hinges and over the stubs 28 and 30 with the portions 66 and 68 remaining unattached as described above. The cable must lay flat, have no twist in it and it should be pressed down firmly so that it conforms to the shape of the spectacle framework. The adhesive is then allowed to dry.
Next the ends of the wires are separated. The plugs 70 and 72 are then inserted into the sockets 46 and other The covers are removed and the conductors 62 and 64 are inserted into the slots 98 and 99 and forced firmly unto the sharp contact points 84 and 92. The covers 100 are then attached and the excess wire is cut flush with the rearward ends of the plugs.
The present invention provides a number of advantages. Since the templar members can be removed from the stubs 28 and 30, they can be mailed to a repair center without sending the entire pair of spectacles. The plugs can also be quickly and easily removed from their sockets in the event adjustment or.
repair is required and the sharp contact provided in the plugs effectively pierce the insulation used on the conductors thereby obviating a requirement for removing insulation from the wires. A further advantage of the invention is that the conductor assembly can be removed and replaced if necessary without destroying the spectacle frame and the spectacle frame itself need not be specially constructed the removal of the conductor assembly is the reverse of the assembly process described above; namely, the proper solvent, as used above, is applied to render the adhesive sticky and following this, the conductor assembly is merely stripped, or pulled, from the surface to which it had previously been applied. It should also be noted that contacts at the hinge points are unnecessary since the flexibility of the unsupported sections of the conductors adjacent to the hinges permits free articulation of the hinges.
Having now therefore fully illustrated and described out invention, what we claim to be new and desire to protect by Letters Patent is:
1. In a spectacle hearing aid, the combination comprising a spectacle frame; a pair of templar members, each articulatably supported on respective ends of said frame and including a socket for removably, conductively engaging a plug; microphone means disposed in one of said templar members; receiver means disposed in the other of said templar members; a conductor assembly removably, adhesively disposed on said frame and removably, adhesively disposed on at least a portion of said templar members; and a pair of plug members, each of said plug members having outwardly extending conductive terminals adapted to be inserted into corresponding conductive terminals in the sockets in said templar members, one of said plugs being disposed on each end of said conductor assembly whereby said microphone disposed in one templar member may be electrically connected to energize said receiver in the other of said templar members.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 in which the plug members are comprised of a housing including outwardly opening apertures; an electrode extending outwardly therethrough, each of said electrodes having an inwardly extending pointed projection for piercing the insulation of predetermined conductors on said conductor assembly said housing being configured to removably receive an end of said conductor assembly with predetermined conductors overlying predetermined inner ends of said electrodes and a removable cover member for the housing of said plug, said cover member forming one wall of the plug and engaging said conductors of said conductor assembly to conductively dispose said conductors on the inner pointed ends of said electrodes when said cover is in place on said housing.