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Publication numberUS3645354 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 29, 1972
Filing dateOct 1, 1970
Priority dateOct 1, 1970
Publication numberUS 3645354 A, US 3645354A, US-A-3645354, US3645354 A, US3645354A
InventorsDonald L Kliewer
Original AssigneeTelex Corp The
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Earphone pad
US 3645354 A
Abstract
An earphone pad for use in combination with an earphone structure that has a peripheral flange around its housing for supporting an earphone pad and a circular opening in the housing for communicating acoustical vibrations from an electroacoustical transducer within the housing to the ear of a user. The earphone pad has an outer ring of resilient material which is dimensioned to sealably engage the flange on the housing and provide an outer acoustical seal therearound and an inner ring of resilient material which is dimensioned to sealably engage the periphery of the opening in the housing to provide an inner acoustical seal therearound. The inner and outer resilient rings are joined together in substantially coaxial relationship by a relatively thin annular sheet of resilient material which constitutes the ear-engaging surface of the earphone pad. An annular pad of resilient material is positioned on the inside of this ear-engaging surface to provide an acoustical seal between the earphone housing and the ear of the user. The outer ring of resilient material, inner ring of resilient material, and the annular ear-engaging surface that joins the two rings together are preferably a unitary, molded structure which is made of surgical silicone plastic by an injection molding operation.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Kliewer [54] EARPHONE PAD [72] Inventor: Donald L. Kliewer, Minneapolis, Minn.

[73] Assignee: The Telex Corporation, Tulsa, Okla.

[22] Filed: Oct. 1, 1970 [21] Appl. N0.: 77,174

Primary ExaminerStephen .l. Tomsky AttorneyCarlsen, Carlsen & Sturm 5] Feb. 29, 1972 [57] ABSTRACT An earphone pad for use in combination with an earphone structure that has a peripheral flange around its housing for supporting an earphone pad and a circular opening in the housing for communicating acoustical vibrations from an electroacoustical transducer within the housing to the ear of a user. The earphone pad has an outer ring of resilient material which is dimensioned to sealably engage the flange on the housing and provide an outer acoustical seal therearound and an inner ring of resilient material which is dimensioned to sealably engage the periphery of the opening in the housing to provide an inner acoustical seal therearound, The inner and outer resilient rings are joined together in substantially coaxial relationship by a relatively thin annular sheet of resilient material which constitutes the ear-engaging surface of the earphone pad. An annular pad of resilient material is positioned on the inside of this ear-engaging surface to provide an acoustical seal between the earphone housing and the ear of the user. The outer ring of resilient material, inner ring of resilient material, and the annular ear-engaging surface that joins the two rings together are preferably a unitary, molded structure which is made of surgical silicone plastic by an injection molding operation.

8 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTEDFEB29 I972 FIG.

INVENTOR. 004/440 4. Kt/E'll/ER EARPIIONEPAD BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to earphone pads for protecting the ear of an earphone user and for providing an acoustical seal therearound. More particularly, this invention relates to earphone pads for use in combination with audiometric earphones such as used pads for use in combination with audiometric earphones such as used in testing hearing or in other applications that require accurate calibration of acoustical volume.

In audiometric testing, a persons hearing ability is tested by means of a variable audiofrequency generator and a headset for translating the electrical output of the audiofrequency generator into audible sound. The audiofrequency generator is calibrated both in terms of volume and frequency. During the testing process, tones of different frequency are applied to the headset and varied in volume until the subjects threshold of hearing has been determined for selected frequencies that cover the entire audiofrequency spectrum. These threshold levels are plotted on a graph as they are measured, and by comparing the subjects graph to the average graph for the same age group, it is possible to detect a hearing deficiency and to prescribe an appropriate hearing aid for remedying that particular deficiency.

Since the above-noted graphs are plotted in terms of acoustical volume, it is particularly important in audiometric testing to provide a tight acoustical seal between the audiometric headset and the ears of the subject being tested so as to avoid loss of acoustical energy, which would introduce errors into the recorded data, and to block out background noise, which would affect the threshold of hearing. In addition, it is equally important that such a tight acoustical seal be achieved without uncomfortable pressure on the subject's ear. Accordingly, the principal object of this invention is to provide a simple, inexpensive earphone pad that meets the abovenoted requirements.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with this invention, the above-noted objective is achieved by providing an outer ring of resilient material which is dimensioned to sealably engage a peripheral flange on the earphone housing and provide an outer acoustical seal therearound and an inner ring of resilient material which is dimensioned to sealably engage the periphery of an acoustical outlet opening in the earphone housing to provide an inner acoustical seal therearound. The inner and outer rings of resilient material are joined together in substantially coaxial relationship by a relatively thin annular sheet of resilient material which constitutes the ear-engaging surface of the earphone pad. An annular pad of resilient material is positioned on the inside of this ear-engaging surface to provide an acoustical seal between the earphone housing and the ear of the user. The outer ring of resilient material, inner ring of resilient material, and the annular ear-engaging surface that joins the two rings together are preferably a unitary, molded structure which is made of surgical silicone plastic by an injection molding operation.

The detailed structure and operation of the invention is described below in connection with one specific embodiment thereof as illustrated in the attached drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a plan view of one illustrative earphone pad of this invention.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken on the plane 2-2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2 mounted on an earphone transducer housing.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2 mounted on an earphone transducer and held against a users ear.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The earphone pad of this invention is adapted to be used in combination with an earphone structure that has a peripheral flange around its housing for supporting an earphone pad and a circular opening in the housing for communicating acoustical vibrations from an electroacoustical transducer within the housing to the ear of the user. This is the normal configuration for earphone structures except in spacial cases where the earphone pad is made an integral part of the earphone structure. Referring to the figures, one illustrative embodiment of the invention comprises an outer ring of resilient material 10 which is dimensioned to sealably engage the peripheral flange on the earphone housing to provide an outer acoustical seal therearound and an inner ring of resilient material 12 which is dimensioned to sealably engage the periphery of the circular opening in the earphone housing to provide an inner acoustical seal therearound. Outer ring 10 and inner ring 12 are joined together in substantially coaxial relationship by a relatively thin annular sheet 14 which constitutes the ear-engaging portion of the earphone pad. Outer ring 10, inner ring 12, and annular sheet 14 are joined together in a unitary structure and are preferably made of surgical silicone plastic by an injection molding operation. An annular pad of spongy, resilient material 16 is positioned on the inside surface of annular sheet 14 to provide an acoustical seal between the earphone housing and the ear of the user. The outside diameter of annular pad 16 is larger than the inside diameter of outer ring 10 so that the pad 16 will be held in place by abutment against the inside periphery of outer ring 10.

As best shown in FIG. 2, outer ring 10 is adapted to sealably engage a peripheral flange on the earphone housing by means of a recessed portion 18 which is slightly smaller in diameter than the outside diameter of the earphone flange and an inwardly flanged end 20 which is substantially smaller in diameter than the outside diameter of the earphone flange. Inner ring 12 is adapted to sealably engage the periphery of the circular opening in the earphone housing by means of a recessed portion 22 which is slightly smaller in diameter than the circular opening and an outwardly flanged end 24 which is substantially smaller in diameter than the circular opening. FIGS. 3 and 4 show the above-noted earphone pad fitted in place on an earphone structure including an earphone housing 26 which has a substantially flat end plate 28 with a central opening therein for transmitting acoustical energy from an electroacoustic transducer 30 within the housing to the ear of the user and a peripheral flange 32 around the edge of housing 26 for receiving and supporting the earphone pad. As best shown in FIG. 4, the earphone pad of this invention provides three acoustical seals for preventing loss of acoustical energy and for blocking the entry of background noise into the ear of the user. The combination of the thin annular sheet 14 and annular pad 16 provides a comfortable, contoured, acoustic seal with the ear of the user. In order to provide the best acoustic seal, the outside diameter of outer ring 20 should be suffciently large to completely cover the outer ear of an average user. It will be noted in FIGS. 3 and 4 that the engagement between inner ring 12 and the opening in the earphone housing produces a convex configuration in the ear-engaging surface 14 which fits into the ear cavity of the user and provides a better acoustical seal than could be obtained with a flat earengaging surface.

In addition to the acoustical seal around the ear of the user, the earphone pad of this invention also provides an inner acoustical seal between inner ring 12 and the opening in the earphone housing to prevent acoustical energy from being transmitted into the interior of the earphone pad and to prevent background noise from being transmitted from the inte rior of the earphone pad to the users ear canal. Thus the inner ring 12 performs the dual purpose of improving the acoustical sealing ability of the ear-engaging surface 14 and also providing an internal acoustical seal around the opening in the earphone housing. The escape of acoustical energy, and the introduction of background noise, is further minimized by the outer acoustical seal provided between outer resilient ring and the peripheral flange 32 on earphone housing 26.

From the foregoing description it will be apparent that this invention provides a simple, inexpensive earphone pad for providing a tight acoustical seal between an earphone housing and the ear of a user without requiring uncomfortable pressure on the users ear. And although this invention has been described in connection with one specific embodiment thereof, it should be understood that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiment since many modifications can be made in the disclosed structure without departing from the basic principle of this invention. For example, although the annular pad of spongy resilient material 16 is disclosed as being held in position by mechanical pressure, it could be ccmented in place if desired. In addition, although the disclosed embodiment is preferably made of surgical silicone plastic, other resilient materials could be used if desired. These and many other modifications will be apparent to those skilled in the art and this invention includes all modifications falling within the scope of the following claims.

lclaim:

1. An earphone pad for use in combination with an earphone structure including a housing member, an electroacoustic transducer mounted within said housing member, a substantially circular opening in one side of said housing member for communicating acoustical vibrations from within said electroacoustic transducer to the ear of a user, and a substantially circular flange around the periphery of said housing member for receiving and supporting an earphone pad to protect the ear of a user and to form an acoustic seal therearound, said earphone pad comprising an outer ring of resilient material and an inner ring of resilient material which are joined together in substantially coaxial relationship by a relatively thin annular sheet of resilient material, said outer ring of resilient material being dimensioned to sealably engage said flange to secure said earphone pad to said housing and to provide an outer acoustical seal therearound, said inner ring of resilient material being dimensioned to sealably engage the inner periphery of said opening in the side of said housing to provide an inner acoustical seal therearound, and an annular pad of resilient material positioned between said outer and inner resilient rings on the side of said annular sheet of resilient material which faces said housing for providing an acoustical seal between said housing and the outer ear of a user.

2. The earphone pad of claim 1 wherein said outer resilient ring contains a circular recess which is dimensioned to engage the outside periphery of said flange in said housing and an inwardly flanged end surrounding said circular recess which is dimensioned to engage the outer edge of said flange in said housing to secure said outer resilient ring to said housing.

3. The earphone pad of claim 2 wherein said circular recess is slightly smaller in diameter than said flange so as to fit snugly over said flange and provide an acoustical seal therearound.

4. The earphone pad of claim 3 wherein said inner resilient ring contains a circular recess which is dimensioned to engage the periphery of said opening in said housing and an outwardly flanged end surrounding said circular recess which is dimensioned to engage the inner surface of said housing around-said opening to secure said inner resilient ring to said housing.

5. The earphone pad of claim 4 wherein said circular recess in said inner resilient ring is slightly smaller in diameter than said opening in said housing so as to fit snugly around the periphery of said opening and provide an acoustical seal therearound.

6. The earphone pad of claim 1 wherein said inner resilient ring, outer resilient ring, and relatively thin annular sheet of resilient material comprise a unitary molded structure.

7. The earphone pad of claim 6 wherein said inner resilient ring, outer resilient ring, and relatively thin annular sheet of resilient material comprise a unitary molded structure made of surgical silicone plastic.

. The earphone pad of claim 1 wherein said annular pad of resilient material comprises an annular pad of surgical silicone sponge material.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2468721 *Jul 9, 1945Apr 26, 1949John VolkmannEarphone socket and noise shield
US2513985 *Dec 26, 1947Jul 4, 1950Automatic Elect LabEar cushion with earplug
US2989598 *Feb 24, 1960Jun 20, 1961Martin L TougerHard shell liquid seal earmuff with isolated inner close coupling ear shell
US3220505 *Apr 1, 1964Nov 30, 1965Willard B HargraveAudiometric headset
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4420657 *Oct 29, 1981Dec 13, 1983Acs Communications, Inc.Adjustable headset
US5545859 *Mar 7, 1994Aug 13, 1996Ullrich; Kenneth A.Anti-viral acoustically transparent earphone cover
US6856690Jan 9, 2002Feb 15, 2005Plantronis, Inc.Comfortable earphone cushions
US7599499 *Aug 30, 2002Oct 6, 2009Oticon A/SMethod for fitting a hearing aid to the needs of a hearing aid user and assistive tool for use when fitting a hearing aid to a hearing aid user
US8111858 *Oct 9, 2009Feb 7, 2012Bose CorporationSupra-aural headphone noise reducing
USRE43939Jan 8, 2004Jan 22, 2013Bose CorporationHeadset noise reducing
WO1995024816A1 *Mar 7, 1995Sep 14, 1995Kenneth A UllrichAnti-viral acoustically transparent earphone cover
Classifications
U.S. Classification181/129, 381/372
International ClassificationH04R1/10
Cooperative ClassificationH04R1/1008
European ClassificationH04R1/10A