US 3742359 A
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United States Patent 11 1 Behymer AUDITORY TRAINING DEVICE WITH RADIO RECEIVER AND HEARING AID Filed Appl lnventor:
Donald J. Behymer, Minneapolis,
Textron, Inc., Providence, R.l.
: Mar. 4, 1971 US. Cl. 325/26, 179/82, 179/107 R,
Int. Cl. IIO4b 1/00 Field of Search 179/82, 107 R, 107 BC,
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS than [ 1 June 26, 1973 Primary ExaminerAlbert J. Mayer Att0rney--Williamson, Palmatier & Bains, H. Dale Palmatier, Herman H. Bains, Malcolm M. Moore and Conrad A. Hansen  ABSTRACT An auditory training device to be worn by the hard-ofhearing wherein a radio receiver is housed in a case having a chamber into which a pocket-type hearing aid with an input induction coil may be inserted. An output induction coil encircles the chamber and is connected to the output terminals of the radio receiver to generate an electromagnetic field in the chamber. A radio signal transmitted from an instructor is received by the radio receiver and converted to an audio frequency output signal which is conducted to the output induction coil to establish an electromagnetic field in the chamber. The input induction coil of the hearing aid is coupled by the field and the output signal is induced in the input coil of the hearing aid when the hearing aid is in the chamber, thus permitting a hard-of-hearing person to hear the audio frequency output signal over his hearing aid.
2 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures AUDITORY TRA'IN'INGDEVICE WITH RADIO RECEIVER AND HEARING AID BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Despite the availability of modern hearing aids, the hard-of-hearing person often encounters serious hearing problems in a classroom situation. The clarity of sound transmission of many hearing aids deteriorates when the sound source changes direction, as when an instructor turns his back tothe classroom. Even though a students hearing aid is properly adjusted for a given situation, varying room acoustics due to seating arrangements, intervening pillars, or sound absorption associated with a surrounding audience may alter sound transmission sufficiently to deminish hearing aid efficiency. Since the hearing aid does not readily permit differentiation of one sound source from another, the hard-of-hearing student often has difficulty distinguishing the instructors voice from other intervening conversations and in hearing it over the extraneous noise generated by extraneous noise sources such as cars, trucks, and buses.
Such problems have been partially overcome by providing the instructor with a radio transmitter and by providing each student with a radio receiver in place of his hearing aid. With such equipment the instructors presentation can be transmitted directly from teacher to student without concern over room acoustics or intervening noise. The shortcoming arising from such equipment, however, is that the student must learn to adapt to and become proficient with both the radio receiver and his hearing aid. Since a student encounters sufficient difficulty in learning to handle a hearing aid, it is desirable that the difficulties are not further compounded by requiring that he become equally proficient with a radio receiver substitute. Most authorities agree that it is desireable for the. hard-of-hearing student to use a single hearing aid for all his needs so that he developes the proficiency therewith which is so vital if he is to be able to hear and communicate well both in and out of the classroom.
The invention utilizes a radio receiver whose output .is connected to an induction coil to generate an electromagnetic field within the coil. A case contains the receiver and has a chamber surrounded by the coil and in which the electromagnetic field is concentrated. The chamber is large enough to accept most commercially available pocket-type hearing aids which ordinarily include battery, amplifier, microphone, and input induc- SUMMARY OF THE INvENTIoN The invention is an auditory training device for the hard-of-hearing and comprises a radio receiver contained in a case having a chamber for insertion of a conventional pocket-type hearing aid. A radio antenna extends from the case and encircles the waist of a user of the device, the free end of the antenna being releaseably connected to the case. An output induction coil is attached to the output terminals of the radio receiver and encircles the chamber so as to generate an electromagnetic field in the chamber when an audio frequency output signal passes through the coil. Most pocket-type hearing aids have circuitry which permits both a telephone input induction coil and a conventional voice microphone therein to operate simultaneously to receive electromagnetic signals and voice, respectively. Such circuitry is desireable for use with the invention described herein. Such hearing aids when inserted in the chamber have their input coils coupled by the field, and the output signal from the radio receiver is electromagnetically induced in the input induction coil of the hearing aid. An instructors presentation can be transmitted to the receiver and transferred to the hearing aid without the sound loss or distortion associated with room acoustics or the addition of extraneous noise.
Since the invention results in the transmission of a signal from the instructor to the input induction coil of the hearing aid, the hard-of-hearing person adjusts the volume and high and low frequency gain of his own hearing aid to the level best suited to him and becomes increasingly proficient in using his own hearing aid. Because the students voice is also picked up by the microphone of the students transmitter, the student can monitor his own voice through his hearing aid; this permits him to compare the characteristics of his own voice with that of his instructor as received by the same instrumentality. Such comparism is regarded as essential by many teaching authorities.
The invention is compact, light weight, and portable, resulting in high mobility both in the classroom and on field trips. Whether in the classroom, public buildings, or natural surroundings, each student clearly receives the instructor's voice without the problems of intervening noise, acoustic distortion, or directionality; teacher and student may be facing in opposite directions and still communicate clearly.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the auditory training device invention used by an instructor and student.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing the invention and the pocket-type hearing aid used therewith.
DESCRIPTION AND OPERATION OF THE NVENTION FIG. 1 shows the invention 10 worn by a hard-ofhearing student 12 in a classroom situation. The invention is held in position on the student by a carrying strap 14 and an antenna 16 which encircles the waist of the student. An earphone cord 18 extends from the auditory training device invention 10 to an earphone 20 worn by the student.
An instructor 22 wears a combined microphone and transmitter. unit 24 designed for transmission of, radio frequency signals over relatively short distances such as 50 to feet. The unit 24 is held to the instructor by strap 26 and antenna 28 which encircles the wearer.
The invention 10, shown in detail in FIG. 2, has a case 30, which may be formed of a variety of materials, plastic being preferred. The case 30 has an open-faced chamber 32 of adequate size to permit insertion of a conventional pocket-type hearing aid 34. The case has a cavity therein for a conventional radio receiver 36 and battery 38 the latter being operatively connected to the receiver and providing a means for energizing the receiver.
A radio antenna 16 extends from the receiver and case at 40, the free end 42 of the antenna having a connector 44 which is releaseably connected to a socket 46 at the opposite side of the case. The antenna 16 is of adequate length to encircle the waist of a person and serves the dual purpose of receiving a transmitted radio signal and retaining the case 30 against the body of the person. The carrying strap 14 provides a means to hang the device on the student. If desired the connector 44 and socket 46 can serve as an on-off switch whereby electrical power to the invention is turned on when the connector 44 is inserted in the socket 46.
The radio receiver 36 has output terminals 48 which are connected to an output induction coil 50 which is arranged to encircle the chamber 32. An audio frequency output signal from the receiver is thus conducted to the coil 50 to establish a time varying electromagnetic field within the chamber 32.
The conventional pocket-type hearing aid 34 has an input induction coil 52 which is used to receive telephone conversa-tions. A switch 54 is moved from the M' or microphone only position to the T or telephone position which connects both microphone and the input induction coil 52 to the amplifier of the hearing aid 34. The output of the hearing aid is conducted by cord 18 to an earphone.
When the hearing aid 34 is inserted in the chamber 32 and the switch 54 turned to T, the input coil 52 is coupled by the electromagnetic field in the chamber 32 and the output audio frequency signal of the receiver is electromagnetically induced in the input coil 52 of the hearing aid by the time varying electromagnetic field. The signal'is amplified in the hearing aid 34 and conducted to the earphone 20. Simultaneously the microphone picks up sound near the wearer.
Since the invention 10 is likely to be applied in several adjacent classrooms simultaneously, it is desirable to avoid signal spillover into the adjacent classrooms. This is avoided by providing each radio receiver with the capability to receive a plurality of frequencies, three frequencies usually being adequatepThe transmitter unit 24 and radio receivers 10 associated with each classroom operate on frequencies which are separate and distinct from frequencies used by units in adjacent rooms.
In operation, a radio signal containing the instructors presentation is transmitted from the combined microphone and transmitter unit 24 worn by the instructor 22 (FIG. 1). Each student 12 wears the auditory training device 10, the strap 14 passing around the student's shoulder or neck and the antenna 16 encircling the waist. The encircling antenna insures excellent radio reception regardless of the direction the student faces relative to the instructor.
The transmitted radio signal is received by the student's antenna 16 and conducted to the radio receiver 36 where the signal is demodulated. The receiver 36 produces an amplified audio frequency output signal and conducts it to output induction coil 50, which generates a time varying electromagnetic field in the chamber 32, the field strength being proportional to the magnitude of the audio frequency output signal. When a pocket-type hearing aid 34 is inserted in the chamber 32, its input induction coil 52 has a current induced therein by the time varying field which is representative of the audio frequency output signal in the output coil 50. The hearing aid amplifies this audio frequency signal and conducts it to the cord 18 and the earphone 20 of the wearer. All adjustments of volume, and high and low frequency gain are made by the student on his own familiar hearing aid.
The invention provides an excellent teaching tool for auditory training since each student can hear both the instructors voice and his own voice on the students own hearing aid because both voices are heard through the students own hearing aid. This permits the student to compare his own voice with that of the instructor using the same instrumentality, a teaching method regarded as essential to proper speech training by many authorities. Because the invention is portable, light weight, and reliable, it is of great value on field trips where the class may be scattered or local noise conditions complicate face to face communication.
While the preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described, it should be understood that various changes, adaptations and modifications may be made therein without departing form the spirit of the invention and the scope of the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. In combination with a hearing aid connected by a cord to an earphone, the hearing aid having an input coil to pick up inductive signals from telephones and the like to be amplified and reproduced in audio form at the earphone,
a radio receiver with an antenna to pick up radio frequency signals, said radio having an audio frequency signal output,
a case to be suspended on a persons body and having a supporting strap to be draped about the persons neck to support the case adjacent the persons upper torso, the case having a lower portion confining the radio receiver and also having an upper portion with an open top and defining an open topped storage compartment of a size in excess of the size of the hearing aid and of such shape and proportions as to securely receive and hold the hearing aid without manual retaining for transport as the person moves about and as to free the persons hands for other activities, the upper portion of the case having an induction coil formed around the outer periphery of the case to surround the case and encompass the hearing aid and input coil thereof in the open-topped compartment in a prefixed relation to produce inductive coupling between the induction coil and the input coil of the hearing aid, the induction coil being operatively connected to the radio receiver to accept the audio frequency signal output therefrom whereby to apply the output signal of the radio by induction to the hearing aid.
2. The combination according to claim 1 wherein the antenna extending from the case encircles the waist of the person, the free end of the antenna being releaseably connected to the'case to confine the device near the persons body and to improve radio signal reception.
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