US 3807526 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Sygnator Apr. 30, 1974 EAR PROTECTOR I Prima ExaminerSte hen J. Tomsk 75 1 t 11 A 1 1 A 1 P Y 1 men or el-lry n on Sygna r mgtpn Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Robert W. Beart; Thomas He1ghts, Ill.
n W. Buckman 1  Assignee: Illinois Tool Works Inc., Chicago, 57 ABSTRACT  Flled: 1972 A noise reducing ear protector attached to the temple ] Appl. No.: 301,038 bars of spectacles of various types such as eyeglasses,
protective goggles and the like, and including arm ele- 1 ments inclined downwardly and rearwardly from the  181/33 181/23 0 temple bars to at least overlie the tragus and adjacent auditory canal opening for reducing high decibel noise 2; f' g 11/02 levels such as constant and recurring sounds encoun- 1 o arch g 5 4 tered in industrial operations from punch presses, riv- 8/ 5 I123 1 145 eting operations and many others; the overlying area of the arms may be rather minimal, or itmay be en-  I 7 References Ci larged with a removable and disposable pad', or further UNITED STATES PATENTS provided with a plug which may be at least partially 508,457 11/1893 Wickliffe 351/123 mounted into the auditory canal opening. 2,946,394 7/1960 Smith 181/23 3,552,839 1/1971 Manning 351/123 3 Clams, 7 Drawing Flgures EAR PROTECTOR High level sound vibrations and perhaps particularly the steady recurring sounds or din in industrial operations are known to cause traumatic hearing impairments and even loss of hearing. Often these types of impairments do not respond to hearing aids or surgery. And there have been published reports of these high decibel noises causing other physical defects. As would be expected, there have been proposed numerous types of ear protectors for noise deadening or noise reduction. Some of these have been in the form of ear plugs fitting within the concha area leading to the auditory canal; others have taken the form of coverings for the entire external ear, and various combinations thereof as well as cumbersome head gear. Most of these types of ear protectors have been attached to bands of various types which in turn have been attached to visors, goggles and the like although some have beendesigned for self-support within the outer ear cavity. While the helix and antihelix of the outer ear serve to direct sound waves into the concha area and then to the auditory canal, it is believed that high decibel noise levels, and particularly the recurring sounds of industrial operations, have more direct access to the inner ear in addition to the helix path.
With the above in mind, it is an object of the present invention to provide an ear protector intended to reduce to tolerance levels the high decibel sounds encountered in various industrial operations and which is not cumbersome in that it is light in weight, easily applied and removed, and relatively comfortable to wear.
Another object of the invention is to provide an ear protector attached to the temple bars of eyeglasses, protective goggles and the like, and angled therefrom with each end portion in sound interfering'adjacency with the tragus and concha area leading to the auditory canal. I
A further object of the invention is to provide an ear protector of the above type wherein the end portions may be provided with additional sound interfering formations enlarging the sound interfering area or concentrating the same toward the canal opening.
The above and other objects of the invention will in part be obvious and will be hereinafter more fully pointed out in the detail descriptionof the drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a side elevation of a temple bar and ear protector arm shown in'association with the outer ear;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a side elevation of a modification with a removable pad carried by the arm;
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a side elevation of a furthermodification with a plug carried by the arm;
FIG. 6 is a top plan view of FIG. 5; and
FIG. 7 is a sectional view of the plug shown in FIGS. 5 and 6.
With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a temple bar 10 of which there are two carrying eyeglasses, protective goggles and the like (not shown) at the forward ends thereof, and having rearward portions reaching between the head and ear of the wearer with rear end portions 12 angled downwardly and slightly curved for engagement with the head of the wearer behind the ear A. An arm 14 may be formed integral with the temple bar in advance of the rear end 12. This arm 14 is offset, as at 16, outwardly from the adjacent temple bar and is angled downwardly and rearwardly to overlie the tragus, antitragus and concha area of the ear and may be enlarged toward the free end 15 thereof which serves as a sound interference barrier against the full effect of external high decibel sound reaching the inner car through the auditory canal. The arm 14 generally parallels the adjacent end portion 12 of the temple bar with the end 15 thereof disposed below the juncture between the temple bar 10 and its end portion 12 in the desired position overlying the concha area of the ear. Even with this rather loose overlying disposition of the end portion 15, it has been found that a substantial amount of high decibel sound is prevented from reaching the inner ear, thus reducing the possibility of injury thereto. It is perhaps comparable to placing ones fingers loosely over the concha area between the tragus and antitragus, and this sound barrier effect can be increased by finger pressure on the tragus itself forcing it into the concha area to substantially close the auditory canal opening. The device of FIG. 1 can be similarly operated by initially bending the arm 14 inwardly so that upon application of the glasses'to the wearer, the end portion 15 will press the tragus inwardly toward a position closing the auditory canal opening. This use of the device would probably be limited to actuations where the duration of wearing the glasses is not such as to cause discomfort to the wearer by this constant inward bending pressure on the tragus. For this purpose and for the purpose of adjusting the arm 14 and end 15 thereof to the ear configuration of a particular wearer, the arm 14 may be made of resilient and bendable plastic material, or even core reinforced plastic material, as inmany temple bars for limited adjustable fitting purposes, or of light weight metal consistent with the desired lightness and comfort to the wearer. The arm 14 is illustrated as being formed integral with the associated temple bar although a separable and adjustable connection might be provided.
For increased sound barrier effects-,. reference is made to the modifications of FIGS. 3 and 4, and of FIGS. 5 to 7. In each instance, the arm 14a of FIGS. 3 and 4, and the arm 14b of FIGS. 5 to 7, is substantially of the same configuration as in FIGS. 1 and 2 andsimilarly disposed relative to the associated temple bar 10 and end portion 12. In FIGS. 3 and 4, however, the end portion 15a of the arm 14a is provided with an endwise open transverse slot 18 within which an enlarged pad 20 is resiliently gripped for adjustment transversely and longitudinally of the slot for proper location relative to the auditory canal opening of the ear of a particular wearer. Thepad is disposable and replaceable for varying the size thereof. It is intended to overlie a larger area of the concha than in FIG. 1 and will have a correspondingly greater barrier effect as perhaps comparable to placing the palm of ones hand over the ear rather loosely. For, more intense noise conditions of decibel count well above what. is considered tolerable, and particularly steady noise over relative long periods of time, the end portion 15b of the arm 14b as in FIGS. 5 to 7 provided with an inwardly extending plug 22 to more snugly fit within the concha area for a more complete closing of the opening to the auditory canal, and with resultant more complete sound deadening. The plug 22 is illustrated as being integral with the end portion 15b, though it may be separately attached for disposability or for variation in size. The plug may be internally formed with multiple finger-like sound dissipating blind holes 24 opening through the end portion 15b, as at 26. In all forms of the invention, it will be seen that the assembly is light in weight and of sufficient resiliency to be bent within limits for fitting purposes and for varying the pressure exerted at the free end of the arm.
1. An ear protector in combination with spectacle temple bars, and comprising an arm integral with and carried by a temple bar and angled downwardly therefrom with the free end portion thereof disposed below an intermediate rear end portion of the temple bar, said arm being offset outwardly to a vertical plane generally parallel to the vertical plane ofthe adjacent temple bar, the offset distance not generally greater than the distance of the tragus portion of an ear from the associated temple bar and, in position to closely overlie entrace to the auditory canal of the adjacent ear for reducing effects of high decibel sound on the inner ear, the terminal portion of the arm including disposable means for restricting entry of sound to the inner portion of the ear.
2. An ear protector as claimed in claim l, wherein the auditory canal opening of an associatedear.