US Hearing Device Patents for November 2016
On the Demand side, marketeers talk about creating and growing markets by identifying needs (e.g., hunger) and turning them into wants by creating products that offer more and more satisfaction (e.g., hamburgers, then caviar). Economists talk about growing demand by foreseeing consumer preferences across all possible goods which deliver the greatest satisfaction within their budget constraints (the champagne taste on a beer budget problem). Regardless of approach, it’s the collective behavior of consumers that shapes the Market, aka the Demand schedule.
On the Supply side, marketeers talk about creating buzz and excitement to sell new products, coupled with desirable pricing and branding. Economists talk about technological innovation and increased productivity to create new and better products more efficiently than competitors. Regardless of approach, it’s the competitive behavior of suppliers that shapes the Supply schedule.
Patents and patent protection of specialized “products” are key competitive behaviors of successful suppliers, especially in technologically intensive areas. They help keep price high enough to encourage continued production and development by protected suppliers; they discourage lesser competitors’ endeavors, which may slow innovation in the short run. But in the long run, they shift Demand by creating more utility for consumers.
It’s been so since the time of the ancient Greeks, when “any new refinement in luxury” was encouraged in the Greek city of Sybaris by ensuring that “the profits arising from which were secured to the inventor by patent for the space of a year.”
What kind of technologies were being developed and innovated back in 500 BCE by Sybarites, when ancient Greece had only recently emerged from its own Dark Ages and entered the Iron Age in metallurgy? True to their name, and setting the stage for consumers and suppliers throughout the ages, Sybarites were interested in developing and protecting ever more sybaritic tastes, starting with the culinary. According to Phylarchus, “exclusive rights were granted for one year to creators of unique culinary dishes.”
So much for hamburger and refining the sense of taste by patenting culinary arts. Later cultures expanded into the other four senses, inventing to influence consumer preferences and grow demand by improving consumers’ ability to see, feel, smell and hear.
We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby
The years of plain vanilla amplifiers squealing in the ears and worn only by those with hearing loss are past us. Now, suppliers of Hearables by any name are aiming for the best sound, least noise, most content, longest battery life, fastest processing, widest connectivity, smallest size, greatest multi-functionality, most comfort, most attractive, and, of course, broadest market. And, of course, we sybaritic consumers want it all now, at the lowest price we can get, and preferably over the counter so we can pick it up at takeout, just like our food choices.
Inventors and suppliers are undaunted by this demanding set of demands from the Demand function. On the contrary, they’re spurred on to more and better ear device creations, as we’ve been seeing in the traditional hearing aid manufacturers’ products as well as from consumer electronics firms and start ups. The patent applications and awards are proof of progress, as well as protection and pricing. Reading what’s envisioned is a bit mind boggling, even if we limit functionality to “only” audio. Consider this dense description in a patent application by Mass Moment LLC:
A multifunctional wearable audio-sensing electronic device is disclosed in which audio is detected, detected audio is analyzed to determine characteristics of the audio, a warning is generated in response to determining that a decibel level of the detected audio is physically harmful, when the wearable audio-sensing electronic device is in a musical tuner mode, a deviation of the audio from a pre-determined audio characteristics of a musical instrument is displayed, when the wearable audio-sensing electronic device is in a hearing aid mode, an identification of the audio and a direction from which the audio originates is displayed, when the wearable audio-sensing electronic device is in an ambiance indicator mode, a visual representation of an audio ambience is displayed, and when the wearable audio-sensing electronic device is in an audio recorder mode, the audio is recorded to the memory and played back. (USPTO #9500515)
Sybarites rejoice. The luxury of exclusive and highly personal audio is available and preferred.
The November List
|Method and Hearing Aid System for Logic-Based Binaural Beam-Forming System||9473860||Sivantos GmbH (Erlangen, DE)||10/18/2016|
|Cochlear electrode with apical lateral wall section and basal modiolar hugging section||9480838||Med-El Elektromedizinische Geraete GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)||11/01/2016|
|Inverted Flange Earbud||9485595||Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)||11/01/2016|
|Managing a Hearing Assistance Device Via Low Energy Digital Communications||9485591||Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)||11/01/2016|
|Enhanced Dynamics Processing of Streaming Audio by Source Separation and Remixing||9485589||Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)||11/01/2016|
|Acoustic Device||9485593||Kyocera Corp (Kyoto, JP)||11/01/2016|
|Wireless Power Transmitter Tuning||9484766||Qualcomm Inc (San Diego, CA)||11/01/2016|
|Hearing Instrument Comprising Two Antennas||9485592||Sonova AG (Staefa, CH)||11/01/2016|
|Hearing Device with a Means for Receiver Current Estimation and a Method of Estimating a Receiver Current for a Hearing Device||9484490||Sonova AG (Staefa, CH)||11/01/2016|
|Systems, Articles, and Methods for Gesture Identification in Wearable Electromyography Devices||9483123||Thalmic Labs Inc. (Kitchener, CA)||11/01/2016|
|Method and apparatus for microphones sharing a common acoustic volume||9491555||Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)||11/08/2016|
|Method and Apparatus for Programming Hearing Assistance Device Using Perceptual Model||9491556||Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)||11/08/2016|
|Hearing Aid Device with Integrated Antenna||9491554||Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)||11/08/2016|
|Method of Audio Signal Processing and Hearing Aid System for Implementing the Same||9491553||Ching-Feng Liu & Hsiao-Han Chen (Taiwan inventors)||11/08/2016|
|Method and Apparatus for Directional Acoustic Fitting of Hearing Aids||9491559||Dean Robert Gary Anderson as Trustee of the D/L Anderson Family Trust (Orem, Utah)||11/08/2016|
|Electro-acoustic stimulation systems that perform predetermined actions in accordance with evoked responses||9486630||Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)||11/08/2016|
|Sound processors having contamination resistant control panels and implantable cochlear stimulation systems including the same||9491530||Advanced Bionics AG (Staefa, CH)||11/08/2016|
|Cochlear lead||9492654||Advanced Bionics AG (Valencia, CA)||11/15/2016|
|Flex-based connector for hearing aid||9497554||Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)||11/15/2016|
|Hearing aid using wireless test modes as diagnostic tool||9397553||Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)||11/15/2016|
|Audio system for audio streaming and associated method||9497541||GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, DK)||11/15/2016|
|Leaky-wave antenna for hearing device||9496619||Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Suwon-si, KR)||11/15/2016|
|Implantable fluid delivery apparatus with micro-valve||9498608||Med-El Elektromedizinische Geraete GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)||11/22/2016|
|Automatic selection of reduction or enhancement of transient sounds||9498626||Med-El Elektromedizinische Geraete GmbH (Innsbruck, AT)||11/22/2016|
|Pairing method for establishing a wireless audio network||9504076||Sonova AG (Staefa, CH)||11/22/2016|
|Apparatus for secure hearing device communication and related method||9503437||GN ReSound A/S (Ballerup, DK)||11/22/2016|
|Hearing Aid||D772417||IMHear Corp (Downers Grove, Ill)||11/22/2016|
|Hearing Aid and Hearing Aid Dual Use Dongle||9503825||III Holdings 4 LLC (Wilmington, Del)||11/22/2016|
|Multifunctional Wearable Audio-Sensing Electronic Device||9500515||Mass Moment LLC (New York, NY)||11/22/2016|
|Method for Adjusting Parameters of a Hearing Aid Functionality Provided in a Consumer Electronics Device||9503824||Jacoti BVB (Wevelgem, Belgium)||11/22/2016|
|Method and apparatus for a binaural hearing assistance system using monaural audio signals||9510111||Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)||11/29/2016|
|Method and apparatus for communication between hearing assistance devices in a bluetooth network||9510113||Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)||11/29/2016|
|Systems and methods for managing power consumption in a wireless network||9510283||Starkey Laboratories, Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN)||11/29/2016|
|RF transmitter for electrically short antenna||9509345||Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)||11/29/2016|
|External microphone array and hearing aid using it||9510112||Oticon A/S (Smorum, Denmark)||11/29/2016|
|Audio processing pipeline for auditory prosthesis having a common, and two or more stimulator-specific, frequency-analysis stages||9510114||Cochlear Limited (Macquarie University, NSW, AU)||11/29/2016|
Editor’s note: The Patent Series is updated monthly now, and every two months in the past. Click links for patents approved in October 2016, Sept 2016, Jul/Aug 2016, May/Jun 2016, Mar/Apr 2016, Jan/Feb 2016, Nov/Dec 2015, Sept/Oct 2015, Jul/Aug 2015, May/Jun 2015, Mar/Apr 2015, Jan/Feb 2015, Nov/Dec 2014, Sep/Oct 2014, July/Aug 2014, May/Jun 2014, Mar/Apr 2014, Jan/Feb 2014, Nov/Dec 2013, September/October 2013, Jul/Aug 2013, May/Jun 2013, Mar/Apr 2013, Jan/Feb 2013, Nov/Dec 2012
Reproduced with kind permission from hearinghealthmatters.org.