NL1032220C2 - Hearing aid e.g. in-the-ear hearing aid, has in-the-ear unit physically separated from housing, to electronically connect with microphone and loudspeaker during reproducing sound to auditory organ of user via sound-emitting opening - Google Patents

Hearing aid e.g. in-the-ear hearing aid, has in-the-ear unit physically separated from housing, to electronically connect with microphone and loudspeaker during reproducing sound to auditory organ of user via sound-emitting opening Download PDF

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Publication number
NL1032220C2
NL1032220C2 NL1032220A NL1032220A NL1032220C2 NL 1032220 C2 NL1032220 C2 NL 1032220C2 NL 1032220 A NL1032220 A NL 1032220A NL 1032220 A NL1032220 A NL 1032220A NL 1032220 C2 NL1032220 C2 NL 1032220C2
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NL
Netherlands
Prior art keywords
hearing aid
characterized
ear
expansion unit
aid according
Prior art date
Application number
NL1032220A
Other languages
Dutch (nl)
Inventor
Aeldrik Pander
Michel Martin Marie Havenith
Marcus Johannes Aloysius Kaal
Original Assignee
Exsilent Res Bv
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Exsilent Res Bv filed Critical Exsilent Res Bv
Priority to NL1032220 priority Critical
Priority to NL1032220A priority patent/NL1032220C2/en
Priority claimed from NL1033281A external-priority patent/NL1033281C2/en
Priority claimed from RU2009106042/28A external-priority patent/RU2009106042A/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of NL1032220C2 publication Critical patent/NL1032220C2/en

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R25/00Deaf-aid sets, i.e. electro-acoustic or electro-mechanical hearing aids; Electric tinnitus maskers providing an auditory perception
    • H04R25/65Housing parts, e.g. shells, tips or moulds, or their manufacture
    • H04R25/658Manufacture of housing parts
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R25/00Deaf-aid sets, i.e. electro-acoustic or electro-mechanical hearing aids; Electric tinnitus maskers providing an auditory perception
    • H04R25/50Customised settings for obtaining desired overall acoustical characteristics
    • H04R25/505Customised settings for obtaining desired overall acoustical characteristics using digital signal processing
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R2225/00Details of deaf aids covered by H04R25/00, not provided for in any of its subgroups
    • H04R2225/021Behind the ear [BTE] hearing aids
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R2225/00Details of deaf aids covered by H04R25/00, not provided for in any of its subgroups
    • H04R2225/31Aspects of the use of accumulators in hearing aids, e.g. rechargeable batteries or fuel cells
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R2225/00Details of deaf aids covered by H04R25/00, not provided for in any of its subgroups
    • H04R2225/33Aspects relating to adaptation of the battery voltage, e.g. its regulation, increase or decrease
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R2460/00Details of hearing devices, i.e. of ear- or headphones covered by H04R1/10 or H04R5/033 but not provided for in any of their subgroups, or of hearing aids covered by H04R25/00 but not provided for in any of its subgroups
    • H04R2460/15Determination of the acoustic seal of ear moulds or ear tips of hearing devices
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R2499/00Aspects covered by H04R or H04S not otherwise provided for in their subgroups
    • H04R2499/10General applications
    • H04R2499/11Transducers incorporated or for use in hand-held devices, e.g. mobile phones, PDA's, camera's

Abstract

The hearing aid comprises a housing (10) adapted to worn outside the ear of user, which co-acts with an in-the-ear unit (20) provided with sound-emitting opening to receive sound in the ear. A digital processing device (13) reproduces sound received by a microphone (21), to an auditory organ of the user via loudspeaker (23). The in-the-ear unit is physically separated from the housing and electronically connects with the microphone and loudspeaker at the time of reproducing the sound. An independent claim is also included for manufacturing method of hearing aid.

Description

Hearing aid, expansion unit and method for manufacturing a hearing aid.

The present invention relates to a hearing aid, in particular one comprising a device housing, which is intended and adapted to be worn outside an ear of a user and which cooperates with an in-the-ear part provided with a sound output and which is intended and arranged to be received at least substantially in the user's ear, and comprising at least an electrical power source, a microphone, a loudspeaker and a processing device, to at least partially process sound received via the microphone via to display the loudspeaker and to deliver a user's hearing aid from the audio output. The invention also relates to an expansion unit for use with a hearing aid. Moreover, the invention relates to a method for manufacturing a hearing aid with an in-judgment that is arranged and intended to be received appropriately in an ear of a user, wherein at least at the intended location an image of the ear is made. and wherein at least one outer sheath is derived from the in-judgment of the image.

A hearing aid, also referred to as a hearing aid, is a small electronic device with which hearing impaired people and deaf people with residual hearing sound can better perceive.

For the deaf, a hearing aid also serves to support speech recognition (lip reading). A technical distinction can be made between the various hearing aids.

Traditionally there are now somewhat outdated analogue hearing aids. These hearing aids have a device housing which usually contains an electric battery supply, a microphone, an analogue amplifier processing device and a loudspeaker for converting an amplifier's electrical output signal back into sound. The device housing almost always has an on / off switch, a volume control and sometimes a selection button. In these hearing aids, the device housing 30 is usually worn behind the ear, the output sound being guided inside the ear canal with an in-the-ear part in the form of a small tube. The sound leaves the in-the-ear part from a sound outlet provided for this purpose and thus reaches the natural hearing organ of the user in amplified form.

35 1032220 -2-

Current hearing aids are usually digital hearing aids. Instead of an analog amplifier, such as with analog devices, these have a digital sound processing device in the form of an integrated circuit, a so-called chip. This chip converts the analog sound into an electronic digital signal and is thereby able to analyze and modify the sound signal. For example, the soft sounds are relatively more amplified than the loud sounds. Advanced chips are even capable of recognizing speech and filtering out noise. The devices are often equipped with directional microphones and various editing programs for different listening situations. The result of this is that the user can better understand speech and that the device sounds more natural and quieter.

There are hearing aids in all shapes and sizes. The best known are the behind-the-ear hearing aid (BTE). This is currently the most used hearing aid.

The device housing is thereby an earring that is worn behind the ear and comprises all 15 components of the device. The sound is introduced into the ear through a small tube with a passive in judgment, such as a custom-made earpiece or a more or less standard soft-tip. The judgment is at least practically fitting in the ear and comprises the sound output from which the sound finds its way into the user's eardrum.

20

In addition, there is the so-called in-the-ear hearing aid (IHO). The device housing thereof is made to measure and is worn relatively shallow of the ear in the concha. The device is therefore less visible than a BTE hearing aid. The device housing comprises all components of the device. The latter also applies to the so-called 25 completely-in-the-canal device (CIC). This device is smaller and lies deeper in the ear and even largely in the ear canal. Here too, the custom-fitted unit housing comprises all components of the unit. The device is worn in the ear to such an extent that it is even (almost) completely invisible.

For hearing aids, usually small, circular batteries, so-called button cells or hearing batteries, are used as the power source. Further miniaturization of hearing aids has acoustic and cosmetic advantages, but is largely limited by the battery, which will generally have a correspondingly shorter service life with a smaller physical size. This is particularly the case for CIC devices which therefore only have a relatively limited operating time in comparison with the larger batteries that can be used in BTEs. In addition, conventional batteries require an oxygen supply for their operation. A battery compartment must therefore be provided with an open airway to the outside. In addition, CIC devices are often intentionally implemented with an open connection between the proximal and distal ends of the device, a so-called venting, to reduce occlusion. Such an open airway can lead to an undesired acoustic channel along the hearing aid with a CIC device with a distal battery compartment, with the risk of it chirping around. In addition, the deeper it lies in the ear canal, a CIC device is less accessible for user operation. From an acoustical perspective, however, CIC devices are preferable because sound is thus collected in the most natural location and is guided particularly efficiently to the eardrum and, moreover, the device is noticeably less conspicuous and disturbed.

The present invention has for its object to provide a hearing aid of the type mentioned in the preamble which unites these advantages at least to a considerable extent without substantially assuming the disadvantages.

In order to achieve the intended purpose, a hearing aid of the type mentioned in the preamble has the feature according to the invention that the in-the-ear part is physically separated from the device housing, that at least the microphone and the loudspeaker together with the sound output the in-the-ear part and that an electronic connection is present at least during operation between the device housing and the in-the-ear part. This is based on a hybrid design in which the electronic components of the hearing aid are distributed over separate parts. The device housing, which is worn outside the ear, can accommodate the power source and the processing device, in addition to any controls and electronic connections. The loudspeaker and microphone, on the other hand, are accommodated in the in-the-ear part. As a result, acoustic advantages such as a deep microphone and speaker placement are retained and, due to the small dimensions, the physical adjustment area is larger. In the absence of further components in the in-the-ear part, which is mainly worn in the ear, it can be relatively small and placed relatively deep in the ear. The overall acoustic quality of the hearing aid thus surpasses that of a conventional CIC device. In addition, the space of the components accommodated in the in-the-ear part is saved in the device housing, so that the device housing can be correspondingly more compact and attracts less cosmetic attention. All in all, the hearing aid according to the invention thus combines the advantages of a BTE device and of a CIC device, while the specific disadvantages of these devices indicated above are at least substantially avoided.

5

A special embodiment of the hearing aid according to the invention is characterized in that the in-the-ear part also comprises the processing device, optionally supplemented with communication connections for programming thereof and for data transfer with an external unit. By thus also accommodating the processing device 10 in the in-the-ear part, the device housing, which is worn outside the ear, can be correspondingly smaller and thus be worn less conspicuously. Moreover, the electronic connection between the device housing and the in-the-ear part thus does not have to contain (much) more than a pair of supply lines in order to supply the components in the in-the-ear part with a supply voltage and current. . 15

With a view to an electrical supply of electronic components accommodated in the in-the-ear part, a further particular embodiment of the hearing aid according to the invention has the feature that the device housing comprises a primary power supply and that the in-the-ear part is provided with a secondary power source. The primary power supply can thereby be relatively large and thereby provides the desired service life while the secondary power supply is continuously or not wirelessly charged when the device is used. The power supply capacity and therefore the size of the secondary power supply can thus remain relatively limited. In a further particular embodiment, the hearing aid according to the invention has the feature that at least one of the primary and secondary power supply comprises a capacitor, in particular an ultra-capacitor. A capacitor is capable of absorbing and releasing charge and thereby acting as an electrical power source. Because a capacitor has little or no "charging memory", such as many rechargeable batteries, and an almost unlimited number of recharging cycles, a capacitor is eminently suitable as a secondary power supply in the above-described master-slave relationship with a primary power supply. In addition, a capacitor does not require an oxygen supply, so that an aeration channel, which could possibly provide a parasitic acoustic path with a danger of the device circulating, can be omitted.

35-5

In a further special embodiment, the hearing aid according to the invention has the feature that the electronic connection comprises a cord connection. A cord connection is found in practice to be a particularly robust and reliable connection between the two parts of the hearing aid, which in some cases outweighs the possible effect of this from a cosmetic point of view. The cord connection can be fixed, i.e. soldered at the factory or the like, but in a further preferred embodiment the hearing aid according to the invention has the feature that the cable connection comprises at least one end a connector for a detachable connection to at least one of the 10 device housing and the in-the-ear part of the device. Starting from a detachable connector connection on both sides of the cord, a modular design is obtained in which, for example, the shape, size and color of both the in-the-ear part, the device housing and the cord can be selected as desired by the user . The hearing aid can thus be optimally assembled, taking into account the anatomy and wishes of the user.

The electronic connection between the device housing and the in-the-ear part of the hearing aid may be wired, but may also be wholly or partially wireless. In this regard, a further particular embodiment of the hearing aid according to the invention has the feature that the electronic connection comprises a wireless connection for signal transmission. The wireless signal transmission may in this case comprise switching commands from operating and / or programming means possibly mounted on the device housing or also or additionally may comprise an audio signal which is thus transferred, for example, from a processing device housed in the device housing to the loudspeaker or vice versa from the microphone to the microphone. dc bcwking draft.

A wireless transmission can also be assumed for the electrical supply of electronic components accommodated in the in-the-ear part, such as in particular a secondary power source included therein. To this end, a further preferred embodiment of the hearing aid according to the invention is characterized in that the in-the-ear part comprises an inductive coupling element and the device housing an inductive transmitter element, which are capable of mutually cooperating in order to generate an electrical supply current from the device housing. to at least temporarily maintain the in-the-ear part. A secondary, rechargeable power supply used in the in-the-ear portion in that case also functions as a buffer in the event that the inductive coupling is unexpectedly temporarily insufficiently available during operation.

According to the invention, a further preferred embodiment of the hearing aid is characterized in that the in-the-ear part is accommodated in a separate outer casing which is capable and arranged to abut the wall of an ear canal of the user. Thus, the in-the-ear part can be a standard, universal component and an individual fit is provided by the outer sheath adapted or adaptable to the natural anatomy of the user's ear canal. A first further special embodiment of the hearing aid according to the invention has the feature that the outer sheath comprises at least one flexible slat for resiliently abutting the wall of the ear canal. One or more of such flexible slats contribute to the wearing comfort of the device and offers a wide adjustment tolerance.

15

In a second further special embodiment, the hearing aid according to the invention is characterized in that the outer sheath is adapted to the natural anatomy of the ear canal, and thus individually adapted to the user's requirements. This can be based on a conventional, relatively hard, biocompatible plastic, which was cast and processed on the basis of a print from the user's ear, but according to the invention, the measured outer casing is advantageously made of a relatively soft, bio-compatible made of compatible plastic capable of adapting to the natural anatomy of the ear under the influence of the user's body temperature. Such a soft, custom-made outer jacket offers an increased wearing comfort.

Such a size adjustment is usually made on the basis of an image in the form of a contact print taken internally from the user's ear. To this end, a slightly curing paste is introduced into the ear and taken out of the ear after having taken on a solid shape. A (negative) template is created on the basis of this contact print, in which the desired size adjustment is then cast. A drawback of such a manufacturing method is that it does not take into account the ability of the user's auditory canal tissue to compress under the influence of a substantially form-retaining body 35 when it is inserted. As a result, the final size adjustment may be too loose in the ear and not close sufficiently. Moreover, in the conventional measuring method, a mold is always used in which the final measuring part is formed. This requires an important additional processing step which, in addition to an additional inaccuracy, leads in particular to increased production costs.

5

A further object of the present invention is to provide a method for manufacturing a hearing aid that meets one or more of these drawbacks.

To that end, a method of the type mentioned in the preamble for manufacturing a hearing aid according to the present invention has the feature that a digital representation of the image is created, that an at least substantially fitting body is provided at the user's ear location and fitting data is recorded therefrom, that the digital representation is adjusted if necessary on the basis of the fitting data of the fitting body and that at least the outer sheath of the judgment is faithfully derived from the possibly adjusted digital representation of the image. The fitting body thereby offers the possibility of determining a local dilatation of the ear canal under the influence thereof. This is taken into account in the registered fitting data. By starting from a digital representation of the image and, if necessary, adjusting it on the basis of the registered fitting data of the fitting body, a local dilatation of the inner ear can be processed digitally in a relatively simple manner. This leads to a better fit of the final judgment that is derived from the thus possibly adjusted digital representation of the image.

25

The digital representation can be obtained more or less directly by scanning the ear internally (digitally). In the event that the equipment required for this is lacking, a special embodiment of the method according to the invention has the feature that the image comprises a contact print and that a digital representation of the print is obtained by means of a three-dimensional scan.

A preferred embodiment of the method according to the invention has the feature that at least the outer casing of the in-judgment is formed directly from the adjusted digital representation from a suitable starting material.

Thus, a separate processing step with a mold is avoided, as is customary with the conventional method. However, if the judgment is to be formed from a material that cannot be directly formed in such a manner, resort can be made to a further particular embodiment of the method according to the invention characterized in that, on the basis of the With the adjusted digital representation, a mold is formed from a suitable starting material and that at least the outer jacket of the in-judgment is formed in the mold. In this case too, a possible local dilatation of the user's ear is taken into account under the influence of a substantially form-retaining body that is inserted therein, because the production template is based on the possibly adjusted digital representation. The use of a mold, however, is in line with a more conventional method of manufacture, whereby all materials available therefor can also be used within the method according to the invention.

In view of an improved directionality and a better spatial sound experience, a further particular embodiment of the hearing aid according to the invention has the feature that the device housing is provided with at least one further microphone. The output signals of the individual microphones are applied to the processing device, which creates an output signal therefrom which approximates the desired spatial acoustics as much as possible and increases the directionality. This makes an important contribution to a true-to-life, clear and clear sound experience by the user, which in particular also improves speech intelligibility.

From a logistical point of view, the standard housing is also preferably based on a standard component. To nevertheless provide an individual adaptability thereof, a further preferred embodiment according to the invention has the feature that the device housing is provided with an exchangeable outer shell. The exchangeable outer shell or jacket can thus, for example, be tailored to the user in terms of color and design, while a standard device housing is inserted therein.

In the ongoing miniaturization of hearing aids, there is an increasing need for a compact and reliable power source that preferably does not need to be exchanged and can operate without oxygen. As indicated above, according to an aspect of the invention, in particular a capacitor is ideally suited within this framework as an electrical power supply. In accordance with this aspect of the invention, a hearing aid comprising at least one electronic component and an electrical power supply for supplying the at least one electronic component, according to the invention, has the feature that the power supply comprises an ultra-capacitor. Within the scope of the present application, an ultra-capacitor is understood to mean a capacitor with, in a fully charged state, an energy density of more than approximately 1.0 Wh / kg, in particular an energy density between approximately 1 and 10 Wh / kg.

A further particular embodiment of the hearing aid has the feature according to the invention that the ultra-capacitor is formed from a number of at least substantially parallel juxtaposed elongated dielectric tubes, in particular of carbon, with a diameter of the order of a few up to a few tens of nanometers and a length that is several thousand to several hundred thousand times larger than their diameter. Such an ultra-capacitor requires relatively small macroscopic dimensions with a sufficiently large storage capacity and can be accommodated as a separate component in the device or be integrated with one of the other electronic components of the hearing aid, in particular with a possible processing device which usually be produced in a mutually compatible manufacturing process.

20

In general, a potential difference across a capacitor depends on the amount of charge present thereon. Because that amount of charge will gradually decrease during use, the potential difference will also decrease. In order nevertheless to provide the electronic component (s) with a fixed supply voltage, a further preferred embodiment of the hearing aid according to the invention is characterized in that a DC-DC converter is provided to receive a variable direct voltage from the ultra-capacitor and an at least to supply substantially fixed, lower direct voltage and that the ultra-capacitor is coupled to the at least one electronic component through the DC-DC converter to apply an at least substantially stable direct voltage thereto.

A further preferred embodiment of the hearing aid is characterized according to the invention in that the ultra-capacitor is coupled to an inductive coupling element to, during operation, capture an externally applied electromagnetic induction field and receive it as a charging current thereof. The ultra-capacitor can thus be charged and recharged contactlessly, or at least wirelessly, without the power source having to be removed from its housing for this purpose. The power source can thus, for example, be hermetically infused into the material of the device and is therefore extremely resistant to a humid or even wet environment, in particular that of the ear canal.

A further aspect of the invention aims at extending the user function and / or the user convenience of a hearing aid for the user. To this end, a hearing aid, comprising a device housing with at least one electronic component, has the feature according to the invention that electronic coupling means are provided for coupling to a portable external expansion unit, which may or may not be processor-controlled. The external expansion unit can be worn, for example, in the clothing or on the body, for example around the neck, of the user and offers additional functionality to the hearing aid.

15

As such, a first further particular embodiment of the hearing aid according to the invention is characterized in that the coupling means comprise means for wireless signal transmission in accordance with a first protocol for wireless communication between the hearing aid and the basic device and that the basic device 20 is furthermore equipped with means for wireless signal transfer according to a different, second protocol for wireless communication between the expansion unit and a further device. The expansion unit thus forms a wireless transit port between the further device and the hearing aid. The first protocol with which the hearing aid is communicated does not need to be standardized and can be specifically adjusted for use with the hearing aid. As a result, the associated electronics can be kept limited, both in terms of costs and in terms of size and power consumption. The expansion unit is then capable of a "translation" into the second protocol, which, for example, meets a general standard for communicating with devices of various nature and origin.

In a further special embodiment, a hearing aid according to the invention has the feature that a rechargeable power supply is used as a power supply, the expansion unit is provided with a further power supply and that the coupling means comprise a power supply connection for feeding the rechargeable power supply from the power source of the expansion unit. Here, the expansion unit provides a support power supply for the rechargeable power supply of the hearing aid. For the further power source, it is possible to opt for a rechargeable or non-rechargeable battery or a power supply connection which can be connected to a public mains via a suitable power adapter. Because the expansion unit will have fewer limitations with regard to its physical dimensions in comparison with the hearing aid itself, the operating time of the hearing aid can thus be considerably increased in a particularly practical manner.

10 By means of the expansion unit, head-set functionality can also be added to the hearing aid for telephone traffic, among other things. To this end, a further special embodiment of the hearing aid according to the invention has the feature that the expansion unit is provided with at least one further microphone. This at least one further microphone can be used to receive speech from the user, the extension unit being arranged and capable of cooperating with a personal telephone device of the user to receive a speech signal from the at least one microphone of the extension unit. to transmit a delivered speech signal and to transmit a received telephone signal to the hearing aid. The at least one microphone in the expansion unit thus serves to receive the speech of the user and to transmit it as an electronic speech signal to the telephone device, while an audio signal received from the telephone is passed through the expansion unit to the hearing aid for the loudspeaker thereof to be delivered to the user. In addition or instead, the at least one microphone of the expansion unit can also serve to give the hearing aid an increased directionality. For example, by executing the expansion unit with two or more microphones that operate as a series of microphones, directional sensitivity can be achieved. In principle, it holds that the greater the number of microphones used, the greater the directionality is obtained. By placing the expansion unit on the table during maintenance, it can thus be used as a separate direction-sensitive sensor, an output signal of which is routed to the processing device of the hearing aid.

The expansion unit can also serve as a port for other audio sources. According to the invention, a further particular embodiment of the hearing aid has for this purpose the feature that the expansion unit is provided with coupling means -12- for signal transmission from an external audio source to receive an audio signal therefrom and that the expansion unit is adapted and capable of connecting the audio signal to to pass through the hearing aid. In addition or additionally, the expansion unit itself can serve as the personal audio source of the user. For this purpose, according to the invention, a further particular embodiment of the hearing aid has the feature that the expansion unit is provided with storage means for electronic data storage, in particular an electronically rewritable and readable semiconductor memory such as Flash EEPROM (Electronically Erasable and Programmable Read Only Memory). Audio files, among other things, can thus be stored in the expansion unit. By feeding the processor of the expansion unit with a suitable program code known per se, an audio signal can be obtained therefrom which is supplied to the hearing aid. For the purpose of such and other data storage in the expansion unit, a further particular embodiment of the hearing aid according to the invention is characterized in that the expansion unit comprises a standardized communication interface for data exchange with a portable or non-portable computer, in particular one comprising a standard interface for data exchange, such as a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port or a Firewire connection. The expansion unit can thus be coupled to a typical computer in a standard manner for data exchange.

Modern digital hearing aids have a digital processing unit that is capable of analyzing and selectively amplifying a received audio signal or possibly damping it on the basis of specific audio frequencies and / or other parameters.

Moreover, the processing device for different situations can be controlled on the basis of mutually differing processing profiles, in order to more or less filter out a useful signal and make it sound as clear and clear as possible. To enable a user to select a desired driver profile in a specific situation or to (re-) program the processing device, a further special embodiment of the hearing aid according to the invention has the feature that the expansion unit is provided with a programming interface which is capable and adapted for data exchange with a corresponding programming interface of the hearing aid to adjust the processing device. The hearing aid can thus be programmed by the user from the expansion unit. Moreover, this has the advantage that the hearing aid can more or less be supplied as a standard product and can subsequently be adjusted by the user as desired, so that a select network of hearing care professionals or other specialists for the sales and distribution is no longer required, or there is less need for recourse to it.

5

To carry the extension unit invisibly underneath the clothing, a further special embodiment of the hearing aid according to the invention has the feature that the extension unit is connected to a necklace.

The present invention also relates to an expansion unit for use with a hearing aid as described above and will now be further elucidated on the basis of an exemplary embodiment and an associated drawing. In the drawing: figure 1 shows in perspective a first exemplary embodiment of a hearing aid 15 according to the invention; Figure 2 is a rear view of the hearing aid of Figure 1 in use; Figure 3 is a side view of the hearing aid of Figure 1 in use; Figure 4 shows a first embodiment of an in-judgment with a detachable outer casing for the hearing aid of Figure 1; Figure 5 shows a second embodiment of an in-judgment with a detachable outer casing for the hearing aid of figure 1; figure 6 shows a perspective view of a second exemplary embodiment of a hearing aid according to the invention; Figure 7 is an electronic diagram of the hearing aid of Figure 6; Figure 8 shows an embodiment of an expansion unit according to the invention for use with a hearing aid; and Figures 9A-9G show successive stages of manufacturing an in-judgment in accordance with an embodiment of a method according to the invention.

The figures are purely schematic and not drawn to scale. In particular, for the sake of clarity, some dimensions may be exaggerated in more or less materially. Corresponding parts are designated as far as possible in the figures with the same reference numeral.

Figure 1 schematically shows an embodiment of a hearing aid 1 according to the invention. The device 1 comprises a device housing 10 which is worn behind the ear 2, see also figure 2, and an in-the-ear part 20 which is received in the ear canal 2 of the user, see also figure 3. The device in-the-ear part 20 comprises on a proximal side a microphone 21 to pick up ambient noise and on a distal side a sound output 22, see figures 4 and 5, for sound developed by a loudspeaker 23 to an eardrum of the user to deliver. The loudspeaker 23 is also accommodated in the in-the-ear part 20. Between the sound output 22 and the loudspeaker 23 there is preferably a cerumen protection, not shown in more detail, to capture any cerumen separated in the auditory canal and possibly to buffer it so that this does not affect the operation of the loudspeaker. This relates, for example, to a local widening, bend or obstacle in a sound passage between the loudspeaker 23 and the sound output 22 which at least temporarily blocks or traps cerumen.

The device housing 10 accommodates an electronic power supply 12 and a digital processing device 13 which is capable of processing a sound signal emitted by the microphone 21 and thereby amplifying it selectively or not to transfer the thus processed and possibly amplified signal to the loudspeaker 23 to give. As the power supply 12, a conventional, whether or not rechargeable, button cell or other battery can be used, or a rechargeable capacitor, in particular an ultra-capacitor, which will be described in more detail below. In the case of a rechargeable power source, it is advantageous to start from an easily manageable battery pack that can be taken separately for recharging externally and, if desired, can be exchanged immediately for an already fully charged one. This keeps the device always operational.

Optionally, one or more further microphones 11 can be provided in the device housing 10 which provide additional input signals to the processing device in order to obtain an improved spatial sound image and an increased directional sensitivity and to deliver the ambient sound more faithfully to the user. The device housing 10 may furthermore be equipped with operating elements such as an on / off switch 13 and a volume button 14 so that the user can switch the device on or off as desired and adjust it as desired. For deeper changes in the settings of the device, in particular the setting of a processing profile or characteristic of the processing device, the device housing furthermore comprises a programming connector 15 which can be coupled to specific programming equipment of, for example, a maintenance engineer or a hearing care professional.

-15-

The in-the-ear part 20 and the device housing 10 are interconnected by means of an electronic connection in the form of a connecting cord 30. In this example, the connecting cable 30 comprises a number of pairs of wires, on the one hand for an electrical supply of the electronic components in the in-the-ear part 20 or not directly from the battery 12 and on the other hand for signal transmission between the components of the device housing and the components in the in-the-ear part. If so desired, a releasable cord can be assumed which protrudes on one or both sides with a suitable connector into the relevant part 10,20 of the hearing aid and which can thus be tailored to the user, for example in terms of length and color.

10

The device housing 10 is provided with an exchangeable outer jacket 16 so that this part of the hearing aid can also be adapted to the user, for example in terms of color. In addition, the outer jacket 16 covers the programming connector 15 so that it is less vulnerable to external moisture and dirt. The operating switch 13 and volume button 14, as well as any additional microphone 11 in the device housing, are released by the outer jacket so that they remain directly accessible to the user.

The sound quality of the hearing aid stands or falls with a good fit of the in-the-ear part 20 in the user's ear. A contact surface between the in-the-ear part 20 and the ear canal is therefore preferably accurately adapted to the natural anatomy of the ear canal. In order nevertheless to be able to use a more or less standard part for the in-the-ear part, which is desirable from a logistical and manufacturing point of view, the in-the-ear part 20 is included in a separate outer casing 25 capable of and is arranged, when placed around the acoustic, to be at least substantially sealed against a wall of the ear canal.

For the outer casing 25, it is possible to start from a dimensionally stable and often relatively hard dimension, for example a plastic curing under the influence of visible or invisible light, which is custom-fitted by an ear technician, as in the embodiment of Figure 4. On on a distal side, the outer jacket is provided with the sound outlet 22. In order to be able to easily take the judgment out of the ear if desired, a pull cord 24 can be provided thereon, see also figure 9G.

35 -16-

Instead of such a relatively hard, conventional material, a relatively soft and somewhat deformable plastic can also be used for a custom-made outer jacket. Here too, the outer jacket 25 is accurately fitted to the natural anatomy of the user. With regard to the plastic that can be used for this purpose, it is possible to start from, for example, polyurethane or a thermoplastic rubber such as silicone or other synthetic rubber. A biocompatible plastic is advantageously used which becomes softer under the influence of body temperature and is then able to conform to the natural anatomy of the ear canal.

In particular, a gel-like plastic can be chosen. A drawstring can be provided with such a soft size adjustment, in particular in the form of a monolytic extension of the outer casing which is formed as an integral whole thereto.

An embodiment of a method according to the invention for manufacturing a hearing aid with such a tailor-made outer jacket is shown in successive stages in Figures 9A-9G. Thereby, see figure 9A, an image is taken from the ear, at least at the place where the judgment will be worn. This may be a direct internal digital scan of the ear or, as here, a contact print 91 which is realized in a relatively conventional manner, and is therefore sufficiently known to those skilled in the art. After this contact print has hardened sufficiently to achieve the desired dimensional stability, it is removed from the ear, see figure 9B.

When a relatively rigid judgment of a hearing aid is used, the ear canal is slightly dilated and distorted. Therefore, only with a large, relatively large ear canal, will the earprint 91 accurately match the actual shape of the ear canal after such a body has been inserted. For a reliable dimensional adjustment, this dilatation and distortion must therefore be included and incorporated into the model. For this purpose a substantially form-fitting fitting body 92 is inserted into the ear 30, see Fig. 9C, and fitting data thereof is collected. The fitting body is, for example, an empty or solid module such as the in-judgment 20, but is provided with specific markings 93 and a manipulating stem 94. By positioning the fitting body in different ways in the ear, see Fig. 9D, and the To include markers 93, positional data of the fitting body 92 is recorded in the ear 35. These data provide information about the actual dilatation and distortion of the ear in the relevant region 95, see Figure 9E, while wearing in-judgment 20 and thus provide an image of the actual fit of such a body in this part 95 of the ear. Incidentally, this data can be collected both before and after taking the contact print 91.

In a next step of the method, the earprint 91 in the relevant area 95 is scanned with the aid of a 3D scanner, see Fig. 9F, so that an accurate digital representation thereof is obtained which is input into 3D modeling software.

10 This 3D software is used to digitally "trim" the digital representation of the raw print in the software and to create an audio output. Thereby, the collected fit data from the fitting body 92 is used to correct the digital representation of the earprint 91.

The measuring portion and the rest of the outer casing 25 of the in-judgment 20, such as, inter alia, a pull cord 24 to be able to easily remove the in-judgment afterwards from the ear, are then made of the same material, in one process run. made. This can be done in various ways. In the first place, the definitive customized product can be made directly by means of rapid prototyping from the possibly adjusted digital representation of the ear canal. In addition to the pull cord 24, the audio output 22 in the measuring part 25 is also provided.

Instead, a mold 96 can be made from the possibly adjusted digital representation of the ear canal by means of rapid prototyping, see figure 9G. This mold comprises a negative shape 97 of the desired product and is used to cast a flexible plastic material therein in a subsequent step which is used for the final customized product. A suitable material is then poured into the mold to form the final product.

Although the first method is preferable from a manufacturing-technical perspective because no intermediate step with a mold is necessary, in practice not all plastics can be used in this way because some do not yet lend themselves to rapid prototyping. The second process, on the other hand, is close to a conventional method of manufacturing hearing aids so that all common plastics and materials can be used.

-18-

Instead of a precisely dimensioned measuring part, with regard to the outer casing 25, it is also possible to resort to a standard relatively soft and deformable hollow body which, within relatively wide limits, is able to place itself towards the ear canal. An example of this is the embodiment of Figure 5.

A so-called soft tip of relatively soft and deformable material, for example of the same kind as the above-described relatively soft size adjustment, is provided with flexible slats 26 which resiliently connect to the ear canal wall and which thus make a considerable settlement to the natural anatomy of the user. A limited number of standard sizes will suffice from which a choice can be made according to the size of the user's ear canal. A drawstring can also be formed here as a whole on the outer casing, for example in the form of a monolytic extension. The soft tip comprises the audio output 22 in its distal side.

The invention thus offers a modular hearing aid which, although mainly composed of standard parts, can nevertheless be highly tailored to the user. The hearing aid is then divided into two parts, namely an in-the-ear part and the device housing that is worn behind the ear, and with this hybrid design offers both acoustic, electronic and cosmetic benefits.

20

A second exemplary embodiment of the hearing aid according to the invention is shown in Figure 6, in which only the functional parts 10, 20, 30 are drawn. This embodiment is broadly identical to that of the preceding example and therefore has the same advantages, except that in this example the electronic power source is based on an ultra-capacitor 40 in combination with a DC-DC converter 41 In this context, an ultra-capacitor is understood to mean a capacitor with at least an energy-weight ratio of approximately 1.0 Wh / kg. In practice, this value for the current generation of ultra-capacitors is approximately between 1 and 10 Wh / kg.

30

Such an ultra-capacitor is manufactured by semiconductor technology or micro-machining and comprises a large number of minuscule dielectric pillars which mutually parallel depart from a substrate with a length many thousands of times larger than their diameter which does not exceed a few tens or at most 35 hundreds nanometer. A substantial electrical charge storage capacity can thus be provided on a relatively small surface that can serve as a power source for the hearing aid. In this example, an ultra-capacitor with columns of carbon is used with a net mass of approximately 5 grams and a storage capacity of approximately 23 mWh, with an energy-weight ratio of 5 4.65.

The voltage across the ultra-capacitor will decrease with the (operating) time (t) of the hearing aid as more charge is taken. In order nevertheless to be able to supply a fixed supply voltage to the electronic components in the device up to a maximum operating time (td), the ultra-capacitor is coupled to the electronics of the hearing aid through the DC-DC converter. Such an inverter 41 is able to receive the d.c. d.c. voltage from the ultra-capacitor which is decreasing in time and always to supply a substantially fixed, lower d.c. voltage. This operation is shown schematically in Figure 7. The output voltage Vc which is variable in time (t) is indicated on the left-hand side in the figure and is converted by means of the inverter 41 into a lower but stable supply voltage Vs. Thus, with the use of the current generation of hearing aids, an acceptable operating time can be achieved with an ultra-capacitor as a power source.

The capacitor can then be recharged or recharged almost unlimited and relatively quickly by means of a charging connection 42 provided for this purpose and a charging device, not further shown, adapted thereto. In this case, a wired connection of the charging device can be assumed, in which case a charging connector in the device housing will be provided for this purpose, or a wireless, inductive charge transfer can be assumed by means of an inductive coupling element arranged in the device housing and capable of charging. from an electromagnetic induction field generated by the charging device. The latter not only offers practical advantages from a practical point of view, since the power source of the hearing aid can thus be completely cast in and is thus hermetically sealed for the action of moisture and dirt which could otherwise adversely affect the operating time of the power source. In addition, such a design offers advantages from a safety perspective.

The functionality of a hearing aid 2 can be expanded to a considerable extent by coupling a, in this example processor-driven, electronic extension unit 50-20, as shown schematically in Figure 8. The mutual coupling can be wireless, which is expressed in the figure by a dotted line 51, or wired, indicated by a continuous line 52, in the form of a direct cable or cord connection. The expansion unit 50 can for instance be worn invisibly on a neck line (not further shown), for instance at belly height, underneath the clothing.

In its most rudimentary form, the expansion unit merely comprises a support power supply from which a rechargeable power supply of the hearing aid 1 can be charged. For this purpose, the example of Figure 8 is based on a (temporary) direct connection 51, such as a cable connection or via charging contacts on which the device can be placed, to supply the rechargeable battery or capacitor of the hearing aid 1 from a, in terms of capacity, considerably heavier, whether or not rechargeable, support power supply of the expansion unit 50. With regard to the support power supply, for example, one or more rechargeable or non-rechargeable AAA batteries can be assumed or, moreover, a mains power supply can be chosen. In the latter case, the expansion unit has the necessary connections and a suitable external power adapter. When one or more rechargeable batteries or accumulators are used in the expansion unit, it is advantageously assumed that a battery pack can be taken out or taken out as a whole to be exchanged for a fresh, fully charged copy. The empty battery pack can then be charged to an external charging station, either contactless by means of induction or via charging contacts provided for this purpose on both parts, and is then ready for a subsequent use.

In addition, the expansion unit serves as a gateway (gateway) between the hearing aid and further electronic devices of various kinds. For example, the expansion unit can be coupled to an external audio source, such as an audio player 54, television 55, telephone 56 or computer 57, for example, directly, wirelessly or not, an audio signal, indicated in the figure with a music sign Ά 61 , to receive in electronic form and to transmit wirelessly to the hearing aid 1, for example. The data transfer can then always take place via a cable connection 52 or wireless 51, depending on the implementation level, or in both ways.

-21-

In addition, a supply line can be built up between such peripheral equipment 54.57 and the expansion unit 50, indicated by a battery sign 62 in the figure, in order to be able to charge rechargeable batteries in one unit from the other. In addition, the expansion unit 50 adds headset functionality 5 to the (mobile) telephone 56 of the user. To this end, the expansion unit is provided with a microphone 58 to receive speech from the user and to lead it to the telephone set 56 or the expansion unit provides for the transmission of the sound picked up by the microphone 11.21 of the hearing aid to the telephone 56. A such an additional microphone 58 of the expansion unit 50 can also be used as an additional receiver for the hearing aid 1, in order to promote the quality of the hearing signal. Moreover, by applying a number of such microphones as a series in the expansion unit, a large degree of directionality can be added.

In order to provide a wireless signal transmission, in particular for the exchange of audio signals and data, a standardized protocol, such as a standard in-infrared protocol, USB, WiFi, has been assumed between the expansion unit 50 and any further equipment 54.57 from a compatibility point of view. , BlueTooth and the like.

The expansion unit has the correct interface for this. On the other hand, between the expansion unit 50 and the hearing aid 1, a tailor-made proprietary protocol is assumed, as a result of which the required electronics are less susceptible to malfunction and bulky, as well as require less power consumption, which respectively benefit the compactness and lifespan of the hearing aid. The interface required for this is also provided in the expansion unit.

25

Furthermore, the expansion unit is equipped with its own electronic memory, typically of the order of a few hundred Mb to several tens of Gb, with a view to personal data storage for the user. In addition to user-readable data files, this data can also comprise music or multimedia files which can then be listened to via the hearing aid. This is based on conventional semiconductor memory, such as (flash) EEPROM, which has a relatively low power consumption to store the data. For a smooth exchange of this and other data, the expansion unit 50 also has a standardized communication interface for exchanging data in the form of a USB (Universal Serial Bus) or similar port, which in Figure 8 is designated -22- a corresponding character 63. The same interface can be used for (re) loading an own power supply in the expansion unit and in any other peripheral equipment linked to it.

From the expansion unit, the processing device of the hearing aid can be programmed as desired and adjusted in that the expansion unit has a programming interface required for this that can be connected to a programming connector or interface of the hearing aid. The program data required for this can be loaded into the expansion unit as a firmware file, for example from the computer 57 and / or the Internet, and in turn, using the programming interface, can be loaded (upload) into the hearing aid by the expansion unit . The user is therefore not dependent on third parties for this.

Although the invention has been further elucidated above on the basis of a number of exemplary embodiments, it will be clear that the invention is by no means limited to the examples given, on the contrary many variations and forms of appearance are still possible within the scope of the invention for a person skilled in the art.

Thus, in the described example, a modest secondary supply in the in-the-ear part of the hearing aid is assumed, but in practice it can also be dispensed with, wherein the supply takes place entirely from the device housing over a supply connection provided for this purpose between both parts of the device. For the power source, the example is based on a rechargeable battery. Instead, it is also possible to resort to a "normal" once-usable (button cell) battery or to use interchangeable battery packs that can easily be taken out or taken out to be exchanged for a full charge and charged externally.

Conversely, the processing device can also be accommodated in the in-the-ear part instead of in the device housing, together with the loudspeaker and the microphone, so that signal lines can be saved between the two parts of the device.

In the example, the controls and connections of the device housing are covered by the corresponding casing. Instead, the casing can leave openings at the location of the operating members and connections so that they are always directly accessible. It is also possible to completely dispense with such a detachable jacket, wherein the wall of the device housing also forms the outer jacket. Moreover, thanks to the digital technology used, various and multiple functions can be assigned to the control buttons.

5

Instead of behind the ear, the device housing can also be adapted to be worn on, under or even in front of the ear, similar to an earring, the appearance of which can be adjusted aesthetically. If desired, the device housing can also be worn around the neck, optionally designed as jewelery, which places fewer restrictions on the weight and the size thereof.

In the example shown, the expansion unit has its own microphone. Instead, it is also possible to provide a coupling between the expansion unit and a microphone of the hearing aid, in which case a separate microphone in the expansion unit can be omitted without compromising on functionality. With a further miniaturization of the electronics used, it is also conceivable that the expansion unit can be fully or almost completely integrated into the device housing, whereby a multi-functional hearing aid is then obtained. In the example shown, the expansion unit provides a large number of additional functions.

However, it is possible to equip an expansion unit with only a part of these functions and it is also possible to add further functions to it. An expansion unit can thus be designed in different variants.

1 0 3 2 2 2 0

Claims (31)

1. Hearing aid comprising a device housing which is intended and adapted to be worn outside an ear of a user and which cooperates with an in-the-ear part which is provided with a sound output and which is intended and adapted to at least substantially to be received in the ear of the user, and comprising at least an electrical power source, a microphone, a loudspeaker and a processing device, for reproducing sound received via the microphone at least partially processed via the loudspeaker and from a sound output to a the hearing aid of the user, characterized in that the in-the-ear part is physically separated from the device housing, that at least the microphone and the loudspeaker are accommodated together with the sound output in the in-the-ear part and that at least during operation there is an electronic connection between the device housing and the in-the-ear part.
Hearing aid according to claim 1, characterized in that the in-the-ear part also comprises the processing device.
3. Hearing aid according to claim 1 or 2, characterized in that the device housing comprises a primary power source and that the in-the-ear part is provided with a secondary power source.
Hearing aid according to claim 3, characterized in that at least one of the primary and secondary power sources comprises a capacitor, in particular an ultra-capacitor. 25
Hearing aid according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that the electronic connection comprises a cord connection.
6. Hearing aid according to claim 5, characterized in that the cable connection comprises at least one end a connector for a detachable connection to at least one of the device housing and the in-the-ear part of the device.
7. Hearing aid according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that the electronic connection comprises a wireless connection for signal transmission. 35 1032220 -25-
8. Hearing aid as claimed in one or more of the foregoing claims, characterized in that the in-the-ear part comprises an inductive coupling element and the device housing an inductive transmitting element, which are capable of mutually cooperating in order to supply an electrical supply current from the device housing to maintain the in-the-ear part at least temporarily.
9. Hearing aid as claimed in one or more of the foregoing claims, characterized in that the in-the-ear part is accommodated in a separate outer casing which is capable and arranged to abut against a wall of an auditory canal, at least practically substantially sealed of the user.
Hearing aid according to claim 9, characterized in that the outer casing comprises at least one flexible slat for resiliently abutting the wall of the ear canal.
Hearing aid according to claim 9, characterized in that the outer sheath is adapted to the natural anatomy of the ear canal.
Hearing aid according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that the device housing is provided with at least one further microphone. 20
Hearing aid according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that the device housing is provided with an exchangeable outer shell.
14. Hearing aid comprising at least one electronic component and an electrical power supply for supplying the at least one electronic component, characterized in that the power supply comprises an ultra-condensator, comprising a capacity with, in a fully charged state, an energy-to-weight ratio more than approximately 1.0 Wh / kg, in particular between approximately 1 and 10 Wh / kg.
Hearing aid according to claim 14, characterized in that the ultra-condator is formed from a number of at least substantially parallel juxtaposed elongated dielectric tubes, in particular of carbon, with a diameter of the order of a few to several tens of nanometers and a length that is several thousand to several hundred thousand times larger than their diameter. 35-26
Hearing aid as claimed in claim 14 or 15, characterized in that a DC-DC converter is provided to receive a variable direct voltage from the ultra-capacitor and to deliver an at least substantially fixed, lower direct voltage and that the ultra-capacitor through the intervention of the DC-DC converter is coupled to the at least one electronic component to apply a substantially stable direct voltage thereto.
17. Hearing aid as claimed in claim 14, 15 or 16, characterized in that the ultra-capacitor is coupled to an inductive coupling element to, during operation, capture an externally applied electromagnetic induction field and receive it as a charging current thereof.
18. Hearing aid comprising a device housing and at least one electronic component, characterized in that electronic coupling means are provided for coupling to a portable external expansion unit, which may or may not be processor-controlled.
19. Hearing aid according to claim 18, characterized in that the coupling means comprise means for wireless signal transmission in accordance with a first protocol for wireless communication between the hearing aid and the basic device and in that the basic device is furthermore equipped with means for wireless signal transfer in accordance with a deviating, second protocol for wireless communication between the expansion unit and a further device.
20. Hearing aid as claimed in claim 18 or 19, characterized in that a rechargeable power source is used as a power source, the extension unit is provided with a further power source and that the coupling means comprise a power supply connection for feeding the rechargeable power source from the power source of the expansion unit .
Hearing aid according to claim 18, 19 or 20, characterized in that the expansion unit is provided with at least one further microphone.
Hearing aid according to one or more of claims 18 to 21, characterized in that the expansion unit is provided with coupling means for signal transmission from an external audio source to receive an audio signal therefrom - that the expansion unit is arranged and capable of receiving the audio signal to the hearing aid.
23. Hearing aid according to one or more of claims 18 to 22, characterized in that the expansion unit is provided with storage means for electronic data storage, in particular an electronically rewritable and readable semiconductor memory such as Flash EEPROM.
24. Hearing aid according to one or more of claims 18 to 23, characterized in that the expansion unit comprises a standardized communication interface for data exchange with a portable or non-portable computer, in particular one comprising a standard interface for data exchange, such as a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port or a Firewire connection.
Hearing aid according to one or more of claims 18 to 24, characterized in that the expansion unit is provided with a programming interface which is capable and adapted for data exchange with a corresponding programming interface of the hearing aid to adjust the processing device.
Hearing aid according to one or more of claims 18 to 25, characterized in that the expansion unit is connected to a necklace.
An expansion unit as applicable in the hearing aid according to one or more of claims 18 to 26. 25
28. Method for manufacturing a hearing aid with an in-judgment adapted and intended to be received in an ear from a user, wherein at least at the intended location an image of the ear is taken and wherein at least an outer casing is taken is derived from the judgment of the image, characterized in that a digital representation of the image is created, that an at least substantially form-retaining fitting body is introduced into the user's ear and fitting data is recorded thereof, that the digital representation based on the fitting data of the fitting body is adjusted if necessary and that faithfully derived from the possibly adjusted digital representation of the image, at least the outer casing of the judgment. -28-
Method according to claim 28, characterized in that the image comprises a contact print and that a digital representation of the print is obtained by means of a three-dimensional scan.
A method according to claim 28 or 29, characterized in that at least the outer casing of the in-judgment is formed directly from the adjusted digital representation from a suitable starting material.
31. Method as claimed in claim 28 or 29, characterized in that on the basis of the adjusted digital representation a mold is formed from a suitable starting material and that at least the outer casing of the in-judgment is formed in the mold.
NL1032220A 2006-07-21 2006-07-21 Hearing aid e.g. in-the-ear hearing aid, has in-the-ear unit physically separated from housing, to electronically connect with microphone and loudspeaker during reproducing sound to auditory organ of user via sound-emitting opening NL1032220C2 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

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NL1032220 2006-07-21
NL1032220A NL1032220C2 (en) 2006-07-21 2006-07-21 Hearing aid e.g. in-the-ear hearing aid, has in-the-ear unit physically separated from housing, to electronically connect with microphone and loudspeaker during reproducing sound to auditory organ of user via sound-emitting opening

Applications Claiming Priority (11)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
NL1032220A NL1032220C2 (en) 2006-07-21 2006-07-21 Hearing aid e.g. in-the-ear hearing aid, has in-the-ear unit physically separated from housing, to electronically connect with microphone and loudspeaker during reproducing sound to auditory organ of user via sound-emitting opening
NL1033281A NL1033281C2 (en) 2006-07-21 2007-01-25 Hearing aid, expansion unit and method for manufacturing a hearing aid.
PCT/NL2007/050359 WO2008010716A2 (en) 2006-07-21 2007-07-18 Hearing aid, expansion unit and method for manufacturing a hearing aid
BRPI0715205-1A BRPI0715205A2 (en) 2006-07-21 2007-07-18 Auxiliary hearing device, expansion unit, and method for manufacturing an auxiliary hearing device
EP07793860A EP2050307A2 (en) 2006-07-21 2007-07-18 Hearing aid, expansion unit and method for manufacturing a hearing aid
RU2009106042/28A RU2009106042A (en) 2006-07-21 2007-07-18 Hearing device, expansion module and method for producing hearing device
CNA200780033113XA CN101529928A (en) 2006-07-21 2007-07-18 Hearing aid, expansion unit and method for manufacturing a hearing aid
MX2009000742A MX2009000742A (en) 2006-07-21 2007-07-18 Hearing aid, expansion unit and method for manufacturing a hearing aid.
US12/374,490 US8798294B2 (en) 2006-07-21 2007-07-18 Hearing aid, expansion unit and method for manufacturing a hearing aid
JP2009520695A JP2009545201A (en) 2006-07-21 2007-07-18 Hearing aid, expansion unit, and method for manufacturing a hearing aid
AU2007275950A AU2007275950A1 (en) 2006-07-21 2007-07-18 Hearing aid, expansion unit and method for manufacturing a hearing aid

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