US20120039493A1 - Transducer devices and methods for hearing - Google Patents

Transducer devices and methods for hearing Download PDF

Info

Publication number
US20120039493A1
US20120039493A1 US13/069,282 US201113069282A US2012039493A1 US 20120039493 A1 US20120039493 A1 US 20120039493A1 US 201113069282 A US201113069282 A US 201113069282A US 2012039493 A1 US2012039493 A1 US 2012039493A1
Authority
US
United States
Prior art keywords
transducer
support
mass
eardrum
device
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status 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 status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US13/069,282
Inventor
Paul Rucker
Sunil Puria
Jonathan Fay
Micha Rosen
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
SoudBeam LLC
EarLens Corp
Original Assignee
SoudBeam LLC
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
Priority to US9908708P priority Critical
Priority to US10978508P priority
Priority to US13952608P priority
Priority to US21780109P priority
Priority to PCT/US2009/057716 priority patent/WO2010033932A1/en
Application filed by SoudBeam LLC filed Critical SoudBeam LLC
Priority to US13/069,282 priority patent/US20120039493A1/en
Assigned to SoundBeam LLC reassignment SoundBeam LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: ROSEN, MICHA, FAY, JONATHAN, PURIA, SUNIL, RUCKER, PAUL
Publication of US20120039493A1 publication Critical patent/US20120039493A1/en
Assigned to EARLENS CORPORATION reassignment EARLENS CORPORATION ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: SoundBeam LLC
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

Links

Images

Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R11/00Transducers of moving-armature or moving-core type
    • H04R11/02Loudspeakers
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R17/00Piezo-electric transducers; Electrostrictive transducers
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R23/00Transducers other than those covered by groups H04R9/00 - H04R21/00
    • H04R23/008Transducers other than those covered by groups H04R9/00 - H04R21/00 using optical signals for detecting or generating sound
    • 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
    • H04R25/02Deaf-aid sets, i.e. electro-acoustic or electro-mechanical hearing aids; Electric tinnitus maskers providing an auditory perception adapted to be supported entirely by ear
    • 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
    • H04R25/55Deaf-aid sets, i.e. electro-acoustic or electro-mechanical hearing aids; Electric tinnitus maskers providing an auditory perception using an external connection, either wireless or wired
    • H04R25/554Deaf-aid sets, i.e. electro-acoustic or electro-mechanical hearing aids; Electric tinnitus maskers providing an auditory perception using an external connection, either wireless or wired using a wireless connection, e.g. between microphone and amplifier or using Tcoils
    • 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
    • H04R25/60Mounting or interconnection of hearing aid parts, e.g. inside tips, housings or to ossicles
    • H04R25/604Mounting or interconnection of hearing aid parts, e.g. inside tips, housings or to ossicles of acoustic or vibrational transducers
    • H04R25/606Mounting or interconnection of hearing aid parts, e.g. inside tips, housings or to ossicles of acoustic or vibrational transducers acting directly on the eardrum, the ossicles or the skull, e.g. mastoid, tooth, maxillary or mandibular bone, or mechanically stimulating the cochlea, e.g. at the oval window
    • 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
    • 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
    • H04R2225/025In the ear hearing aids [ITE] hearing aids
    • 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
    • H04R2460/09Non-occlusive ear tips, i.e. leaving the ear canal open, for both custom and non-custom tips
    • 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
    • H04R2460/13Hearing devices using bone conduction transducers
    • 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
    • H04R25/652Ear tips; Ear moulds

Abstract

A device to transmit an audio signal to a user may comprise a mass, a piezoelectric transducer, and a support to support the mass and the piezoelectric transducer with the eardrum. The piezoelectric transducer can be configured to drive the support and the eardrum with a first force and the mass with a second force opposite the first force. The device may comprise circuitry configured to receive wireless power and wireless transmission of an audio signal, and the circuitry can be supported with the eardrum to drive the transducer in response to the audio signal, such that vibration between the circuitry and the transducer can be decreased. The transducer can be positioned away from the umbo of the ear to drive the eardrum, for example on the lateral process of the malleus.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • The present application is a continuation of PCT/US2009/057716 (Attorney Docket No. 026166-002010PC), filed Sep. 22, 2009, which claims priority to U.S. Patent Application Nos. 61/139,526 filed Dec. 19, 2008 (Attorney Docket No. 026166-00230005, entitled “Balanced Armature Devices and Methods for Hearing”; 61/217,801 filed on Jun. 3, 2009 (Attorney Docket No. 026166-002310US); 61/099,087 filed Sep. 22, 2008 (Attorney Docket No. 026166-002000US), entitled “Transducer Devices and Methods for Hearing”; and 61/109,785 filed Oct. 30, 2008 (Attorney Docket No. 026166-002010US), entitled “Transducer Devices and Methods for Hearing”; the full disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • STATEMENT AS TO RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
  • This invention was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (Grant No. R44DC008499-02A1). The Government may have certain rights in this invention.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention is related to hearing systems, devices and methods. Although specific reference is made to hearing aid systems, embodiments of the present invention can be used in many applications in which a signal is used to stimulate the ear.
  • People like to hear. Hearing allows people to listen to and understand others. Natural hearing can include spatial cues that allow a user to hear a speaker, even when background noise is present.
  • Hearing devices can be used with communication systems to help the hearing impaired. Hearing impaired subjects need hearing aids to verbally communicate with those around them. Open canal hearing aids have proven to be successful in the marketplace because of increased comfort and an improved cosmetic appearance. Another reason why open canal hearing aides can be popular is reduced occlusion of the ear canal. Occlusion can result in an unnatural, tunnel-like hearing effect which can be caused by large hearing aids which block the ear canal. In at least some instances, occlusion be noticed by the user when he or she speaks and the occlusion results in an unnatural sound during speech. However, a problem that may occur with open canal hearing aids is feedback. The feedback may result from placement of the microphone in too close proximity with the speaker or the amplified sound being too great. Thus, feedback can limit the degree of sound amplification that a hearing aid can provide. Although feedback can be decreased by placing the microphone outside the ear canal, this placement can result in the device providing an unnatural sound that is devoice of the spatial location information cues present with natural hearing.
  • In some instances, feedback may be decreased by using non-acoustic means of stimulating the natural hearing transduction pathway, for example stimulating the tympanic membrane, bones of the ossicular chain and/or the cochlea. An output transducer may be placed on the eardrum, the ossicles in the middle ear, or the cochlea to stimulate the hearing pathway. Such an output transducer may be electro magnetically based. For example, the transducer may comprise a magnet and coil placed on the ossicles to stimulate the hearing pathway. Surgery is often needed to place a hearing device on the ossicles or cochlea, and such surgery can be somewhat invasive in at least some instances. At least some of the known methods of placing an electromagnetic transducer on the eardrum may result in occlusion in some instances.
  • One promising approach has been to place a magnet on the eardrum and drive the magnet with a coil positioned away from the eardrum. The magnets can be electromagnetically driven with a coil to cause motion in the hearing transduction pathway thereby causing neural impulses leading to the sensation of hearing. A permanent magnet may be coupled to the ear drum through the use of a fluid and surface tension, for example as described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,259,032 and 6,084,975.
  • However, there is still room for improvement. For example, with a magnet positioned on the eardrum and coil positioned away from the magnet, the strength of the magnetic field generated to drive the magnet may decrease rapidly with the distance from the driver coil to the permanent magnet. Because of this rapid decrease in strength over distance, efficiency of the energy to drive the magnet may be less than ideal. Also, placement of the driver coil near the magnet may cause discomfort for the user in some instances. There can also be a need to align the driver coil with the permanent magnet that may, in some instances, cause the performance to be less than ideal.
  • For the above reasons, it would be desirable to provide hearing systems which at least decrease, or even avoid, at least some of the above mentioned limitations of the current hearing devices. For example, there is a need to provide a comfortable hearing device which provides hearing with natural qualities, for example with spatial information cues, and which allow the user to hear with less occlusion, distortion and feedback than current devices.
  • 2. Description of the Background Art
  • Patents and publications that may be relevant to the present application include: U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,585,416; 3,764,748; 3,882,285; 5,142,186; 5,554,096; 5,624,376; 5,795,287; 5,800,336; 5,825,122; 5,857,958; 5,859,916; 5,888,187; 5,897,486; 5,913,815; 5,949,895; 6,005,955; 6,068,590; 6,093,144; 6,139,488; 6,174,278; 6,190,305; 6,208,445; 6,217,508; 6,222,302; 6,241,767; 6,422,991; 6,475,134; 6,519,376; 6,620,110; 6,626,822; 6,676,592; 6,728,024; 6,735,318; 6,900,926; 6,920,340; 7,072,475; 7,095,981; 7,239,069; 7,289,639; D512,979; 2002/0086715; 2003/0142841; 2004/0234092; 2005/0020873; 2006/0107744; 2006/0233398; 2006/075175; 2007/0083078; 2007/0191673; 2008/0021518; 2008/0107292; commonly owned U.S. Pat. No. 5,259,032 (Attorney Docket No. 026166-000500US); U.S. Pat. No. 5,276,910 (Attorney Docket No. 026166-000600US); U.S. Pat. No. 5,425,104 (Attorney Docket No. 026166-000700US); U.S. Pat. No. 5,804,109 (Attorney Docket No. 026166-000200US); U.S. Pat. No. 6,084,975 (Attorney Docket No. 026166-000300US); U.S. Pat. No. 6,554,761 (Attorney Docket No. 026166-001700US); U.S. Pat. No. 6,629,922 (Attorney Docket No. 026166-001600US); U.S. Publication Nos. 2006/0023908 (Attorney Docket No. 026166-000100US); 2006/0189841 (Attorney Docket No. 026166-000820US); 2006/0251278 (Attorney Docket No. 026166-000900US); and 2007/0100197 (Attorney Docket No. 026166-001100US). Non-U.S. patents and publications that may be relevant include EP1845919 PCT Publication Nos. WO 03/063542; WO 2006/075175; U.S. Publication Nos. Journal publications that may be relevant include: Ayatollahi et al., “Design and Modeling of Micromachines Condenser MEMS Loudspeaker using Permanent Magnet Neodymium-Iron-Boron (Nd—Fe—B)”, ISCE, Kuala Lampur, 2006; Birch et al, “Microengineered Systems for the Hearing Impaired”, IEE, London, 1996; Cheng et al., “A silicon microspeaker for hearing instruments”, J. Micromech. Microeng., 14 (2004) 859-866; Yi et al., “Piezoelectric microspeaker with compressive nitride diaphragm”, IEEE, 2006, and Zhigang Wang et al., “Preliminary Assessment of Remote Photoelectric Excitation of an Actuator for a Hearing Implant”, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology 27th Annual Conference, Shanghai, China, Sep. 1-4, 2005. Other publications of interest include: Gennum GA3280 Preliminary Data Sheet, “Voyager TD™. Open Platform DSP System for Ultra Low Power Audio Processing” and National Semiconductor LM4673 Data Sheet, “LM4673 Filterless, 2.65 W, Mono, Class D audio Power Amplifier”; Puria, S. et al., Middle ear morphometry from cadaveric temporal bone microCT imaging, Invited Talk. MEMRO 2006, Zurich; Puria, S. et al, A gear in the middle ear ARO 2007, Baltimore, Md.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention is related to hearing systems, devices and methods. Although specific reference is made to hearing aid systems, embodiments of the present invention can be used in many applications in which a signal is used to stimulate the ear.
  • Embodiments of the present invention can provide improved hearing which overcomes at least some of the aforementioned limitations of current systems. In many embodiments, a device to transmit an audio signal to a user may comprise a transducer assembly comprising a mass, a piezoelectric transducer, and a support to support the mass and the piezoelectric transducer with the eardrum. The piezoelectric transducer can be configured to drive the support and the eardrum with a first force and the mass with a second force opposite the first force. This driving of the ear drum and support with a force opposite the mass can result in more direct driving of the eardrum, and can improve coupling of the vibration of transducer to the eardrum. The transducer assembly device may comprise circuitry configured to receive wireless power and wireless transmission of an audio signal, and the circuitry can be supported with the eardrum to drive the transducer in response to the audio signal, such that vibration between the circuitry and the transducer can be decreased. The wireless signal may comprise an electromagnetic signal produced with a coil, or an electromagnetic signal comprising light energy produce with a light source. In at least some embodiments, at least one of the transducer or the mass can be positioned on the support away from the umbo of the ear when the support is coupled to the eardrum to drive the eardrum, so as to decrease motion of the transducer and decrease user perceived occlusion, for example when the user speaks. This positioning of the transducer and/or the mass away from the umbo, for example on the short process of the malleus, may allow a transducer with a greater mass to be used and may even amplify the motion of the transducer with the malleus. In at least some embodiments, the transducer may comprise a plurality of transducers to drive the malleus with both a hinging rotational motion and a twisting motion, which can result in more natural motion of the malleus and can improve transmission of the audio signal to the user.
  • In a first aspect, embodiments of the present invention provide a device to transmit an audio signal to a user. The user has an ear comprising an ear drum. The device comprises a mass, a piezoelectric transducer, and a support to support the mass and the piezoelectric transducer with the eardrum. The piezoelectric transducer is configured to drive the support and the eardrum with a first force and the mass with a second force opposite the first force.
  • In many embodiments, the piezoelectric transducer is disposed between the mass and the support.
  • In many embodiments, the device further comprises at least one flexible structure disposed between the piezoelectric transducer and the mass.
  • In many embodiments, the piezoelectric transducer is magnetically coupled to the support.
  • In many embodiments, the piezoelectric transducer comprises a first portion connected to the mass and a second portion connected to the support to drive the mass opposite the support.
  • In many embodiments, the support comprises a first side shaped to conform with the eardrum. A protrusion can be disposed opposite the first side and affixed to the piezoelectric transducer.
  • In many embodiments, the device further comprises a fluid disposed between the first side and the eardrum to couple the support to the eardrum. The fluid may comprise a liquid composed of at least one of an oil, a mineral oil, a silicone oil or a hydrophobic liquid. In some embodiments, the support comprises a second side disposed opposite the first side and the protrusion extends from the second side to the piezoelectric transducer.
  • In many embodiments, the support comprises a first component and a second component. The first component may comprise a flexible material shaped to conform to the eardrum and flex with motion of the eardrum. The second component may comprise a rigid material extending from the transducer to the flexible material to transmit the first force to the flexible material and the eardrum. In at least some embodiments, the rigid material comprises at least one of a metal, titanium, a stainless steel or a rigid plastic, and the flexible material comprises at least one of a silicone, a flexible plastic or a gel.
  • In many embodiments, the device further comprises a housing, the housing rigidly affixed to the mass to move the housing and the mass opposite the support. In some embodiments, the support comprises a rigid material that extends through the housing to the transducer to move the mass and the housing opposite the support.
  • In many embodiments, the mass comprises circuitry coupled to the transducer and supported with the support and the transducer. The circuitry is configured to receive wireless power and wireless transmission of the audio signal to drive the transducer in response to the audio signal.
  • In many embodiments, the piezoelectric transducer comprises at least one of a piezoelectric unimorph transducer, a bimorph-bender piezoelectric transducer, a piezoelectric multimorph transducer, a stacked piezoelectric transducer with a mechanical multiplier or a ring piezoelectric transducer with a mechanical multiplier.
  • In some embodiments, the piezoelectric transducer comprises the bimorph-bender piezoelectric transducer and the mass comprises a first mass and a second mass. The bimorph bender comprises a cantilever extending from a first end supporting the first mass to a second end supporting the second mass. The support is coupled to the cantilever between the first end and the second end to drive the ear drum with the first force and drive the first mass and the second mass with the second force.
  • In some embodiments, the piezoelectric transducer comprises the stacked piezoelectric transducer with the mechanical multiplier. The mechanical multiplier comprises a first side coupled to the support to drive the eardrum with the first force and a second side coupled to the mass to drive the mass with the second force.
  • In some embodiments, the piezoelectric transducer comprises the ring piezoelectric transducer with the mechanical multiplier. The mechanical multiplier comprises a first side and a second side. The first side extends inwardly from the ring piezoelectric transducer to the mass. The second side extends inwardly toward a protrusion of the support. The mass moves away from the protrusion of the support when the ring contracts and toward the protrusion of the support when the ring expands. The ring piezoelectric multiplier may define a center having central axis extending there through. The central protrusion and the mass may be disposed along the central axis.
  • In some embodiments, the piezoelectric transducer comprises the bimorph bender. The mass comprises a ring having a central aperture formed thereon. The bimorph bender extends across the ring with a first end and a second end coupled to the ring. The support extends through the aperture and connects to the piezoelectric transducer between the first end and the second end to move the support opposite the ring when the bimorph bender bends. The bimorph bender can be connected to the ring with an adhesive on the first end and the second end such that the first end and the second end are configured to move relative to the ring with shear motion when the bimorph bender bends to drive the support opposite the ring.
  • In another aspect, embodiments of the present invention provide a device to transmit an audio signal to a user. The user has an ear comprising an eardrum. The device comprises a transducer, circuitry coupled to the transducer, and a support configured to couple to the eardrum and support the circuitry and the transducer with the eardrum. The circuitry is configured to receive at least one of wireless power or wireless transmission of the audio signal to drive the transducer in response to the audio signal.
  • In many embodiments, the transducer is configured to drive the support and the eardrum with a first force and drive the circuitry with a second force opposite the first force.
  • In many embodiments, the circuitry is rigidly attached to a mass and coupled to the transducer to drive the circuitry and the mass with the first force. In some embodiments, the circuitry is rigidly attached to the mass and coupled to the transducer to drive the circuitry and the mass with the second force.
  • In many embodiments, the circuitry is flexibly attached to a mass and coupled to the transducer to drive the circuitry and the mass with the first force. In some embodiments, the circuitry is flexibly attached to the mass and coupled to the transducer to drive the circuitry and the mass with the second force.
  • In many embodiments, the circuitry comprises at least one of a photodetector or a coil supported with the support and coupled to the transducer to drive the transducer with the at least one of the wireless power or wireless transmission of the audio signal.
  • In many embodiments, the transducer comprises at least one of a piezoelectric transducer, a magnetostrictive transducer, a magnet or a coil.
  • In another aspect, embodiments of the invention provide a device to transmit an audio signal to a user. The user has an ear comprising an eardrum having a mechanical impedance. The device comprises a transducer and a support to support the transducer with the eardrum. A combined mass of the support and the transducer supported thereon is configured to match the mechanical impedance of the eardrum for at least one audible frequency between about 0.8 kHz and about 10 kHz.
  • In many embodiments, the combined mass comprises no more than about 50 mg. In some embodiments, the combined mass is within a range from about 10 mg to about 40 mg.
  • In many embodiments, the combined mass comprises at least one of a mass from circuitry to drive the transducer, a mass from a housing disposed over the transducer or a metallic mass coupled to the transducer opposite the support. In some embodiments, the transducer, the circuitry to drive the transducer, the housing disposed over the transducer and the metallic mass are supported with the eardrum when the support is coupled to the eardrum.
  • In many embodiments, at least one audible frequency is between about 1 kHz and about 6 KHz.
  • In many embodiments, the transducer and the mass are positioned on the support to place at least one of the transducer or the mass away from an umbo of the eardrum when the support is placed on the eardrum. This positioning can decrease a mechanical impedance of the support to sound transmitted with the eardrum when the support is positioned on the eardrum.
  • In many embodiments, the piezoelectric transducer comprises a stiffness. The stiffness of the piezoelectric transducer is matched to the mechanical impedance of the eardrum for the at least one audible frequency.
  • In many embodiments, the eardrum comprises an umbo and the acoustic input impedance comprises an acoustic impedance of the umbo. The stiffness of the piezoelectric transducer is matched to the acoustic input impedance of the umbo.
  • In another aspect, embodiments of the present invention provide a device to transmit an audio signal to a user. The user has an ear comprising an eardrum and a malleus connected to the ear drum at an umbo. The device comprises a transducer and a support to support the transducer with the eardrum. The transducer is configured to drive the eardrum. The transducer is positioned on the support to extend away from the umbo when the support is placed on the eardrum.
  • In many embodiments, a mass is positioned on the support for placement away from the umbo when the support is placed against the eardrum, and the transducer extends between the mass and a position on the support that corresponds to the umbo so as to couple vibration of the transducer to the umbo. The mass can be positioned on the support to align the mass with the malleus away from the umbo when the support is placed against the eardrum.
  • In many embodiments, the transducer is positioned on the support so as to decrease a first movement of the transducer relative to a second movement of the umbo when the eardrum vibrates and to amplify the second movement of the umbo relative to the first movement of the transducer when the transducer vibrates. In some embodiments, the first movement of the transducer is no more than about 75% of the second movement of the umbo and the second movement of the umbo is at least about 25% more than the first movement of the transducer. The first movement of the transducer may be no more than about 67% of the second movement of the umbo and the second movement of the umbo may be at least about 50% more than the first movement of the transducer.
  • In many embodiments, the device further comprises a mass, and the transducer is disposed between the mass and the support.
  • In many embodiments, the support is shaped to the eardrum of the user to position the support on the eardrum in a pre-determined orientation. The transducer is positioned on the support to align the transducer with a malleus of the user with the eardrum disposed between the malleus and the support when the support is placed on the eardrum. In some embodiments, the support comprises a shape from a mold of the eardrum of the user.
  • In many embodiments, the transducer is positioned on the support to place the transducer away from a tip of the malleus when the support is placed On the eardrum.
  • In many embodiments, the transducer is positioned on the support to place the transducer away from the tip when the support is positioned on the eardrum. The malleus comprises a head and a handle. The handle extends from the head to a tip near the umbo of the eardrum.
  • In many embodiments, the transducer is positioned on the support to align the transducer with the lateral process of the malleus with the eardrum disposed between the lateral process and the support when the support is placed on the eardrum. In some embodiments, the support comprises a rigid material that extends from the transducer toward the lateral process to move the lateral process opposite the mass.
  • In many embodiments, the transducer comprises at least one of a piezoelectric transducer, a magnetostrictive transducer, a photostrictive transducer, a coil or a magnet.
  • In many embodiments, the transducer comprises the piezoelectric transducer. The piezoelectric transducer may comprise a cantilevered bimorph bender, which has a first end anchored to the support and a second end attached to a mass to drive the mass opposite the lateral process when the support is placed on the eardrum.
  • In many embodiments, the device further comprises a mass coupled to the transducer and circuitry coupled to the transducer to drive the transducer. The mass and the circuitry is supported with the eardrum when the support is placed on the ear. The support, the transducer, the mass and the circuitry comprise a combined mass of no more than about 60 mg, for example, a combined mass of no more than about 40 mg or even a combined mass of no more than 30 mg.
  • In another aspect, embodiments of the present invention provide a device to transmit an audio signal to a user. The user has an ear comprising an ear drum. The device comprises a first transducer, a second transducer, and a support to support the first transducer and the second transducer with the eardrum when the support is placed against the eardrum. The first transducer is positioned on the support to couple to a first side of the malleus. The second transducer positioned on the support to couple to a second side of the malleus.
  • In many embodiments, the first transducer is positioned on the support to couple to the first side of the malleus and the second transducer is positioned on the support to coupled to the second side of the malleus which is opposite the first side of the malleus.
  • In many embodiments, the support comprises a first protrusion extending to the first transducer to couple the first side of the malleus to the first transducer and a second protrusion extending to the second transducer to couple the second side of the malleus to the second transducer.
  • In many embodiments, the first transducer and second transducer are positioned on the support and configured to twist the malleus with a first rotation about a longitudinal axis of the malleus when the first transducer and second transducer move in opposite directions. The first transducer and second transducer can be positioned on the support and configured to rotate the malleus with a second hinged rotation when the first transducer and second transducer move in similar directions.
  • In many embodiments, the device further comprises circuitry coupled to the first transducer and the second transducer. The circuitry is configured to generate a first signal to drive the transducer and a second signal to drive the second transducer. In some embodiments, the circuitry is configured to generate the first signal at least partially out of phase with the second signal and drive the malleus with a twisting motion. The circuitry can be configured to drive the first transducer substantially in phase with the second transducer at a first frequency below about 1 kHz, and the circuitry can be configured to drive the first transducer at least about ten degrees out of phase with the second transducer at a second frequency above at least about 2 kHz.
  • In many embodiments, the first transducer comprises at least one of a first piezoelectric transducer, a first coil and magnet transducer, a first magnetostrictive transducer or a first photostrictive transducer, and the second transducer comprises at least one of a second piezoelectric transducer, a second coil and magnet transducer, a second magnetostrictive transducer or a second photostrictive transducer.
  • In another aspect, embodiments of the present invention provide a method of transmitting an audio signal to a user. The user has an ear comprising an eardrum. The method comprises supporting a mass and a piezoelectric transducer with a support on the eardrum of the user and driving the support and the eardrum with a first force and the mass with a second force, the second force opposite the first force.
  • In many embodiments, the ear comprises a mechanical impedance. The mass, the piezoelectric transducer and the support comprise a combined mechanical impedance. The combined mechanical impedance matches the mechanical impedance of the eardrum for at least one audible frequency within a range from about I kHz to about 6 KHz.
  • In another aspect, embodiments of the present invention provide a method of transmitting an audio signal to a user. The user has an ear comprising an eardrum. The method comprises supporting circuitry and a transducer coupled to the circuitry with the eardrum and transmitting the audio signal with a wireless signal to the circuitry to drive the transducer in response to the audio signal.
  • In another aspect, embodiments of the present invention provide a method of transmitting an audio signal to a user. The user has an ear comprising an eardrum having a mechanical impedance. The method comprises supporting a transducer and a support coupled to the eardrum with the eardrum. A combined mass of the support and the transducer supported thereon matches the mechanical impedance of the eardrum for at least one audible frequency between about 0.8 kHz and about 10 kHz.
  • In another aspect, embodiments of the present invention provide a method of transmitting an audio signal to a user. The user has an ear comprising an eardrum and a malleus connected to the ear drum at an umbo. The method comprises supporting a transducer with a support positioned on the eardrum and vibrating the support and the eardrum with the transducer positioned away from the umbo. In many embodiments, a first movement of the transducer is decreased relative to a second movement of the umbo when the eardrum is vibrated and the second movement of the umbo is amplified relative to the first movement of the transducer.
  • In another aspect, embodiments of the present invention provide a method of transmitting an audio signal to a user. The user has an ear comprising an eardrum and a malleus connected to the eardrum at an umbo. The method comprises supporting a first transducer and a second transducer with a support positioned on the eardrum. The first transducer and the second transducer are driven in response to the audio signal to the twist the malleus such that the malleus rotates about an elongate longitudinal axis of the malleus.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • A hearing aid system using wireless signal transduction is shown in FIG. 1, according to embodiments of the present invention;
  • FIG. 1A shows the lateral side of the eardrum and FIG. 1B shows the medial side of the eardrum, suitable for incorporation of the hearing aid system of FIG. 1;
  • FIGS. 1C and 1D show the eardrum coupled to the ossicles including the malleus, incus, and stapes, and locations of attachment for the hearing aid system shown in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 2 shows the sensitivity of silicon photovoltaics to different wavelengths of light, suitable for incorporation with the system of FIGS. 1A to 1D;
  • FIG. 3 shows the mechanical impedance of the eardrum in relation to that of various masses, in accordance with the system of FIGS. 1A to 2;
  • FIG. 4 shows a simply supported bimorph bender, in accordance with the systems of FIGS. 1A to 3;
  • FIG. 5A shows a cantilevered bimorph bender, in accordance with the system of FIGS. 1A to 3;
  • FIG. 5B shows cantilevered bimorph bender which includes a first mass and a second mass, in accordance with the system of FIGS. 1A to 3;
  • FIG. 6 shows a stacked piezo with mechanical multiplier, in accordance with the system of FIGS. 1A to 3;
  • FIG. 7 shows a narrow ring piezo with a mechanical multiplier, in accordance with the system of FIGS. 1A to 3;
  • FIG. 8 shows a ring mass with bimorph piezo, in accordance with the system of FIGS. 1A to 3;
  • FIGS. 8A and 8B show a cross-sectional view and a top view, respectively, of a ring mass with bimorph piezo, in accordance with the system of FIGS. 1A to 3;
  • FIGS. 8B1 and 8B2 shows a perspective view of ring mass with a bimorph piezo with flexible structures to couple the bimorph piezo to the ring mass, in accordance with the system of FIGS. 1A to 3;
  • FIGS. 8C and 8D show a cross-sectional view and a top view, respectively, of a ring mass with dual bimorph piezo, in accordance with the systems of FIGS. 1A to 3;
  • FIG. 8E shows a plot of phase difference versus frequency for the first and second transducers of the dual bimorph piezo of FIGS. 8C and 8D;
  • FIG. 9 shows a simply supported bimorph bender with a housing, in accordance with the systems of FIGS. 1A to 4;
  • FIG. 9A shows an optically powered output transducer, in accordance with the systems of FIGS. 1A to 3;
  • FIG. 9B shows a magnetically powered output transducer, in accordance with the systems of FIGS. 1A to 3;
  • shows a cantilevered bimorph bender placed on the eardrum away from the umbo and on the lateral process, in accordance with the systems of FIGS. 1A to 3;
  • FIG. 10A shows an output transducer assembly comprising a cantilevered bimorph bender placed on the ear drum with a mass on the lateral process away from the umbo and an elongate member comprising a cantilever extending from the mass toward the umbo so as to couple to the eardrum at the umbo, in accordance with the systems of FIGS. 1A to 3;
  • FIG. 10B shows the cantilevered bimorph bender of FIG. 10A from another view;
  • FIG. 11 shows a side view of a transducer comprising two cantilevered bimorph benders placed on different locations on the eardrum, in accordance with the systems of FIGS. 1A to 3;
  • FIG. 11A shows two cantilevered bimorph benders placed on the ear drum over the umbo and the lateral process, in accordance with the systems of FIGS. 1A to 3;
  • FIG. 12 shows an exemplary graph of simulation results for an output transducers in accordance with the systems of FIGS. 1A to 3;
  • FIG. 13A shows a stacked piezo and FIG. 13B shows a plot of displacement per voltage for the stacked piezo of FIG. 13A;
  • FIG. 14A shows a series bimorph and FIG. 14B shows a plot of displacement per voltage for the series bimorph of FIG. 14A;
  • FIG. 15A shows a single crystal bimorph cantilever and FIG. 15B shows a plot of displacement per voltage for the single crystal bimorph cantilever of FIG. 15A;
  • FIG. 16A shows a bimorph on a washer and FIG. 16B shows a plot of displacement per voltage for the bimorph on a washer of FIG. 16A;
  • FIG. 17A shows a stacked piezo pair, FIG. 17B shows a plot of displacement per voltage for the stacked piezo pair of FIG. 17A, and FIG. 17C shows a plot of lever ratio for the stacked piezo pair of FIG. 17C;
  • FIG. 18A shows a plot of peak output for a bimorph piezo placed on the umbo, and FIG. 18B shows a plot of feedback for a bimorph piezo placed on the umbo;
  • FIG. 19A shows a plot of peak output for a bimorph piezo placed on the center of pressure on an eardrum, and FIG. 19B shows a plot of feedback for a biomorph piezo placed on the center of pressure on an eardrum; and
  • FIG. 20A shows a plot of peak output for a stacked piezo placed on the center of pressure on an eardrum, and FIG. 20B shows a plot of feedback for a stacked piezo placed on the center of pressure on an eardrum.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Embodiments of the present invention can provide optically coupled hearing devices with improved audio signal transmission. The systems, devices, and methods described herein may find application for hearing devices, for example open ear canal hearing aides. Although specific reference is made to hearing aid systems, embodiments of the present invention can be used in any application in which a signal is wirelessly received and converted into a mechanical output.
  • As used herein, the umbo of the eardrum encompasses a portion of the eardrum that extends most medially along the ear canal, so as to include a tip, or vertex of the ear canal. As used herein, a twisting motion and/or twisting encompass a rotation of an elongate body about an elongate axis extending along the elongate body, for example rotation of a rigid elongate bone about an elongate axis of the bone. Twisting as used herein encompasses rotation of the elongate body both with torsion of the elongate body about the elongate axis and also without torsion of the elongate body about the elongate axis. As used herein torsion encompasses a strain, or deformation, that can occur with twisting, such that one part of the elongate body twists, or rotates, more than another part of the elongate body.
  • FIG. 1 shows a hearing aid system using wireless signal transduction. The hearing system 10 includes an input transducer assembly 20 and an output transducer assembly 30. Hearing system 10 may comprise a behind the ear unit BTE. Behind the ear unit BTE may comprise many components of system 10 such as a speech processor, battery, wireless transmission circuitry and input transducer assembly 10. Behind the ear unit BTE may comprise many component as described in U.S. Pat. Pub. Nos. 2007/0100197, entitled “Output transducers for hearing systems”; and 2006/0251278, entitled “ Hearing system having improved high frequency response”. The input transducer assembly 20 is located at least partially behind the pinna P, although an input transducer assembly may be located at many sites such as in pinna P or entirely within ear canal EC. The input transducer assembly 20 can receive a sound input, for example an audio sound. With hearing aids for hearing impaired individuals, the input can be ambient sound. The input transducer assembly comprises an input transducer, for example a microphone 22. Microphone 22 can be positioned in many locations such as behind the ear, if appropriate. Microphone 22 is shown positioned within ear canal near the opening to detect spatial localization cues from the ambient sound. The input transducer assembly can include a suitable amplifier or other electronic interface. In some embodiments, the input may comprise an electronic sound signal from a sound producing or receiving device, such as a telephone, a cellular telephone, a Bluetooth connection, a radio, a digital audio unit, and the like.
  • Input transducer assembly 20 includes a signal output source 12 which may comprise an electromagnetic source such as a light source such as an LED or a laser diode, an electromagnet, an RF source, or the like. Alternatively, an amplifier of the input assembly may be coupled to the output transducer assembly with a conductor such as a flexible wire, conductive trace on a flex printed circuitry board, or the like. The signal output source can produce an output signal based on the sound input. Output transducer assembly 30 can receive the output source signal and can produce mechanical vibrations in response. Output transducer assembly 30 may comprise a transducer responsive to the electromagnetic signal, for example at least one photodetector, a coil responsive to the electromagnet, a magnetostrictve element, a photostrictive element, a piezoelectric element, or the like. When properly coupled to the subject's hearing transduction pathway, the mechanical vibrations caused by output transducer assembly 30 can induce neural impulses in the subject which can be interpreted by the subject as the original sound input.
  • The output transducer assembly 30 can be configured to couple to a point along the hearing transduction pathway of the subject in order to induce neural impulses which can be interpreted as sound by the subject. As shown in FIG. 1, the output transducer assembly 30 may be coupled to the tympanic membrane or eardrum TM. Output transducer assembly 30 may be supported on the eardrum TM by a support, housing, mold, or the like shaped to conform with the shape of the eardrum TM. A fluid may be disposed between the eardrum TM and the output transducer assembly 30 such as an oil, a mineral oil, a silicone oil, a hydrophobic liquid, or the like. Output transducer assembly 30 can cause the eardrum TM to move in a first direction 40 and in a second direction 45 opposite the first direction 40, such that output transducer assembly 30 may cause the eardrum TM to vibrate. Specific points of attachment are described in prior U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,259,032; and 6,084,975, the full disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference and may be suitable for combination with some embodiments of the present invention.
  • FIG. 1A shows structures of the ear suitable for placement of the output transducer assembly from the lateral side of the eardrum TM, and FIG. 1B shows structures of the ear from the medial side of the eardrum TM. The eardrum TM is connected to a malleus ML. Malleus ML comprises a head H, a manubrium MA, a lateral process LP, and a tip T. Manubrium MA is disposed between head H and tip T and coupled to eardrum TM, such that the malleus ML vibrates with vibration of eardrum TM.
  • FIG. 1C. shows output transducer assembly 30 coupled to the eardrum TM on the umbo UM to transmit vibration so that the user can perceive sound. Eardrum TM is coupled to the ossicles including the malleus ML, incus IN, and stapes ST. The manubrium MA of the malleus ML can be firmly attached to eardrum TM. The most depressed or concaved point of the eardrum TM comprises the umbo UM. Malleus ML comprises a first axis 110, a second axis 113 and a third axis 115. Incus IN comprises a first axis 120, a second axis 123 and a third axis 125. Stapes ST comprises a first axis 130, a second axis 133 and a third axis 135.
  • The axes of the malleus ML, incus IN and stapes ST can be defined based on moments of inertia. The first axis may comprise a minimum moment of inertia for each bone. The second axis comprises a maximum moment of inertia for each bone. The first axis can be orthogonal to the second axis. The third axis extends between the first and second axes, for example such that the first, second and third axes comprise a right handed triple. For example first axis 110 of malleus ML may comprise the minimum moment of inertia of the malleus. Second axis 113 of malleus ML may comprise the maximum moment of inertia of malleus ML. Third axis 115 of malleus ML can extend perpendicular to the first and second axis, for example as the third component of a right handed triple defined by first axis 110 and second axis 113. Further first axis 120 of incus IN may comprise the minimum moment of inertia of the incus. Second axis 123 of incus IN may comprise the maximum moment of inertia of incus IN. Third axis 125 of incus IN can extend perpendicular to the first and second axis, for example as the third component of a right handed triple defined by first axis 120 and second axis 123. First axis 130 of stapes ST may comprise the minimum moment of inertia of the stapes. Second axis 133 of stapes ST may comprise the maximum moment of inertia of stapes ST. Third axis 135 of stapes ST can extend perpendicular to the first and second axis, for example as the third component of a right handed triple defined by first axis 130 and second axis 133.
  • Vibration of the output transducer system induces vibration of eardrum TM and malleus ML that is transmitted to stapes ST via Incus IN, such that the user perceives sound. Low frequency vibration of eardrum TM at umbo UM can cause hinged rotational movement 125A of malleus ML and incus IN about axis 125. Translation at umbo UM and causes a hinged rotational movement 125B of the tip T of malleus ML and hinged rotational movement 125A of malleus ML and incus IN about axis 125, which causes the stapes to translate along axis 135 and transmits vibration to the cochlea. Vibration of eardrum TM, for example at higher frequencies, may also cause malleus ML to twist about elongate first malleus axis 110 in a twisting movement 110A. Such twisting may comprise twisting movement 110B on the tip T of the malleus ML. The twisting of malleus ML about first malleus axis 110 may cause the incus IN to twist about first incus axis 120. Such rotation of the incus can cause the stapes to transmit the vibration to the cochlea where the vibration is perceived as sound by the user.
  • With the output transducer assembly positioned over the eardrum TM on the umbo UM, the combined mass of the output transducer assembly can be from about 10 to about 60 mg, for example from about 10 to about 40 mg. In some embodiments, the combined mass comprises no more than about 50 mg. The combined mass may comprise the mass of the support, the transducer, a mass opposite the support and/or the circuitry to receive a wireless signal and drive the transducer. The support can be configured to support the transducer, a mass opposite the support and/or the circuitry to receive a wireless signal and drive the transducer with the eardrum when the support is placed against the eardrum.
  • FIG. 1D shows output transducer assembly 30 coupled on the TM away from umbo UM, for example over the lateral process LP of the malleus ML. Output transducer assembly 30 may be placed on other parts of the eardrum as well. Depending on the placement of output transducer assembly 30 on the eardrum TM, the mechanical impedance of the output transducer assembly 30 and the eardrum TM may vary. Placement of output transducer assembly 30 away from the umbo UM allows for increased mass of the lateral process while minimizing occlusion. For example, with placement over the lateral process, the mass of the output transducer assembly may comprise approximately twice the mass as when placed over the umbo without causing occlusion. For example, an output transducer assembly comprising a mass of 60 mg positioned over the lateral process will provide a mechanical impedance and occlusion similar to a 30 mg mass positioned over the umbo. Further the vibration of the transducer at the lateral process is amplified from the lateral process to the umbo, for example by a factor of two due to leverage of the malleus with hinged rotation from the head of the malleus to the tip near the umbo.
  • The mass of transducer assembly 30 for placement away from the umbo can be similar to ranges described above for the configuration placed over the umbo, and may be scaled accordingly. For example, with the output transducer assembly positioned over the eardrum TM away from the umbo UM, for example over the lateral process, the combined mass of the output transducer assembly can be from about 20 to about 120 mg, for example from about 40 to about 80 mg. In many embodiments, the combined mass of output transducer assembly 30 over the lateral process can be from about 20 mg to about 60 mg to provide occlusion and transmission losses similar to a mass of about 10 mg to about 30 mg over the umbo.
  • Output transducer assembly 30 may have a number of exemplary specifications for maximum output. Output transducer assembly 30 may produce a sound pressure level of up to 106 dB. For example, a sound pressure level of up to at least about 90 dB can be sufficient to provide quality hearing for many hearing impaired users. The “center” of the eardrum, or the umbo, may move at 0.1 um/Pa at 1 kHz and 0.01 um/Pa at 10 kHz. The velocity can be 630 um/s/Pa from about 1 kHz and 10 kHz. The area of the eardrum may be about 100 mm2. The ear drum may have an impedance of about 0.2 Ns/m for frequencies greater than 1 kHz, which may be damping in nature, and an impedance of about 1000 N/m for frequencies less than 1 kHz in nature, which may be stiffening in nature. Thus, the power input into the ear at up to 106 dB SPL may be up to about 1 uW.
  • Output transducer assembly 30 may comprise a number of exemplary specifications for frequency response. Output transducer assembly 30 can have a frequency response of 100 Hz to 10 kHz. For an open canal system, it may be acceptable if low frequency response rolls off below 1 kHz since most hearing impaired subjects have relatively good low frequency hearing and the natural sound pathway can provide this portion of the sound spectrum. A relatively flat response may be good and it may be ideal if a resonance is generated at 2-3 kHz without affecting response at other frequencies. Variability between subjects may be +/−3 dB. This includes variability due to variable insertions and movement of the transducer with jaw movements. Variability across subjects may be +/−6 dB. Even in low responding subjects may need to have adequate output above their thresholds at all frequencies. Subject based calibrations may likely be problematic for clinicians and best avoided if possible.
  • Output transducer assembly 30 may further comprise a number of other exemplary specifications. For example, output transducer assembly 30 may have less than 1 percent harmonic distortion of up to 100 db SPL and less than 10 percent distortion of up to 106 db SPL. Output transducer may have less than 30 dB SPL noise equivalent pressure at the input. Output transducer may provide 15 dB of gain up to 1 kHz and 30 dB of gain above 1 kHz.
  • I. Power Sources
  • Both power and signal may be transmitted to the output transducer assembly 30. 1 uW of power into the ear may need to be generated to meet maximum output specifications. Methods of transmitting power may include light (photovoltaic), ultrasound, radio frequency, magnetic resonant circuits.
  • In exemplary embodiments, a piezoelectric transducer driven by a photovoltaic (PV) cell or a number of photovoltaic (PV) in placed in series. The maximum voltage and current provided by the cells can be limited by the area and the amount of incident light upon them. 70 mW may be a good upper limit for the amount of electrical power available for the output transducer at its maximum output. This power can be limited by the amount of heat that can be dissipated as well as battery life considerations.
  • LEDs may be about 5% efficient in their conversion of electrical power into light power. The maximum light power coming out of the LEDs may be near 3.5 mW. The light coming out of the LED can cover a broader area than the area of the photovoltaic cell. The broader area may be set based on the movement of the ear canal and the ability to point the light directly at the photovoltaic cells. For example, a spot with a diameter that is twice a wide as a square 3.16 mm×3.16 mm photocell may be used. This spot size would have an area of 31.4 mm2 (leading to an optical efficiency of 32%). The photodetector area may comprise two parts—one part to move the transducer in a first direction and another part to move the transducer in a second direction, for example as described in U.S. Pat. App. No. 61/073,271, filed on Jun. 17, 2008, entitled “OPTICAL ELECTRO-MECHANICAL HEARING DEVICES WITH COMBINED POWER AND SIGNAL ARCHITECTURES”, (attorney docket no. 026166-001800US), the full disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. This two part photodetector area may further reduce the efficiency by a factor of two to 16%. This efficiency may be improved depending on the result of studies showing how much the motion of the ear canal moves the light as well as the ability to initially point the light down the ear canal. With a 16% efficiency, 560 uW of light power impinges on the surface of each of the two photovoltaics. The device may comprise at least one photo detector, for example as described in U.S. Pat. App. No. 61/073,281, filed Jun. 17, 2008, entitled “OPTICAL ELECTRO-MECHANICAL HEARING DEVICES WITH SEPARATE POWER AND SIGNAL COMPONENTS”, (attorney docket no. 026166-001900US), the full disclosure of which is incorporated by reference.
  • FIG. 2 shows the sensitivity of silicon photovoltaics to different wavelengths of light. The sensitivity of a photodetector is how much current is produced per unit power of incident light (A/W). In FIG. 2, maximum light intensity of 560 uW may be 336 uA at infrared wavelengths (S=0.6 A/W@900-1000 nm) or 224 uA in the “red” range (S=0.4 A/W@650 nm). Red LEDs may be more efficient than infrared LEDs, so the increased efficiency of the LEDs may overcome the decreased sensitivity of the photodetector at those wavelengths. The maximum available currents may be in the 220-340 uA range. The voltage characteristic of the photodetector is set by the “diode” action of the junction. Starting a 0.3 V, an increasingly non-linear voltage response may be encountered. Hence the maximum effective voltage of the photodetector for our application may be 0.4V. Multiplying this 0.4V by the 224 uA one obtains 90 uW. Taking this 90 uW and dividing by the 560 uW of light power in gives an efficiency of 16%. One may also use the photocells in series to increase the amount of voltage available. However, the area of each photocell may need to be reduced to keep the total area the same. This may have the effect that voltage may be traded for current and vice versa, however the total amount of power remains fixed.
  • The LED/photovoltaic system may supply approximately 224 uA of current and 0.4V. Voltage can be increased by putting cells in series but the voltage increase may be at the proportional cost of current. 90 uW of power may be available to the transducer for producing motion of the eardrum. However, the amount of power utilized can depend on the load characteristics. The optimal load may be a 1800 ohm resistor (0.4V/224 uA). In either the piezoelectric case (capacitive load) or the voice coil case (inductive load), the load impedance may change as a function of frequency. A frequency at which this optimal impedance is matched may be chosen. For the capacitive load case, the system may be current limited above this frequency and voltage limited below this frequency. For the inductive load case, the situation may reverse. In the current limited cases, one may not be able to reach the desired maximum output levels. In the voltage limited regions, driving the system too hard may highly distort the output. If 2 kHz is chosen as the optimal frequency, this impedance may correspond to a capacitance of 44 nF or an inductance of 143 mH. Even with an optimal load attached, the overall efficiency of the optical power transfer is 0.04%. Yet even with this efficiency, the amount of power produced by the PV is 90× greater than what we expect to need to input into the ear.
  • Table 1 below summarizes the above-mentioned exemplary power specifications.
  • TABLE 1
    EXEMPLARY POWER SPECIFICATIONS FOR OUTPUT
    TRANSDUCER
    Parameter Formula Value Comment
    Input Power  70 mW May be chosen
    Maximum based on magnetic
    system experience
    with heat and battery
    life.
    LED efficiency   5% May be based on
    literature and
    experimental data
    Area of pR2 R = 3.16 mm May be a reasonable
    illumination A = 31.4 on what will be
    mm2 required for
    robust illumination
    of photodetectors
    Area of photodetectors b 2 2 b = 3.16 mm A = 5 mm2 May be based on what area of the eardrum is easily viewable from a mid ear canal location. Remember that only half of the area is available for each photodetectors (hence the divide by 2).
    Optical efficiency A illum A pv × 100 %   16%
    Maximum optical EopticalELEDPmax 560 mW
    power incident on
    photodetectors
    Sensitivity of PV 0.6 A/W
    @ IR (~950 nm)
    Sensitivity of PV 0.4 A/W
    @ Red (~650 nm)
    Maximum PV SPVPλPV 336 mA
    current @ IR
    Maximum PV SPVPλPV 224 mA
    current @ Red
    Maximum PV 0.4 V Maximum voltage
    voltage for ~10% distortion.
    (0.3 V for ~1%)
    Maximum PV VPVmaxIPVmax  90 mW
    power @ Red
    Optimal Load for PV V PVmax I PVmax 1800 ohms
    Overall efficiency P PV P max × 100 % 0.13%
  • Other power transmission potions may include ultrasonic power transmission, magnetic resonant circuits, and radiofrequency power transmission. For magnetic resonant circuits, the basic concept is to produce two circuits that resonant with each other. The “far” coil should only draw enough power from the magnetic fields to perform its task. Power transfer may be in the 30-40% efficient range.
  • II. Output Transducer Specifications
  • In exemplary embodiments, an output transducer may comprise two major characteristics; the physics used to generate motion and the type of reference method used. The choices for the physics used to generate motion can include electromagnetic (voice coils, speakers, and the like), piezoelectric, electrostatic, pryomechanical, photostrictive, magnetostrictive, and the like. Regardless of what physics are used to generate motion, the energy of the motion can be turned into useful motion of the eardrum. In order to produce motion, forces or moments that act against the impedance of the eardrum may be generated. To generate forces or moments, the reaction force or moment is resisted. To resist such forces or movements, a fixed anchor point may be introduced, a floating inertia may be used, for example, utilizing translational and rotational inertia, or deforming an object so that the boundaries produce a net force that moves the object, i.e., using a deformation transducer.
  • FIG. 3 is a graph showing the mechanical impedance of the eardrum in relation to that of various masses of 100 mg, 50 mg, 20 mg, and 10 mg. The impedance of the eardrum matches the masses of 100 mg, 50 mg, 20 mg, and 10 mg at frequencies of about 450 Hz, 700 Hz, 1.5 kHz, 3 kHz, respectively. The impedance of the mass can be dependent on the location of the eardrum. By placing the mass away from the umbo, the impedance can be decreased, for example halved, when the mass is positioned on the short or lateral process of the malleus, for example. For example, a mass of 40 mg can have an impedance at 1.5 kHz that is similar to a 20 mg mass so as to match the impedance of the eardrum TM.
  • Exemplary physical specifications may be placed on the transducer based on the size of the ear canal, the ability of an output transducer to remain in position and the perception of occlusion resulting from having a mass present on the eardrum. Table 2 below show these specifications.
  • TABLE 2
    EXEMPLARY PHYSICAL SPECIFICATIONS FOR OUTPUT
    TRANSDUCER
    Parameter Value Comment
    Maximum dimension <5 mm If the dimension gets larger, then
    in plane with annular manipulating the transducer into place
    ligament of TM may become difficult for physicians and
    may not fit down some ear canals.
    Maximum dimension <2 mm If the dimension gets larger, then the
    perpendicular to TM anterior wall that “hangs” over
    the TM may begin to get in the way.
    Maximum mass 60 mg A mass of 46 mg may result in
    significant “occlusion”.
    Other embodiments may be able
    to hold more weight. There may
    be evidence that at even this
    weight gravity may shift the
    position of the transducer
    depending on the orientation of
    the head and the support to TM
    coupling.
  • Output transducer assembly 30 may use a piezoelectric element to generate motion. Material properties of exemplary piezoelectric elements are shown in the table 3 below.
  • TABLE 3
    MATERIAL PROPERTIES OF EXEMPLARY PIEZOELECTRIC
    ELEMENTS
    TRS APC
    APC APC APC single single
    disk bender Tapecast stacked STEMinc crystal crystal
    Material APC 855 APC 850 APC 7 × 7 × .2 TRS APC
    PST 150 SMQA PMN-PT PMN-PT
    Density 7600 7700 8000 7900 7900 8200
    (kg/m3)
    Curie 200 360 155 250 166
    Temperature
    k33 0.76 0.72 0.91 0.92
    d31 276 175 290 140 1000 930
    (×10−12 m/V)
    d33 600 400 640 310 1900 2000
    (×10−12 m/V)
    E33 (N/m2) 5.10E+10 5.40E+10 5.56E+10 7.30E+10 1.16E+10
    relative 3400 1900 5400 1400 7700 4600
    dielectric
    constant
    (Er33)
    E11 (N/m2) 5.90E+10 6.30E+10 8.40E+10 2.48E+10
    kp 0.68 0.63 0.58 0.92
    kt 0.45 0.55 0.6
    k31 0.4 0.36 0.34 0.51 0.72
  • III. Exemplary Output Transducers
  • Output transducer assembly 30 may comprise a piezoelectric based output transducer, for example, a transducer comprising a piezoelectric unimorph, piezoelectric bimorph, or a piezoelectric multimorph. Exemplary output transducers may comprise a simply supported bimorph bender 400 as shown in FIG. 4, a cantilevered bimorph bender 500 as shown in FIG. 5, a stacked piezo with mechanical multiplier 600 as shown in FIG. 6, a disk or narrow ring piezo with a mechanical multiplier 700 as shown in FIG. 7 or a ring mass with bimorph piezoelectric transducer 800 as shown in FIG. 8.
  • FIG. 4 shows a simply supported bimorph bender 400 suitable for incorporation with transducer assembly 30 as described above. Simply supported bimorph bender 400 comprises a first mass 410 a, a second mass 410 b, a bimorph piezoelectric cantilever 420, and a support 430. Cantilever 420 extends from a first end supporting first mass 410 a to a second end supporting second mass 410 b. Cantilever 420 is coupled with the support 430 comprising a protrusion 430 p extending from the support to the transducer to couple the support to the transducer between the first and second ends. Support 430 may be configured to support the first and second masses 410 a, 410 b and the bimorph cantilever 420 on the eardrum TM. For example, support 430 may comprise a mold shaped to conform with the eardrum TM, for example support 430 can be shaped with known molding techniques. The portion 430 a of support 430 which is in contact with the fluid that couples to the eardrum TM can be flexible, for example, by comprising a flexible material such as silicone, flexible plastic, a gel, or the like. Other portions of support 430, for example protrusion 430P may be rigid, for example, by comprising a metal, titanium, a rigid plastic, or the like. Simply supported bimorph bender 400 may comprise circuitry which receives an external, wireless signal and causes cantilever 420 to change shape. Cantilever 420 may push against masses 410 a, 410 b causing a force on the masses 410 a, 410 b in a direction 445 and also cause a force on support 430 in a direction 440 opposite direction 445. The force on support 430 drives the eardrum TM to produce sensations of sound.
  • FIG. 5A shows a cantilevered bimorph bender 500 suitable for incorporation with transducer assembly 30 as described above. Cantilevered bimorph bender 500 includes a mass 510, a bimorph cantilever 520 extending from mass 510, and a support 530 coupled with cantilever 520. Support 530 may be configured to support mass 510 and bimorph cantilever 520 on the eardrum TM, which may not be drawn to scale in FIG. 5A. For example, support 530 may comprise a mold shaped to conform with the eardrum TM. Cantilever 520 is coupled with the support 530 comprising a protrusion 530 p extending from the support to the transducer. The portion 530 a of support 530 which is in contact with the eardrum TM can be flexible, for example, by comprising a flexible material such as silicone, flexible plastic, a gel, or the like. Other portions of support 530 may be rigid, for example, by comprising a metal, titanium, a rigid plastic, or the like. Cantilevered bimorph bender 500 may comprise circuitry configured to receive an external, wireless signal and cause cantilever 520 to bend and thus push against mass 510. The pushing action causes a force in a direction 545 on the mass 510 and also a force on the support 530 in a direction 540 opposite the direction 545. The force on the support 530 drives the eardrum TM to produce sensations of sound.
  • Cantilevered bimorph bender 500 includes mass 510 and cantilever 520. Some embodiments may include more than one mass, cantilever, and/or support.
  • FIG. 5B shows cantilevered bimorph bender 550 suitable for incorporation with transducer assembly 30 as described above. Bimorph bender 550 includes a first mass 560 a and a second mass 560 b. A first cantilevered bimorph 570 a is coupled to first mass 560 a. A second cantilevered bimorph 570 b is coupled to second mass 560 b. A support 580 is coupled to the first cantilevered bimorph 570 a and second cantilevered bimorphs 570 b. First cantilevered bimorph 570 a is coupled with the support 580 comprising a protrusion 580 p. Second cantilevered bimorph 570 b is coupled with the support 580 comprising a protrusion 580 pb. Support 580 may be configured to support masses 560 a, 560 b and bimorph cantilevers 570 a, 570 b on the eardrum TM, which may not be drawn to scale on FIG. 5B. For example, support 580 may comprise a mold shaped to conform with the eardrum TM. The portion 580 a of support 580 which is in contact with the eardrum TM can be flexible, for example, by comprising a flexible material such as silicone, flexible plastic, a gel, or the like. Other portions of support 580 may be rigid, for example, by comprising a metal, titanium, a rigid plastic, or the like. Cantilevered bimorph bender 550 may comprise circuitry configured to receive an external, wireless signal and cause cantilevers 570 a, 570 b to bend and thus push against masses 560 a, 560 b, respectively. The pushing action causes force in a direction 595 on the masses 560 a, 560 b and also a force on the support 580 in a direction 590 opposite the direction 595. The force on the support 580 causes a translational movement which drives the eardrum TM to produce sensations of sound. Cantilevers 570 a, 570 b may push masses 560 a, 560 b in tandem to cause support 540 to translate and drive the eardrum TM. Cantilevers 570 a, 570 b may also push masses 560 a, 570 b in different orders as to cause a rotational or twisting movement of the support 580 and the eardrum TM.
  • FIG. 6 shows a stacked piezo with mechanical multiplier 600 suitable for incorporation with transducer assembly 30 as described above. The stacked piezo 600 comprises a plurality of piezoelectric elements or a stacked piezoelectric array 610, mechanical multiplier 620, a mass 630, and a support 640. The piezoelectric array 610 may be held by mechanical multiplier 620. Mechanical multiplier 620 is coupled to mass 630 on side 623 and support 640 on side 626. Mechanical multiplier 620 is coupled with the support 640 comprising a protrusion 640 p extending from the support to the transducer. Support 640 may be configured to support mechanical multiplier 620 and the piezoelectric array 610 and the mass 630 on the eardrum TM, which may not be drawn to scale in FIG. 6. For example, support 640 may comprise a mold shaped to conform with the eardrum TM. The portion 630 a of support 630 which is in contact with the eardrum TM can be flexible, for example, by comprising a flexible material such as silicone, flexible plastic, a gel, or the like. Other portions of support 640 may be rigid, for example, by comprising a metal, titanium, a rigid plastic, or the like. Stacked piezo 600 may comprise circuitry configured to receive an external, wireless signal and cause the piezoelectric array 610 to expand or contract along axis 650. Mechanical multiplier 620 uses leverage to multiply this expansion and contraction and change its direction to a direction along axis 655, thereby producing a force against mass 630 and support 640. The force on support 640 drives the eardrum TM to produce sensations of sound.
  • FIG. 7 shows a narrow ring piezo with a mechanical multiplier 700 suitable for incorporation with transducer assembly 30 as described above. The narrow ring piezo 700 comprises a piezoelectric ring 710, disc-shaped mechanical multiplier 720, a mass 730, and a support 740. Mechanical multiplier 720 is coupled to mass 730 and support 740. Mechanical multiplier 720 is coupled with the support 740 comprising a protrusion 740 p extending from the support to the transducer. Support 740 may be configured to support mechanical multiplier 720 and the piezoelectric ring 710 and the mass 730 on the eardrum TM. For example, support 740 may comprise a mold shaped to conform with the eardrum TM. The portion 740 a of support 740 which is in contact with the eardrum TM can be flexible, for example, by comprising a flexible material such as silicone, flexible plastic, a gel, or the like. Other portions of support 740 may be rigid, for example protrusion 740P that extends to the bimorph, by comprising a metal, titanium, a rigid plastic, or the like. Mechanical multiplier 720 comprises a first side 723 and a second side 726, the first side 723 extends inwardly from piezoelectric ring 710 to mass 730 and the second side 726 extends inwardly from piezoelectric ring 710 to support 740. Narrow ring piezo 700 may comprise circuitry configured to receive an external, wireless signal and cause the piezoelectric ring 710 to expand or contract along axis 750. Mechanical multiplier 720 uses leverage to multiply this expansion and contraction and change its direction to that along axis 755, producing a force against mass 730 and support 740. The force on support 740 drives the eardrum TM to produce sensations of sound.
  • FIG. 8 shows a ring mass with bimorph piezoelectric transducer 800 suitable for incorporation with transducer assembly 30 as described above. Piezoelectric transducer 800 comprises contact elements contact elements 815 and 818 to connect a washer ring 820 to a piezoelectric bimorph 810. Ring mass with bimorph piezoelectric transducer 800 comprises a piezoelectric bimorph 810, contact elements 815, 818, a washer ring 820 which can serve as a mass and which defines an aperture 825, and a support 830 coupled to the bimorph 810, the support 830 coupled with bimorph 810 and passing through aperture 825 at least in part. Bimorph 810 may comprise a single crystal bimorph. Support 830 may be configured to support bimorph 810 on the eardrum TM. For example, support 830 may comprise a mold shaped to conform with the eardrum TM. The portion 830 a of support 830 which is in contact with the eardrum TM can be flexible, for example, by comprising a flexible material such as silicone, flexible plastic, a gel, or the like. Other portions of support 830, for example protrusion 830 p, may be rigid, for example, by comprising a metal, titanium, a rigid plastic, or the like. Bimorph 810 comprises a first end 813 and a second end 816. First end 813 and second end 816 are respectively coupled to ring 820 through contact elements 815 and 818, for example, through the use of an adhesive. Ring mass with bimorph piezoelectric transducer 800 may be coupled to circuitry configured to receive an external, wireless signal and cause bimorph 810 to flex in response. Flexion of bimorph 810 produces a shearing force or shear motion of first end 813 and second end 816 relative to washer ring 820 and produces a translational force along axis 850 so as to drive support 830 against the eardrum TM, producing sensations of sound.
  • FIGS. 8A and 8B show a ring mass with bimorph piezoelectric transducer 802 suitable for incorporation with transducer assembly 30 as described above. FIG. 8 a shows a cross-sectional view of ring mass with bimorph piezoelectric transducer 802. FIG. 8 b shows a top view of ring mass with bimorph piezoelectric transducer 802. Bimorph 810 can be directly connected to washer ring 820 which can serve as a mass. Bimorph 810 is coupled with a support 830 comprising a protrusion 830 p extending from the support to the transducer. Support 830 may be configured to support washer bimorph 810 and washer 820 on the eardrum TM. The portion of support 830 which is in contact with the eardrum TM can be flexible, for example, by comprising a flexible material such as silicone, flexible plastic, a gel, or the like. Other portions of support 830 may be rigid, for example, the portions may comprise a metal, titanium, a rigid plastic, or the like. For example, support 830 may comprise a mold shaped to conform with the eardrum TM. Support 830 may be configured so that protrusion 830 p is directly over the umbo UM. Ring mass with bimorph piezoelectric transducer 802 may comprise circuitry configured to receive an external, wireless signal and cause bimorph 810 to bend or flex and thus push against washer 820. The pushing action causes a force in a direction 852 on washer 820 and also a force on the support 830 in a direction 853. The force on the support 830 causes a translational movement of the umbo UM which can rotate malleus ML to produce sensations of sound.
  • FIGS. 8B1 and 8B2 show perspective views of mass, for example a ring mass, with a piezoelectric transducer, for example a bimorph piezoelectric transducer 803, in which the mass is coupled to the piezoelectric transducer with a flexible intermediate structure, for example intermediate element 815, suitable for incorporation with transducer assembly 30 as described above. The flexible intermediate structure can relax a boundary condition at the edge of the piezoelectric transducer so as to improve performance of the piezoelectric transducer coupled to the mass. Although an elongate rod is shown, the flexible intermediate structure may comprise many known flexible shapes such as coils, spheres and leafs. Bimorph 810 is indirectly and flexibly connected to washer ring 820. The ends of bimorph 810 can be directly connected to intermediate elements 815. Intermediate elements 815 can in turn be directly connected to washer ring 820. Washer ring 820 can serve as a mass. The ends of bimorph 810 may be rigidly attached to intermediate elements 815, for example, via an adhesive or glue. Intermediate elements 815 may be rigidly attached to intermediate elements 815, for example, via an adhesive or glue. Intermediate elements 815 is flexible so as to provide a flexible boundary condition or a flexible connection between bimorph 810 and washer ring 820. For example, intermediate elements 815 may comprise a rod made of a flexible material such as carbon fiber or a similar composite material. Such a flexible material may be more prone to twisting than bending. By providing such a flexible boundary condition, the force outputted by transducer 803 can be greater, for example, twice as great, as the force outputted if bimorph 810 were instead directly and rigidly connected to washer ring 820.
  • Bimorph 810 is coupled with a support 830. Support 830 comprises a protrusion 830P protruding from the bimorph 810 and a support member 830E adapted to conform with the eardrum TM. Protrusion 830P is coupled to support member 830E. For example, protrusion 830P can comprise a first magnetic member 831P and support member 830E may comprise a complementary second magnetic member 831E so that protrusion 830P and support member 830E are magnetically coupled. Both first magnetic member 831P and second magnetic member 831E may comprise magnets. Alternatively, one of first magnetic member 831P or second magnetic member 831E may comprise a magnet while the other comprises a ferromagnetic material. To position transducer 803 on the eardrum TM, support member 830E may first be placed on the eardrum TM, followed by the remainder of the transducer 803 as guided by first magnetic member 831P and second magnetic member 831E. The use of magnetism to guide the positioning of transducer 803 can reduce a hearing professional's reliance on vision to position transducer 803 on the eardrum TM.
  • Support member 830E may comprise a mold shaped to conform with the eardrum TM. Support member 830E can comprise a flexible material such as silicone, flexible plastic, a gel, or the like. The portion of support member 830E in contact with protrusion 830P may be rigid, for example, the portions may comprise a metal, titanium, a rigid plastic, or the like. Support 830 may be configured so that protrusion 830P is directly over the umbo UM. Transducer 803 may also comprise circuitry 824. Circuitry 824 may be configured to receive an signal, for example, an external, wireless signal. Circuitry 824 can cause bimorph 810 to bend or flex and thus push against washer 820. The pushing action causes a force in a direction 852 on washer 820 and also a force on the support 830 in a direction 853. The force on the support 830 causes a translational movement of the umbo UM which can rotate malleus ML to produce sensations of sound.
  • FIGS. 8C and 8D show embodiments that comprise more than one bimorph, for example a ring mass dual bimorph piezoelectric transducer 804, suitable for incorporation with transducer assembly 30 as described above. Transducer 804 may comprise a mass from about 20 mg to about 60 mg, for example about 40 mg. Ring mass with double bimorph piezoelectric transducer 804 comprises first transducer, for example first bimorph 810 a and second transducer, for example second bimorph 810 b. Malleus ML extends into the ear canal, and first bimorph 810 a and second bimorph 810 b may extend along a line substantially perpendicular to malleus ML, or first bimorph 810 a and second bimorph 810 b may extend along a line oblique to Malleus ML. Bimorph 810 a and bimorph 810 b are coupled to a ring or washer 820 which comprises a mass. Bimorph 810 a and bimorph 810 b are supported by support 830 comprising protrusions 830 pa and 830 pb, which are coupled to bimorph 810 a and bimorph 810 b, respectively. The portion of support 830 which is in contact with the eardrum TM can be flexible, for example, by comprising a flexible material such as silicone, flexible plastic, a gel, or the like. Other portions of support 830 may be rigid, for example comprising a metal, titanium, a rigid plastic, or the like. For example, support 830 may comprise a mold shaped to conform with the eardrum TM.
  • Ring mass with double bimorph piezoelectric transducer 804 may comprise circuitry configured to receive an external, wireless signal and cause bimorph 810 a and bimorph 810 b to bend and/or flex and thus push against washer 820. The wireless signal may comprise a first signal configured to drive first bimorph 810 a and a second signal configured to drive second bimorph 810 b. The pushing action of the first transducer in response to the first signal causes a first force in a first direction 852 a on washer 820 and an opposite force on the support 830 in an opposite direction 853 a. The pushing action of the second transducer in response to the second signal causes a second force in a second direction 852 b on washer 820 and an opposite force on the support 830 in an opposite direction 853 b. The force on the support 830 in first direction 853 a and second direction 853 b causes a translational movement which drives the eardrum TM to produce sensations of sound.
  • The dual transducer 804 allows the malleus to be driven in more than one dimension, for example with a first translational motion to rotate the malleus with hinged motion about the head of the malleus and second rotational motion to twist the malleus about an elongate axis of the malleus extending from a head of the malleus toward the umbo. When bimorphs 810 a and 810 b are flexed at the same time and in the same direction, ring-mass-double-bimorph-piezoelectric-transducer 804 may work similar to same as ring-mass-double-bimorph-piezoelectric-transducer 804. However, flexion of bimorphs 810 a and 810 b at different times and/or in different directions or phase may produce a rotational twisting motion along the elongate axis of the malleus with support 830 and thus induce rotation at the umbo of eardrum TM. For example, the received external, wireless signal may cause only one of bimorph 810 a and bimorph 810 b to bend or flex. Alternatively or in combination, the received external, wireless signal may cause bimorph 810 a to bend or flex more than bimorph 810 b, or vice versa, so as to cause a rotational twisting motion of the malleus to occur along with the hinged rotation motion of the malleus to translate the umbo of eardrum TM. Arrows 853TW show twisting motion of the malleus at umbo UM with a first rotation of the malleus about an elongate axis of the malleus. Arrows 853TR show translational motion of the umbo UM with hinged rotation of the malleus comprising pivoting of the malleus about the head of the malleus. The first transducer and the second transducer can be driven with a signal having a time delay, for example a phase delay of 90 degrees, such that translation movement and twisting of the malleus and umbo occur. Thus, a first portion support 830 may translate in a first direction 853 and a second portion of support 830 may translate in a second direction 853 b opposite first direction 853 a so as to rotate the malleus with twisting motion. Thus, the first transducer and the second transducer comprising bimorphs 810 a and 810 b can be driven so as to cause translational movement and a rotational movement of eardrum TM. Hinged rotational movement of the malleus to effect translational movement of the umbo UM may be made at low frequencies less than about 5 kHz, for example frequencies less than about 1 kHz. Rotational twisting movement of the malleus may be made at frequencies greater than about 2 kHz, for example high frequencies greater than 5kHz.
  • FIG. 8E shows a plot of phase difference versus frequency for the first and second transducers of the dual bimorph piezo of FIGS. 8C and 8D. This phase difference can result in increased frequency gain at high frequencies above about 5 kHz, such that the user can hear the high frequency sounds more clearly due to the twisting of the malleus. At a first frequency below about 1 kHz, for example 0.5 kHz, the phase difference between the first transducer and the second transducer is substantially zero. At a second frequency above from about 3 to 6 kHz, for example above about 5 KHz, the phase difference between the first transducer and the second transducer is at least about 10 degrees. For example, at about 9 kHz, the phase difference between the first transducer and the second transducer may comprise about 100 degrees. The phase difference between the first transducer and the second transducer can be provided in many ways, for example with the audio processor as described above, configured to output a first channel to the first transducer and a second channel to the second transducer. The circuitry coupled to the first transducer and the second transducer may be configured to provide the first signal phase shifted from the second signal in response to the audio signal, for example with circuitry comprising at least one of a capacitor, a resistor or an inductor configured to provide a phase shift of the audio signal such that the first signal is phase shifted from the second signal.
  • FIG. 9 shows simply supported bimorph bender 400 housed in a hermetically sealed housing 900 suitable for incorporation with transducer assembly 30 as described above. Housing 900 may comprise many known biocompatible materials. In many embodiments, an output transducer may comprise a hermetically sealed housing. Housing 900 may be rigidly affixed to masses 410 a and 410 b with rigid connections. First mass 410 a is connecting to housing 900 with rigid connections 900RA1 and 900RA2. Second mass 410 b is connecting to housing 900 with rigid connections 900RB1 and 900RB2. Housing 900 can provide additional mass for bimorph 420 to push against. A rigid portion 430P of support 430 extends through housing 900 to bimorph 420. Hermitically sealed housing 900 may be configured for many of the above described transducers, for example piezoelectric at least one of cantilevered bimorph bender 500, 550, stacked piezo with mechanical multiplier 600, disk or narrow ring piezo with a mechanical multiplier 700, or transducer 800.
  • FIG. 9A shows an output transducer 902 which receives power through optical transmission suitable for incorporation with transducer assembly 30 as described above. Output transducer 902 may comprise a piezoelectric transducer, a magnetostrictive transducer, a photostrictive transducer, a coil and a magnet, or the like. As shown in FIG. 9A, output transducer 902 comprises a piezoelectric transducer 910 which is coupled to annular mass 920. Piezoelectric transducer 910 and mass 920 are both supported by support 930. Piezoelectric transducer 910 may comprise many of the piezoelectric elements described above, for example at least one of a bimorph, a cantilevered bimorph, a stacked piezo, or a disc or ring piezo. Mass 920 may be similar to many of the masses as previously discussed. Piezoelectric transducer 910 can be powered by a photodetector 940 which receives light 945. Light 945 may comprise a signal, for example, a signal representative of sound as described above. Photodetector 940 can be coupled to circuitry 940 c. Circuitry 940 c can be supported with support 930, mass 920, piezoelectric transducer 930 and support 930. Circuitry 940 can be coupled to piezoelectric transducer 910 to convert light 945 into an electrical signal which can cause piezoelectric transducer 910 to move and cause vibrations on eardrum TM which may lead to a sensation of sound. A housing 903 extends around piezoelectric transducer 910, circuitry 940 c, mass 920 and photodetector 940 to hermetically seal transducer 902.
  • FIG. 9B shows an output transducer 904 which receives power through magnet and/or electric power transmission suitable for incorporation with transducer assembly 30 as described above. Output transducer 904 may comprise a piezoelectric transducer, a magnetostrictive transducer, a photostrictive transducer, a coil and a magnet, or the like. Output transducer 904 comprises a piezoelectric transducer 910 coupled to a mass 920B. Piezoelectric transducer 910 and mass 920B are both supported by support 930. Piezoelectric transducer 910 may comprise many of the piezoelectric elements described above, for example at least one of a bimorph, a cantilevered bimorph, a stacked piezo, or a disc or ring piezo. Mass 920B may be similar to many of the masses as previously discussed. Piezoelectric transducer 910 can be powered by an external coil 955 which produces a magnetic field 957 which causes a magnetic field 952 and a voltage in coil 950. Coil 950 is coupled to and powers piezoelectric transducer 910. Coil 950 can be supported with mass 920B, transducer 910 and support 930. The electromagnetic field 957 produced by external coil 955 may provide a signal, for example, a signal representative of sound, to coil 950. Appropriate variations in magnetic field 957 and magnetic filed 952 can cause piezoelectric transducer 910 to cause vibrations on eardrum TM which may lead to a sensation of sound.
  • Tables 4 and 5 below show characteristics of exemplary piezoelectric output transducers as described above, including simply supported bimorph bender 400, cantilevered bimorph bender 500, stacked piezo with mechanical multiplier 600, disk or narrow ring piezo with a mechanical multiplier 700, and bimorph or wide ring piezo 800.
  • TABLE 4
    EXEMPLARY PARAMETERS OF PIEZOELECTRIC
    OUTPUT TRANSDUCERS
    Variable Symbol Comments
    Displacement at point w Simply Supported Bimorph - Mid span
    of interest Cantilever Bimorph - Free end
    Stack - Free end
    Narrow Ring - Mid radius
    Wide Ring - Outer radius
    Beam or stack length L
    Beam or stack width b Stack is assumed to have a square cross
    Wide ring outer radius section
    Wide ring inner radius a
    Thickness h Bimorph - ½ total thickness
    Stack - single layer thickness
    Ring - total thickness
    Number of layers n Bimorph - number of layers in
    ½ thickness
    Stack - total number of layers
    Ring - total number of layers
    Piezoelectric constant d31, d33
    Elastic moduli E11, E1a
    Density ρ
    Permittivity of free εo 8.854E−12 (F/m)
    space
    Relative permittivity ε 3a
    Applied voltage ΔV
    Applied force F Simply Supported Bimorph - Force (N)
    at mid span
    Cantilever Bimorph - Force (N) at free
    end
    Stack - Force (N) at free end
    Narrow Ring - Ring load (N/m) at mid
    radius
    Wide Ring - Ring load (N/m) at outer
    radius
  • TABLE 5
    EXEMPLARY MECHANICAL FORMULAS FOR PIEZOELECTRIC
    OUTPUT TRANSDUCERS
    Type Formulas Comments
    Simply Supported Bimorph Bender 400 Displacement per Volt w Δ V = 3 16 nd 31 ( L h ) 2 Capacitance C = 2 n 2 ɛ 0 ɛ _ 32 b ( L h ) Stiffness F w = 32 E 11 b ( h L ) 2 1 st Mechanical Resonance f 1 = ( π ) 2 2 π E 11 h 2 3 ρ L 4
    Cantilevered Bimorph Bender 500 Displacement per Volt w Δ V = 3 4 nd 31 ( L h ) 2 Capacitance C = 2 n 2 ɛ 0 ɛ _ 32 b ( L h ) Stiffness F w = 2 E 11 b ( h L ) 2 1 st Mechanical Resonance f 1 = ( 1.875 ) 2 2 π E 11 h 2 3 ρ L 4
    Stack (shown with displacement amplifier) 600 Displacement per Volt w Δ V = nd 32 Stiffness F w = E 32 b 2 L Capacitance C = n ɛ 0 ɛ _ 32 b 2 h 1 st Mechanical Resonance f 1 = 1 4 L E 32 ρ The 1st mechanical resonance equation may be the ¼ wave "rod" resonance which can tend to be very high. This may not be the first resonance of the system. The most likely 1st mode may be the mass of the piezo/ref mass in conjunction with the spring of the displacement amplifier or some kind of bending mode.
    Narrow Ring (shown with displace- ment amplifier) 700 Displacement per Volt w Δ V = nd 31 ( r 0 h ) Stiffness F w = E 11 t r o ( h r o ) Capacitance C = n 2 ɛ 0 ɛ _ 32 2 π t ( r 0 h ) 1 st Mechanical Resonance Remember for ring cases that F is a ring load (N/m) that will be summed by the displacement amplifier. The appropriate 1st mechanical resonance mode may not be clear. Likely the first resonance may either be a bending type mode or a cos(2θ) mode.
    Wide Ring Displacement per Volt w Δ V = nd 31 ( b h ) Stiffness F w = E 11 t b ( b 2 - a 2 ) ( 1 + v ) a 2 + ( 1 - v ) b 2 Capacitance C = n 2 ɛ 0 ɛ _ 32 π ( b 2 - a 2 ) h 1 st Mechanical Resonance
  • FIG. 10 shows an output transducer assembly comprising 1000 a cantilevered bimorph bender positioned on a support 1010 such that the output transducer assembly is positioned over the lateral process and away from the umbo when the support is placed on the eardrum, suitable for incorporation with transducer assembly 30 as described above. Many of the output transducers as described above can be positioned on support 1010 so as to couple to the umbo of the eardrum TM with the transducer positioned away from the umbo, for example on the lateral process LP. The output transducer positioned on the support 1010 so as to couple to the umbo with the transducer positioned away from the umbo may comprise at least one of a piezoelectric transducer, a magnetostrictive transducer, a photostrictive transducer, a coil or a magnet. Support 1010 can be made with known methods of molding to manufacture a support customized to the ear of the user, for example as with the known EarLens. The transducers as described above, for example simply supported bimorph bender 400, cantilevered bimorph bender 500, cantilevered bimorph bender 550, stacked piezo with mechanical multiplier 600, ring piezo with mechanical multiplier 700 and ring mass with bimorph piezoelectric transducer 800 can be positioned on support 1010 so as to position the transducer at the desired location on the eardrum when support 1010 is placed against tympanic membrane TM. As shown in FIG. 10, the transducer may comprise cantilevered bimorph bender 500 on support 1010 and coupled to eardrum TM over the lateral process LP and away from the umbo UM. Cantilevered bimorph bender 500 can be placed on the support so as to align with malleus ML when the support is placed against the eardrum. For example, support 530 of cantilevered bimorph bender 500 can be positioned on support 1010 to conform to the portion of the eardrum TM over the lateral process LP when support 1010 is placed against the eardrum TM. In some embodiments, support 530 can be placed directly on the eardrum without support 1010, for example directly over the lateral process LP. Mass 510 of cantilevered bimorph bender 500 may be placed along the eardrum away from the umbo U of the eardrum TM so as to decrease a mechanical impedance of the support to sound transmitted with the eardrum TM. Cantilever 520 has a first end coupled to mass 510 and a second end coupled to support 530. Cantilever 520 may bend and push against mass 510 and cause a force on support 530 which drives the lateral process LP of the malleus ML to produce sensations of sound.
  • FIGS. 10A and 10B show an output transducer assembly 1050 suitable for incorporation with transducer assembly 30 as described above and comprising cantilevered bimorph bender 500 placed on a support 1060 which may be made from a mold of the user's ear. The output transducer positioned on the support 1060 may comprise at least one of a piezoelectric transducer, a magnetostrictive transducer, a photostrictive transducer, a coil or a magnet. Support 530, mass 510 and the elongate member comprising bimorph cantilever 520 of bimorph bender 500 are positioned on support 1060 such that mass 510 is positioned away from the umbo and the elongate member is coupled to the umbo when support 1060 is placed against eardrum TM. The elongate member, for example bimorph cantilever 520, extends from the mass supported on the lateral process to the umbo so as to couple to the motion of the transducer to the eardrum at the umbo. This configuration has the advantage of lowering the mechanical impedance with the mass positioned away from the umbo while providing mechanical leverage with coupling at the umbo.
  • The mass can be positioned away from the umbo and/or aligned with the malleus ML in many ways so as to reduce the input impedance of the transducer assembly. For example, mass 510 can be positioned on support 1060 such that mass 510 is supported with the lateral process LP when support 1060 is placed against the ear. Also cantilevered bimorph bender 500 and support 530 can be placed directly on the eardrum TM such that mass 510 is aligned with malleus ML, for example aligned with lateral process LP. As shown in FIGS. 10A and 10B, mass 510 is placed on support 1060 over the lateral process LP and support 530 is placed on support 1060 over the umbo U when support 1060 is placed against the eardrum TM. The elongate member comprising bimorph cantilever 520 has a first end coupled to mass 510 and a second end coupled to support 530. Cantilever 520 may bend and push against mass 510 and cause a force on support 530 which drives the tip T of the malleus ML to produce sensations of sound. The length of cantilever 520 may be provided with a longer length such that cantilever 520 can provide more mechanical leverage while reducing the input impedance of mass 510.
  • FIG. 11 shows two or more transducers positioned on a support 1130 so as to rotate the malleus with hinged rotation at low frequencies and twist the malleus at high frequencies and suitable for incorporation with transducer assembly 30 as described above. Many of the above described transducers can be placed on support 1130. For example, embodiments of cantilevered bimorph bender 550 and bimorph or wide ring piezo 800 may cause a twisting motion on the eardrum TM and thus the malleus ML. Placement of two or more output transducers, on different parts of the eardrum TM can also produce a rotational or twisting motion on the eardrum TM at the umbo and the malleus ML. The placed output transducers may comprise, for example, at least one of simply supported bimorph bender 400, cantilevered bimorph bender 500, stacked piezo with mechanical multiplier 600, disk or narrow ring piezo with a mechanical multiplier 700, and bimorph or wide ring piezo 800. For example, FIGS. 11 and 11A show two cantilevered bimorph benders 500A and 500B configured to couple to the umbo of the eardrum TM on opposite lateral sides over the tip T of malleus ML. Cantilevered bimorph benders 500A and 500B each comprise masses 510A and 510B, respectively, and bimorph cantilevers 520A and 520B, respectively, and may both be supported with a common support 530 and/or support 1130 which also supports masses 510A and 510B. Each of bimorph cantilevers 520A and 520B comprises an elongate member that extends from the mass to the umbo to couple to the eardrum at the umbo. A phase difference, as described above, between bimorphs 500A and 500B may cause malleus ML to twist. Masses 510A and 510B are positioned on support 1130 such that masses 510A and 510B are supported with the lateral process when support 1130 is placed against eardrum TM. Output transducers may be placed on other areas of the eardrum TM as well, for example at additional locations away from the umbo as described above. In some embodiments, support 530 can be coupled directly to eardrum TM, for example without support 1130.
  • Many of the above embodiments can be evaluated on an empirical number of patients, for example 10 patients to optimize the transducers, for example transducer mass, positioning, support and circuitry. For example, experiments can be conducted on an empirical number of ten patients to determine improved coupling of sound with differential movement of the first transducer and second transducer. In addition to testing with patients, the embodiments can be tested with computer simulations and laboratory testing. The below described experiments are merely examples of experiments that can be performed, and a person of ordinary skill in the art will recognize many variations and modifications that can be used to improve and optimize the performance of the transducer devices described herein.
  • IV. EXPERIMENTAL
  • For exemplary piezoelectric elements, five key characteristics were looked at as a function of geometric parameters. The five parameters were: 1) minimum manufacturable layer thickness, 2) electrical capacitance, 3) 1st mechanical resonant frequency (if available), 4) low frequency stiffness, and 5) maximum displacement achievable with a photodetector power source. For each exemplary piezoelectric element, a contour plot of the maximum displacement achievable at 2 kHz was made. FIG. 12 shows an exemplary contour map for an embodiment of a back-to-back amplified stack piezoelectric elements, a PZT506 back-to-back stack with displacement amplifier. Similar plots can be made for additional embodiments comprising the simply supported bimorph piezoelectric elements, for example a PZT506 simply supported bimorph, a TRS singly crystal simply supported bimorph, and a PVDF simply supported bimorph piezoelectric elements. FIG. 12 includes combinations of different numbers of photodetectors used to power the piezoelectric element and the width of the piezoelectric element. The displacement shown accounts for the electrical limitations of the photovoltaic power source as well as any mismatch between the impedance of the umbo and the stiffness of the driving piezo. Equation 1 and Table 6 below show the equation for the maximum displacement and the parameter definitions.
  • d m ax = ( d V ) R ( K pz K pz + R 2 Z umbo ) min ( N PD V ma x , ( I max N PD ) 2 π f 1 C ) EQUATION 1
  • TABLE 6
    EXEMPLARY TEST PARAMETERS
    Parameter Value
    fmax Maximum frequency of interest (10 kHz)
    f1 2 kHz - frequency used to optimize
    design
    R Lever ratio
    Kpz Low frequency stiffness of piezo
    Zumbo Impedance of umbo at f1
    d/V Displacement per volt of a given design
    Npp Number of photocells in series
    Vmax Maximum voltage of single photocell
    (0.4 V)
    Imax Maximum current of single photocell
    given the illumination constraints (224
    uA)
    C Capacitance of a given design
    min(x, y) Minimum function which takes the
    minimum of the two arguments (x, y)
  • On top of the contour map shown, other parameters are shown as “constraint lines”. For example, the minimum manufacturable thickness is represented as a line. Any design point falling below or to the right of this line may be achievable. Any design point falling above or to the left calls for a layer thickness that is not currently available from any of the contacted vendors. Often, only integer numbers of layers are possible. Similarly, the capacitance is shown in a line. Any design falling below or to the right of this line has less than the optimal capacitance for 2 kHz. Any design above or to the left has a higher capacitance. At this point, one must remember that the displacement contours are shown at 2 kHz. At different frequencies, there will be a different optimal capacitance. (Optimizing for higher frequencies will require smaller capacitances.) Designs that have a 1st mechanical resonance of 10 kHz are shown as a line. Designs to the right have higher resonant frequencies; designs to the left have lower resonant frequencies. Designs that have a low frequency stiffness equal to the umbo stiffness at 10 kHz are shown with a line. Designs to the right have higher stiffnesses; designs to the left have lower stiffnesses. In exemplary embodiments, piezoelectric element parameters that are below and to the right of all the constraint lines while at the same time maximizing location on the displacement contour are chosen. Contour maps can be made for embodiments of bimorph piezoelectric transducers using the parameters set forth in Table 7.
  • TABLE 7
    EXEMPLARY TEST PARAMETERS FOR BIMORPH
    PIEZOELECTRICS
    TRS - Single
    Parameter PZT506 Crystal PVDF
    E11 64.5 GPa 11.6 GPa 3.0 GPa
    d31 225 pm/V 1000 pm/V 20 pm/V
    ε 3a 2250 7700 12
    ρ 8000 Kg/m3 7900 Kg/m3 1780 Kg/m3
    Minimum layer 20 um 140 um 2 um
    thickness
    Lever Ratio 1.0 1.0 1.0
    L 5 mm 5 mm 5 mm
  • Contour maps can be made for embodiments of simply supported bimorph piezoelectrics using the parameters set forth in Table 8 The bimorph with the greatest displacement that meets all of the constraints may be selected. Exemplary embodiments SSBM1, SSBM2, SSBM3, SSBM4, SSBM5, SSBM6, SSBM7, SSBM8, SSBM12, SSBM15, and SSBM18 give displacements greater than 0.1 um at 2 kHz.
  • TABLE 8
    DISPLACEMENT MEASUREMENTS FOR EXEMPLARY
    BIMORPH PIEZOELECTRIC EMBODIMENTS
    Number
    Beam Number of Beam ½ of Layer Maximum
    Embodiment Material width photodetectors thickness layers thickness displacement
    SSBM1 PZT506 0.5 mm 1 120 um 6  20 um 0.15 um
    SSBM2 PZT506 0.5 mm 2 120 um 4  30 um 0.16 um
    SSBM3 PZT506 0.5 mm 3 120 um 3  40 um 0.15 um
    SSBM4 PZT506 1.0 mm 1 100 um 4  25 um 0.15 um
    SSBM5 PZT506 1.0 mm 2 100 um 2  50 um 0.15 um
    SSBM6 PZT506 1.0 mm 3 100 um 1 100 um 0.12 um
    SSBM7 PZT506 1.5 mm 1 100 um 3  33 um 0.12 um
    SSBM8 PZT506 1.5 mm 2 100 um 2  50 um 0.14 um
    SSBM9 PZT506 1.5 mm 3 100 um 1 100 um 0.09 um
    SSBM10 TRS-SC 0.5 mm 1 280 um 2 140 um 0.045 um 
    SSBM11 TRS-SC 0.5 mm 2 280 um 2 140 um 0.09 um
    SSBM12 TRS-SC 0.5 mm 3 280 um 2 140 um 0.13 um
    SSBM13 TRS-SC 1.0 mm 1 280 um 2 140 um 0.05 um
    SSBM14 TRS-SC 1.0 mm 2 280 um 2 140 um 0.09 um
    SSBM15 TRS-SC 1.0 mm 3 230 um 1 230 um 0.10 um
    SSBM16 TRS-SC 1.5 mm 1 280 um 2 140 um 0.045 um 
    SSBM17 TRS-SC 1.5 mm 2 230 um 1 230 um 0.07 um
    SSBM18 TRS-SC 1.5 mm 3 230 um 1 230 um 0.10 um
    SSBM19 PVDF 2.0 mm 2 210 um 34  6.2 um 0.045 um 
    SSBM20 PVDF 2.0 mm 3 210 um 16 13.1 um  0.045 um 
    SSBM21 PVDF 3.0 mm 2 210 um 27  7.8 um 0.04 um
    SSBM22 PVDF 3.0 mm 3 210 um 14  15 um 0.04 um
  • The PZT506 material appears to be the suitable for making the bimorph. Its combination of thin layer thicknesses, high piezoelectric constants and moderate permittivity provides a suitable best output. Also, it appears that a wide range of beams all produce roughly the same output, 0.15 um. Choosing between these options can be based on tradeoffs of manufacturing. For example, layers in the bimorph can be traded-off against segmenting the photodetector.
  • Contour maps can be made for embodiments of back-to-back amplified stack piezoelectric elements, a TRS single crystal back-to-back stack with displacement amplifier, respectively. A displacement amplified stack piezoelectric elements may comprise a scissor jack with two stacks placed back-to-back pushing outwards. In this configuration, the centerline of the assembly does not move. Therefore, the maximum stack length to consider for displacement purposes is 2.5 mm or half of the maximum allowable dimension. However, the effective capacitance may be needed to account for both stacks. The lever ratio may be limited to be between 1 and 15. In between those limits, the stiffness of the stack can be matched to the impedance of the umbo at 10 kHz. Since the number of layers in a stack is high, the thickness of the glue/electrodes between layers may need to be considered. For example, a glue/electrode layer thickness of 16 um may be used. Like with simply supported bimorph piezoelectric elements above, amplified stack piezoelectric elements were analyzed at a variety of thicknesses and assuming various numbers of photodetectors in series. Neither the stiffness nor the 1st resonance of the stack was a limiting factor while layer thickness, capacitance and length may be limiting factors.
  • Table 9 below shows some exemplary ranges of parameters for embodiments of back-to-back amplified stack piezoelectric elements.
  • TABLE 9
    EXEMPLARY TEST PARAMETERS FOR BACK-TO-BACK
    STACK PIEZOELECTRICS
    TRS - Single
    Parameter PZT506 Crystal
    E11 64.5 GPa 11.6 GPa
    d3a 545 pm/V 1900 pm/V
    ε 3a 2250 7700
    ρ 8000 Kg/m3 7900 Kg/m3
    Minimum layer 20 um 140 um
    thickness
    Lever Ratio 1.0 to 15.0 1.0 to 15
    L 2.5 mm 2.5 mm
  • Table 10 below shows parameters for several embodiments of back-to-back amplified stack piezoelectric elements Both the single crystal material and the PZT506 material appear to have maximum outputs near 0.3 um. Several embodiments of back-to-back amplified stack piezoelectric elements produce similar amounts of displacement. Thus, there may be flexibility in manufacturing.
  • TABLE 10
    DISPLACEMENT MEASUREMENTS FOR EXEMPLARY
    BACK-TO-BACK STACK PIEZOELECTRIC EMBODIMENTS
    Number
    Stack Number of of Layer Maximum
    Material width photodetectors layers thickness displacement
    PZT506 0.5 mm 1 65  20 um  0.2 um
    PZT506 0.5 mm 2 45  40 um 0.23 um
    PZT506 0.5 mm 4 25  90 um 0.28 um
    PZT506 0.75 mm  1 58  30 um 0.15 um
    PZT506 0.75 mm  2 32  65 um 0.18 um
    PZT506 0.75 mm  4 16 135 um 0.20 um
    PZT506 1.0 mm 1 45  40 um 0.13 um
    PZT506 1.0 mm 2 25  70 um 0.15 um
    PZT506 1.0 mm 4 12 180 um 0.16 um
    TRS-SC 0.5 mm 1 17 140 um  0.1 um
    TRS-SC 0.5 mm 2 17 140 um  0.2 um
    TRS-SC 0.5 mm 4 14 170 um 0.31 um
    TRS-SC 0.75 mm  1 17 140 um 0.14 um
    TRS-SC 0.75 mm  2 17 140 um 0.28 um
    TRS-SC 0.75 mm  4 9 260 um 0.31 um
    TRS-SC 1.0 mm 1 17 140 um 0.15 um
    TRS-SC 1.0 mm 2 14 175 um 0.25 um
    TRS-SC 1.0 mm 4 7 350 um 0.28 um
  • Embodiments of piezoelectric elements were also tested using a laser vibrometer to measure the velocity (and hence the displacement) of a target. Data was analyzed to yield displacement per volt and plotted versus frequency. Data was determined using the equations mentioned above and plotted alongside the test data.
  • A single Morgan stacked as shown in FIG. 13A was tested. The parameters for the single Morgan stack piezo are shown in Table 11 below. A plot of the test data, including displacement versus voltage, is shown in FIG. 13B.
  • TABLE 11
    EXEMPLARY PARAMETERS FOR
    MORGAN STACKED PIEZO
    Parameter Value
    Material Morgan
    PZT506
    Piezo Dimensions 1 × 1 × 1.8 mm
    Layer Thickness 20 μm
    Number of Layers 50
    E11 6.45e10
    d33 545e−12
    d31 −225e−12
    Density 8000
    Relative Permittivity 2250
    Kp (coupling factor) 0.70
    Input Voltage 1 V
    Input Frequency range 100-20000 Hz
    Measured capacitance 52 nF
    Calculated capacitance 49.8 nF
  • A Steiner and Martins cofired Piezo series bimorph as shown in FIG. 14A was tested. The parameters for the single Morgan stack are shown in Table 12 below. A plot of the test data, including displacement versus voltage, is shown in FIG. 14B. Affixing the piezo using a flexible material increased the vibrational displacement by a few dB.
  • TABLE 12
    EXEMPLARY PARAMETERS FOR STEINER AND
    MARTINS COFIRED PIEZO - SERIES BIMORPH
    Parameter Value
    Material STEMInc
    SMQA
    Piezo Dimensions 7 mm × 7 mm
    Layer Thickness 200 μm
    E11 8.6e10
    d33 310e−12
    d31 −140e−12
    Density 7900
    Relative Permittivity 1400
    Kp (coupling factor) 0.58
    Input Voltage 1 V
    Input Frequency range 100-20000 Hz
    Measured capacitance 1.4 nF
    Calculated capacitance 1.4 nF
  • A TRS Single Crystal Bimorph Cantilever as shown in FIG. 15A was tested. The parameters for the single Morgan stack are shown in Table 13 below. The parameters may comprise known parameters and can be measured by one of ordinary skill in the art. A plot of the test data, including displacement versus voltage, is shown in FIG. 15B
  • TABLE 13
    EXEMPLARY PARAMETERS FOR TRS SINGLE CRYSTAL
    BIMORPH CANTILEVER
    Parameter Value
    Material TRS single
    crystal
    Piezo Dimensions 6 mm × 6 mm
    Layer Thickness 140 μm
    E11 1.16e10
    d33 1900e−12
    d31 −1000e−12
    Density 7900
    Relative Permittivity 7700
    Input Voltage 1 V
    Input Frequency range 100-20000 Hz
    Measured capacitance nF
    Calculated capacitance 35 nF
  • A TRS Single Crystal Bimorph on a washer as shown in FIG. 16A was tested. The parameters for the single Morgan stack are shown in Table 14 below. A plot of the test data, including displacement versus voltage, is shown in FIG. 16B In this test, the resonance is in the predicted frequency but the magnitude is off by nearly 20 dB. The capacitance is also off, so the piezo may be damaged.
  • TABLE 14
    EXEMPLARY PARAMETERS FOR TRS SINGLE
    CRYSTAL ON WASHER
    Parameter Value
    Material TRS single
    crystal
    Piezo Dimensions 1 mm × 5 mm
    Layer Thickness 140 μm
    E11 1.16e10
    d33 1900e−12
    d31 −1000e−12
    Density 7900
    Relative Permittivity 7700
    Input Voltage 1 V
    Input Frequency range 100-20000 Hz
    Measured capacitance 3.6 nF
    Calculated capacitance 4.2 nF
  • A stacked piezo pair with V-jack type displacement amplification as shown in FIG. 17A was tested. The parameters for the single Morgan stack are shown in Table 15 below. A plot of the test data, including displacement versus voltage, is shown in FIGS. 17B and 17C. In this test, an additional resonance appears which may most likely a resonance in the mechanical lever.
  • TABLE 15
    EXEMPLARY PARAMETERS FOR STACKED PIEZO
    PAIR WITH V-JACK DISPLACEMENT AMPLIFICATION
    Parameter Value
    Material Morgan
    PZT506
    Piezo Dimensions 1 × 1 × 3.6 mm
    Lever angle, lever ratio 3.5°, 16X
    Layer Thickness 20 μm
    Number of Layers 100
    E11 6.45e10
    d33 545e−12
    d31 −225e−12
    Density 8000
    Relative Permittivity 2250
    Kp (coupling factor) 0.70
    Input Voltage 1 V
    Input Frequency range 100-20000 Hz
    Measured capacitance 104 nF
    Calculated capacitance 99.6 nF
  • Embodiments of output transducers which were placed on a subject's eardrum were tested. The transducer was wire driven, connected directly to the audiometer to determine the acoustic threshold. In order to reduce the effect of the wires, 48 AWG wire was used between the transducer and a location just outside the ear canal. The position of the transducer was verified by a physician using a video otoscope.
  • Once in place, the audiometer driven transducer was energized across a 12 kΩ load and the audiometer setting adjusted to reach threshold. The threshold was recorded at each frequency tested. After the testing was complete and the transducer removed from the subject's ear, the transducer was reconnected to the audiometer and the voltage measured. Often, the audiometer setting was increased by 40 dB to make a reliable measurement.
  • The data collected was converted to pressure equivalent using Minimum Audible Pressure curves and plotted against the specifications, bench-top data and average electromagnetic or EM system output. In all cases, the assumption is that the input to the transducer is 0.4V peak and 75 mW. The bench-top data was determined by measuring the unloaded displacement and comparing to the known displacement of the umbo at each frequency plotted.
  • In addition to the threshold measurements, the feedback pressure was measured at two locations: at the umbo and at the entrance to the ear canal. Often, the transducer was driven by a laptop running SYSid, and operated at IV peak, with the feedback measured with an ER-7c microphone. The resulting data gives a measure of the gain margin for each transducer design/location if the microphone is located either deep in the canal or at the canal entrance.
  • FIGS. 18A-20B show peak power output and feedback for the tested embodiments of output transducers. Although an idealized target peak power output of 106 dB is shown for purposes of comparison, peak power outputs of less than 106 dB, for example 80 or 90 dB at 10 kHz, can provide improved hearing for many patients. FIGS. 18A and 18B show peak power output and feedback, respectively, of a TRS single crystal bimorph placed on the umbo. The on ear results match the bench top predictions up to 2 kHz, then diverge, with the on-ear results remaining flat up to 12 kHz. The umbo located transducer used a different piezo than the center of pressure located transducer.
  • FIGS. 19A and 19B show peak power output and feedback, respectively, of a TRS single crystal bimorph placed on the center of pressure of the eardrum. The on ear results match the bench top predictions up to 2 kHz, then diverge, with the on-ear results remaining flat up to 12 kHz. Employing feedback cancellers or other feedback handling techniques, or moving the microphone location can improve the power output and feedback profiles.
  • FIGS. 20A and 20B show peak power output and feedback, respectively, of a stacked piezo pair with V-jack type displacement amplification placed on the center of pressure of the eardrum. The 100 nF piezo load causes the PV system to be current limited starting at a low frequency. The overall equivalent pressure per volt (when not current limited) is better than the bimorph case by about 20 dB.
  • While the above is a complete description of the preferred embodiments of the invention, various alternatives, modifications, and equivalents may be used. Therefore, the above description should not be taken as limiting in scope of the invention which is defined by the appended claims.

Claims (66)

1. A device to transmit an audio signal to a user, the user having an ear comprising an eardrum, the device comprising:
a mass;
a piezoelectric transducer; and
a support to support the mass and the piezoelectric transducer with the eardrum, the piezoelectric transducer configured to drive the support and the eardrum with a first force and the mass with a second force, the second force opposite the first force.
2. The device of claim I wherein the piezoelectric transducer is disposed between the mass and the support.
3. The device of claim 1 further comprising at least one flexible structure disposed between the piezoelectric transducer and the mass.
4. The device of claim 1 wherein the piezoelectric transducer is magnetically coupled to the support.
5. The device of claim 1 wherein the piezoelectric transducer comprises a first portion connected to the mass and a second portion connected to the support to drive the mass opposite the support.
6. The device of claim 1 wherein the support comprises a first side shaped to conform with the eardrum.
7. The device of claim 6 wherein a protrusion is disposed opposite the first side and affixed to the piezoelectric transducer.
8. The device of claim 6 further comprising a fluid disposed between the first side and the eardrum to couple the support to the eardrum, the fluid comprising a liquid composed of at least one of an oil, a mineral oil, a silicone oil or a hydrophobic liquid.
9. The device of claim 6 wherein the support comprises a second side disposed opposite the first side, the protrusion extending from the second side to the piezoelectric transducer.
10. The device of claim 1 wherein the support comprises a first component and a second component, the first component comprising a flexible material shaped to conform to the eardrum and flex with motion of the eardrum, the second component comprising a rigid material extending from the transducer to the flexible material to transmit first force to the flexible material and the eardrum.
11. The device of claim 10 wherein the rigid material comprises at least one of a metal, titanium, a stainless steel or a rigid plastic and wherein the flexible material comprises at least one of a silicone, a flexible plastic or a gel.
12. The device of claim 1 further comprising a housing, the housing rigidly affixed to the mass to move the housing and the mass opposite the support.
13. The device of claim 12 wherein the support comprises a rigid material that extends through the housing to the transducer to move the mass and the housing opposite the support.
14. The device of claim 1 wherein the mass comprises circuitry coupled to the transducer and supported with the support and the transducer, the circuitry configured to receive wireless power and wireless transmission of the audio signal to drive the transducer in response to the audio signal.
15. The device of claim 1 wherein the piezoelectric transducer comprises at least one of a piezoelectric unimorph transducer, bimorph-bender piezoelectric transducer, a piezoelectric multimorph transducer, a stacked piezoelectric transducer with a mechanical multiplier or a ring piezoelectric transducer with a mechanical multiplier.
16. The device of claim 15 wherein the piezoelectric transducer comprises the bimorph-bender piezoelectric transducer and the mass comprises a first mass and a second mass, and wherein the bimorph bender comprises a cantilever extending from a first end supporting the first mass to a second end supporting the second mass, and wherein the support is coupled to the cantilever between the first end and the second end to drive the ear drum with the first force and drive the first mass and the second mass with the second force.
17. The device of claim 15 wherein the piezoelectric transducer comprises the stacked piezoelectric transducer with the mechanical multiplier and wherein the mechanical multiplier comprises a first side coupled to the support to drive the eardrum with the first force and a second side coupled to the mass to drive the mass with the second force.
18. The device of claim 15 wherein the piezoelectric transducer comprises the ring piezoelectric transducer with the mechanical multiplier and wherein the mechanical multiplier comprises a first side and a second side, the first side extending inwardly from the ring piezoelectric transducer to the mass, the second side extending inwardly toward a protrusion of the support, and wherein the mass moves away from the protrusion of the support when the ring contracts and toward the protrusion of the support when the ring expands.
19. The device of claim 18, wherein ring piezoelectric multiplier defines a center having central axis extending there through and wherein the central protrusion and the mass are disposed along the central axis.
20. The device of claim 15 wherein the piezoelectric transducer comprises the bimorph bender and wherein the mass comprises a ring having a central aperture formed thereon and wherein the bimorph bender extends across the ring with a first end and a second end coupled to the ring and wherein the support extends through the aperture and connects to the piezoelectric transducer between the first end and the second end to move the support opposite the ring when the bimorph bender bends.
21. The device of claim 20, wherein bimorph bender is connected to the ring with an adhesive on the first end and the second end such that the first end and the second end are configured to move relative to the ring with shear motion when the bimorph bender bends to drive the support opposite the ring.
22. A device to transmit an audio signal to a user, the user having an ear comprising an eardrum, the device comprising:
a transducer;
circuitry coupled to the transducer, the circuitry configured to receive at least one of wireless power or wireless transmission of the audio signal to drive the transducer in response to the audio signal; and
a support configured to couple to the eardrum and support the circuitry and the transducer with the eardrum.
23. The device of claim 22 wherein the transducer is configured to drive the support and the eardrum with a first force and drive the circuitry with a second force, the second force opposite the first force.
24. The device of claim 23 wherein the circuitry is rigidly attached to a mass and coupled to the transducer to drive the circuitry and the mass with the first force.
25. The device of claim 23 wherein the circuitry is rigidly attached to a mass and coupled to the transducer to drive the circuitry and the mass with the second force.
26. The device of claim 22 wherein the circuitry is flexibly attached to a mass and coupled to the transducer to drive the circuitry and the mass with the first force.
27. The device of claim 26 wherein the circuitry is flexibly attached to a mass and coupled to the transducer to drive the circuitry and the mass with the second force.
28. The device of claim 22 wherein the circuitry comprises at least one of a photodetector a coil supported with the support and coupled to the transducer to drive the transducer with the at least one of the wireless power or wireless transmission of the audio signal.
29. The device of claim 22 wherein the transducer comprises at least one of a piezoelectric transducer, a magnetostrictive transducer, a magnet or a coil.
30. A device to transmit an audio signal to a user, the user having an ear comprising an eardrum having a mechanical impedance, the device comprising:
a transducer; and
a support to support the transducer with the eardrum, wherein a combined mass of the support and the transducer supported thereon is configured to match the mechanical impedance of the eardrum for at least one audible frequency between about 0.8 kHz and about 10 kHz.
31. The device of claim 30 wherein the combined mass comprises no more than about 50 mg.
32. The device of claim 31 wherein the combined mass is within a range from about 10 mg to about 40 mg.
33. The device of claim 30 wherein the combined mass comprises at least one of a mass from circuitry to drive the transducer, a mass from a housing disposed over the transducer or a metallic mass coupled to the transducer opposite the support.
34. The device of claim 33 wherein the transducer, the circuitry to drive the transducer, the housing disposed over the transducer and the metallic mass are supported with eardrum when the support is coupled to the eardrum.
35. The device of claim 30 wherein the at least one audible frequency is between about 1 kHz and about 6 KHz.
36. The device of claim 30 wherein the transducer and the mass are positioned on the support to place at least one of the transducer or the mass away from an umbo of the eardrum when the support is placed on the eardrum, so as to decrease a mechanical impedance of the support to sound transmitted with the eardrum when the support is positioned on the eardrum.
37. The device of claim 30 wherein the piezoelectric transducer comprises a stiffness and wherein the stiffness of the piezoelectric transducer is matched to the mechanical impedance of the eardrum for the at least one audible frequency.
38. The device of claim 30 wherein the eardrum comprises an umbo and the acoustic input impedance comprises an acoustic impedance of the umbo and wherein the stiffness of the piezoelectric transducer is matched to the acoustic input impedance of the umbo.
39. A device to transmit an audio signal to a user, the user having an ear comprising an eardrum and a malleus connected to the ear drum at an umbo, the device comprising:
a transducer; and
a support to support the transducer with the eardrum, the transducer configured to drive the eardrum and wherein the transducer is positioned on the support to extend away from the umbo when the support is placed on the eardrum.
40. The device of claim 39 further comprising a mass positioned on the support for placement away from the umbo when the support is placed against the eardrum and wherein the transducer extends between the mass and a position on the support that corresponds to the umbo so as to couple vibration of the transducer to the umbo.
41. The device of claim 40 wherein the mass is positioned on the support to align the mass with the malleus away from the umbo when the support is placed against the eardrum.
42. The device of claim 39 wherein the transducer is positioned on the support so as to decrease a first movement of the transducer relative to a second movement of the umbo when the eardrum vibrates and to amplify the second movement of the umbo relative to the first movement of the transducer when the transducer vibrates.
43. The device of claim 42 wherein first movement of the transducer is no more than about 75% of the second movement of the umbo and wherein the second movement of the umbo is at least about 25% more than the first movement of the transducer.
44. The device of claim 43 wherein first movement of the transducer is no more than about 67% of the second movement of the umbo and wherein the second movement of the umbo is at least about 50% more than the first movement of the transducer.
45. The device of claim 39 further comprising a mass, wherein the transducer is disposed between the mass and the support.
46. The device of claim 39 wherein the support is shaped to the eardrum of the user to position the support on the eardrum in a pre-determined orientation and wherein the transducer is positioned on the support to align the transducer with a malleus of the user with the eardrum disposed between the malleus and the support when the support is placed on the eardrum.
47. The device of claim 46 wherein the support comprises a shape from a mold of the eardrum of the user.
48. The device of claim 46 wherein the transducer is positioned on the support to place the transducer away from a tip of the malleus when the support is placed on the eardrum.
49. The device of claim 46 wherein the malleus comprises a head and a handle, the handle extending from the head to a tip near the umbo of the eardrum, and wherein the transducer is positioned on the support to place the transducer away from the tip when the support is positioned on the eardrum.
50. The device of claim 46 wherein the transducer is positioned on the support to align the transducer with the lateral process of the malleus with the eardrum disposed between the lateral process and the support when the support is placed on the eardrum.
51. The device of claim 50 wherein the support comprises a rigid material that extends from the transducer toward the lateral process to move the lateral process opposite the mass.
52. The device of claim 39 wherein the transducer comprises at least one of a piezoelectric transducer, a magnetostrictive transducer, a photostrictive transducer, a coil or a magnet.
53. The device of claim 52 wherein the transducer comprises the piezoelectric transducer and wherein the piezoelectric transducer comprises a cantilevered bimorph bender, the cantilevered bimorph bender having a first end anchored to the support and a second end attached to a mass to drive the mass opposite the lateral process when the support is placed on the eardrum.
54. The device of claim 39 further comprising:
a mass coupled to the piezoelectric transducer; and
circuitry coupled to the transducer to drive the transducer, the mass and the circuitry supported with the eardrum when the support is placed on the ear;
wherein the support, the transducer, the mass and the circuitry comprise a combined mass of no more than about 60 mg.
55. The device of claim 54 wherein the support, the circuitry, the mass, and the piezoelectric transducer comprise a combined mass of no more than about 40 mg.
56. The device of claim 55 wherein the support, the circuitry, the mass, and the piezoelectric transducer comprise a combined mass of no more than about 30 mg.
57. A device to transmit an audio signal to a user, the user having an ear comprising an eardrum, the device comprising:
a first transducer;
a second transducer; and
a support to support the first transducer and the second transducer with the eardrum when the support is placed against the eardrum, the first transducer positioned on the support to couple to a first side of the malleus, the second transducer positioned on the support to couple to a second side of the malleus.
58. The device of claim 57 wherein the first transducer is positioned on the support to couple to the first side of the malleus and the second transducer is positioned on the support to coupled to the second side of the malleus which is opposite the first side of the malleus.
59. The device of claim 57 wherein the support comprises a first protrusion extending to the first transducer to couple the first side of the malleus to the first transducer and a second protrusion extending to the second transducer to couple the second side of the malleus to the second transducer.
60. The device of claim 57 wherein the first transducer and second transducer are positioned on the support and configured to twist the malleus with a first rotation about an elongate longitudinal axis of the malleus when the first transducer and second transducer move in opposite directions.
61. The device of claim 60 the first transducer and second transducer are positioned on the support and configured to rotate the malleus with a second hinged rotation when the first transducer and second transducer move in similar directions.
62. The device of claim 57 further comprising circuitry coupled to the first transducer and the second transducer, the circuitry configured to generate a first signal to drive the transducer and a second signal to drive the second transducer.
63. The device of claim 62 wherein the circuitry is configured to generate the first signal at least partially out of phase with the second signal and drive the malleus with a twisting motion.
64. The device of claim 62 wherein the circuitry is configured to drive the first transducer substantially in phase with the second transducer at a first frequency below about 1 kHz and wherein the circuitry is configured to drive the first transducer at least about ten degrees out of phase with the second transducer at a second frequency above at least about 2 kHz.
65. The device of claim 62 wherein the first transducer comprises at least one of a first piezoelectric transducer, a first coil and magnet transducer, a first magnetostrictive transducer or a first photostrictive transducer and wherein the second transducer comprises at least one of a second piezoelectric transducer, a second coil and magnet transducer, a second magnetostrictive transducer or a second photostrictive transducer.
66.-72. (canceled)
US13/069,282 2008-09-22 2011-03-22 Transducer devices and methods for hearing Abandoned US20120039493A1 (en)

Priority Applications (6)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US9908708P true 2008-09-22 2008-09-22
US10978508P true 2008-10-30 2008-10-30
US13952608P true 2008-12-19 2008-12-19
US21780109P true 2009-06-03 2009-06-03
PCT/US2009/057716 WO2010033932A1 (en) 2008-09-22 2009-09-21 Transducer devices and methods for hearing
US13/069,282 US20120039493A1 (en) 2008-09-22 2011-03-22 Transducer devices and methods for hearing

Applications Claiming Priority (4)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US13/069,282 US20120039493A1 (en) 2008-09-22 2011-03-22 Transducer devices and methods for hearing
US15/042,595 US9949035B2 (en) 2008-09-22 2016-02-12 Transducer devices and methods for hearing
US15/425,684 US20170150275A1 (en) 2008-09-22 2017-02-06 Devices and methods for hearing
US15/911,595 US20180213331A1 (en) 2008-09-22 2018-03-05 Transducer devices and methods for hearing

Related Parent Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
PCT/US2009/057716 Continuation WO2010033932A1 (en) 2008-09-22 2009-09-21 Transducer devices and methods for hearing

Related Child Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US15/042,595 Continuation US9949035B2 (en) 2008-09-22 2016-02-12 Transducer devices and methods for hearing

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
US20120039493A1 true US20120039493A1 (en) 2012-02-16

Family

ID=42039909

Family Applications (10)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US13/069,282 Abandoned US20120039493A1 (en) 2008-09-22 2011-03-22 Transducer devices and methods for hearing
US13/069,262 Active 2030-10-05 US8858419B2 (en) 2008-09-22 2011-03-22 Balanced armature devices and methods for hearing
US14/491,572 Active 2030-01-15 US9749758B2 (en) 2008-09-22 2014-09-19 Devices and methods for hearing
US15/042,595 Active 2030-05-08 US9949035B2 (en) 2008-09-22 2016-02-12 Transducer devices and methods for hearing
US15/425,684 Pending US20170150275A1 (en) 2008-09-22 2017-02-06 Devices and methods for hearing
US15/706,181 Pending US20180020291A1 (en) 2008-09-22 2017-09-15 Devices and methods for hearing
US15/706,208 Pending US20180014128A1 (en) 2008-09-22 2017-09-15 Devices and methods for hearing
US15/706,236 Active US10237663B2 (en) 2008-09-22 2017-09-15 Devices and methods for hearing
US15/911,595 Pending US20180213331A1 (en) 2008-09-22 2018-03-05 Transducer devices and methods for hearing
US16/260,684 Pending US20190158961A1 (en) 2008-09-22 2019-01-29 Devices and methods for hearing

Family Applications After (9)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US13/069,262 Active 2030-10-05 US8858419B2 (en) 2008-09-22 2011-03-22 Balanced armature devices and methods for hearing
US14/491,572 Active 2030-01-15 US9749758B2 (en) 2008-09-22 2014-09-19 Devices and methods for hearing
US15/042,595 Active 2030-05-08 US9949035B2 (en) 2008-09-22 2016-02-12 Transducer devices and methods for hearing
US15/425,684 Pending US20170150275A1 (en) 2008-09-22 2017-02-06 Devices and methods for hearing
US15/706,181 Pending US20180020291A1 (en) 2008-09-22 2017-09-15 Devices and methods for hearing
US15/706,208 Pending US20180014128A1 (en) 2008-09-22 2017-09-15 Devices and methods for hearing
US15/706,236 Active US10237663B2 (en) 2008-09-22 2017-09-15 Devices and methods for hearing
US15/911,595 Pending US20180213331A1 (en) 2008-09-22 2018-03-05 Transducer devices and methods for hearing
US16/260,684 Pending US20190158961A1 (en) 2008-09-22 2019-01-29 Devices and methods for hearing

Country Status (7)

Country Link
US (10) US20120039493A1 (en)
EP (2) EP3509324A1 (en)
KR (2) KR20110086804A (en)
CN (1) CN102301747B (en)
BR (2) BRPI0918994A2 (en)
DK (1) DK2342905T3 (en)
WO (2) WO2010033932A1 (en)

Cited By (12)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US8715173B2 (en) * 2012-03-12 2014-05-06 United Sciences, Llc Otoscanner with fan and ring laser
US8900126B2 (en) 2011-03-23 2014-12-02 United Sciences, Llc Optical scanning device
US9392377B2 (en) 2010-12-20 2016-07-12 Earlens Corporation Anatomically customized ear canal hearing apparatus
US9591409B2 (en) 2008-06-17 2017-03-07 Earlens Corporation Optical electro-mechanical hearing devices with separate power and signal components
US9749758B2 (en) 2008-09-22 2017-08-29 Earlens Corporation Devices and methods for hearing
US9924276B2 (en) 2014-11-26 2018-03-20 Earlens Corporation Adjustable venting for hearing instruments
US9930458B2 (en) 2014-07-14 2018-03-27 Earlens Corporation Sliding bias and peak limiting for optical hearing devices
US9949039B2 (en) 2005-05-03 2018-04-17 Earlens Corporation Hearing system having improved high frequency response
US10034103B2 (en) 2014-03-18 2018-07-24 Earlens Corporation High fidelity and reduced feedback contact hearing apparatus and methods
US10154352B2 (en) 2007-10-12 2018-12-11 Earlens Corporation Multifunction system and method for integrated hearing and communication with noise cancellation and feedback management
US10178483B2 (en) 2015-12-30 2019-01-08 Earlens Corporation Light based hearing systems, apparatus, and methods
US10292601B2 (en) 2015-10-02 2019-05-21 Earlens Corporation Wearable customized ear canal apparatus

Families Citing this family (15)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US9462365B1 (en) 2012-03-14 2016-10-04 Google Inc. Structure and manufacture of bone-conduction transducer
CN103428618A (en) * 2012-05-18 2013-12-04 周巍 Armature device used for moving-iron type loudspeaker or receiver
WO2014129785A1 (en) * 2013-02-20 2014-08-28 경북대학교 산학협력단 Easily-installed microphone for implantable hearing aids
US9980064B2 (en) * 2013-09-30 2018-05-22 Cochlear Limited Sub-cranial vibratory stimulator
WO2015088909A1 (en) * 2013-12-09 2015-06-18 Etymotic Research, Inc. System for providing an applied force indication
DE102013114771B4 (en) * 2013-12-23 2018-06-28 Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen Medizinische Fakultät In the ear canal hearing aid and hearing aid insertable system
US9544675B2 (en) 2014-02-21 2017-01-10 Earlens Corporation Contact hearing system with wearable communication apparatus
CN103915672B (en) * 2014-04-08 2016-05-04 山东国恒机电配套有限公司 A Double Loop 3dB Hybrid
GB2531348B (en) * 2014-10-17 2019-04-24 Murata Manufacturing Co Compact embedded isolation transformer device and method of making the same
CN106210995B (en) * 2016-08-09 2019-05-24 苏州倍声声学技术有限公司 Noise-proofing bone-conduction speaker manufacturing method
CN106210994A (en) * 2016-08-09 2016-12-07 苏州倍声声学技术有限公司 Anti-electromagnetic interference bone-conduction speaker, and manufacturing method thereof
CN106162471B (en) * 2016-08-09 2019-06-14 苏州倍声声学技术有限公司 Noise-proofing bone-con-duction microphone and its manufacturing method
CN106165949A (en) * 2016-08-10 2016-11-30 苏州倍声声学技术有限公司 Smart bracelet based on AMBA technology
CN106303864A (en) * 2016-10-09 2017-01-04 苏州倍声声学技术有限公司 Novel bone-conduction microphone
EP3343955A1 (en) * 2016-12-29 2018-07-04 Oticon A/s Assembly for hearing aid

Citations (11)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4031318A (en) * 1975-11-21 1977-06-21 Innovative Electronics, Inc. High fidelity loudspeaker system
US4957478A (en) * 1988-10-17 1990-09-18 Maniglia Anthony J Partially implantable hearing aid device
US5913815A (en) * 1993-07-01 1999-06-22 Symphonix Devices, Inc. Bone conducting floating mass transducers
US6084975A (en) * 1998-05-19 2000-07-04 Resound Corporation Promontory transmitting coil and tympanic membrane magnet for hearing devices
US6217508B1 (en) * 1998-08-14 2001-04-17 Symphonix Devices, Inc. Ultrasonic hearing system
US6264603B1 (en) * 1997-08-07 2001-07-24 St. Croix Medical, Inc. Middle ear vibration sensor using multiple transducers
US6663575B2 (en) * 2000-08-25 2003-12-16 Phonak Ag Device for electromechanical stimulation and testing of hearing
US6726618B2 (en) * 2001-04-12 2004-04-27 Otologics, Llc Hearing aid with internal acoustic middle ear transducer
US20060278245A1 (en) * 2005-05-26 2006-12-14 Gan Rong Z Three-dimensional finite element modeling of human ear for sound transmission
US20090253951A1 (en) * 1993-07-01 2009-10-08 Vibrant Med-El Hearing Technology Gmbh Bone conducting floating mass transducers
US20100085176A1 (en) * 2006-12-06 2010-04-08 Bernd Flick Method and device for warning the driver

Family Cites Families (436)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2763334A (en) 1952-08-07 1956-09-18 Charles H Starkey Ear mold for hearing aids
US3209082A (en) 1957-05-27 1965-09-28 Beltone Electronics Corp Hearing aid
US3229049A (en) 1960-08-04 1966-01-11 Goldberg Hyman Hearing aid
US3440314A (en) 1966-09-30 1969-04-22 Dow Corning Method of making custom-fitted earplugs for hearing aids
US3549818A (en) 1967-08-15 1970-12-22 Message Systems Inc Transmitting antenna for audio induction communication system
US3526949A (en) 1967-10-09 1970-09-08 Ibm Fly's eye molding technique
US3585416A (en) 1969-10-07 1971-06-15 Howard G Mellen Photopiezoelectric transducer
US3594514A (en) 1970-01-02 1971-07-20 Medtronic Inc Hearing aid with piezoelectric ceramic element
US3710399A (en) 1970-06-23 1973-01-16 H Hurst Ossicle replacement prosthesis
DE2044870C3 (en) 1970-09-10 1978-12-21 Dietrich Prof. Dr.Med. 7400 Tuebingen Plester
US3712962A (en) 1971-04-05 1973-01-23 J Epley Implantable piezoelectric hearing aid
US3764748A (en) 1972-05-19 1973-10-09 J Branch Implanted hearing aids
US3808179A (en) 1972-06-16 1974-04-30 Polycon Laboratories Oxygen-permeable contact lens composition,methods and article of manufacture
US3882285A (en) 1973-10-09 1975-05-06 Vicon Instr Company Implantable hearing aid and method of improving hearing
US4075042A (en) 1973-11-16 1978-02-21 Raytheon Company Samarium-cobalt magnet with grain growth inhibited SmCo5 crystals
GB1489432A (en) 1973-12-03 1977-10-19 Commw Scient Ind Res Org Communication or signalling system
US3965430A (en) 1973-12-26 1976-06-22 Burroughs Corporation Electronic peak sensing digitizer for optical tachometers
US3985977A (en) 1975-04-21 1976-10-12 Motorola, Inc. Receiver system for receiving audio electrical signals
US4002897A (en) 1975-09-12 1977-01-11 Bell Telephone Laboratories, Incorporated Opto-acoustic telephone receiver
US4338929A (en) 1976-03-18 1982-07-13 Gullfiber Ab Ear-plug
US4120570A (en) 1976-06-22 1978-10-17 Syntex (U.S.A.) Inc. Method for correcting visual defects, compositions and articles of manufacture useful therein
US4098277A (en) 1977-01-28 1978-07-04 Sherwin Mendell Fitted, integrally molded device for stimulating auricular acupuncture points and method of making the device
US4109116A (en) 1977-07-19 1978-08-22 Victoreen John A Hearing aid receiver with plural transducers
DE2964775D1 (en) 1978-03-09 1983-03-24 Nat Res Dev Measurement of small movements
US4252440A (en) 1978-12-15 1981-02-24 Nasa Photomechanical transducer
US4248899A (en) 1979-02-26 1981-02-03 The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of Agriculture Protected feeds for ruminants
JPS5850078B2 (en) 1979-05-04 1983-11-08 Gen Engineering Co
IT1117418B (en) 1979-08-01 1986-02-17 Marcon Srl Improvement in the capsules to re production of sound for hearing aids
US4303772A (en) 1979-09-04 1981-12-01 George F. Tsuetaki Oxygen permeable hard and semi-hard contact lens compositions methods and articles of manufacture
US4357497A (en) 1979-09-24 1982-11-02 Hochmair Ingeborg System for enhancing auditory stimulation and the like
DE3008677C2 (en) 1980-03-06 1983-08-25 Siemens Ag, 1000 Berlin Und 8000 Muenchen, De
US4319359A (en) 1980-04-10 1982-03-09 Rca Corporation Radio transmitter energy recovery system
US4334321A (en) 1981-01-19 1982-06-08 Seymour Edelman Opto-acoustic transducer and telephone receiver
US4556122B1 (en) 1981-08-31 1987-08-18
US4588867A (en) 1982-04-27 1986-05-13 Masao Konomi Ear microphone
JPS6261928B2 (en) 1982-07-27 1987-12-24 Hoya Corp
DE3243850A1 (en) 1982-11-26 1984-05-30 Manfred Koch Induction coil for hearing aids for those with impaired hearing, for the reception of low-frequency electrical signals
US4689819B1 (en) 1983-12-08 1996-08-13 Knowles Electronics Inc Class D hearing aid amplifier
US4592087B1 (en) 1983-12-08 1996-08-13 Knowles Electronics Inc Class D hearing aid amplifier
JPS60154800A (en) 1984-01-24 1985-08-14 Eastern Electric Kk Hearing aid
US4628907A (en) * 1984-03-22 1986-12-16 Epley John M Direct contact hearing aid apparatus
US4756312A (en) 1984-03-22 1988-07-12 Advanced Hearing Technology, Inc. Magnetic attachment device for insertion and removal of hearing aid
US4641377A (en) 1984-04-06 1987-02-03 Institute Of Gas Technology Photoacoustic speaker and method
US4524294A (en) 1984-05-07 1985-06-18 The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Army Ferroelectric photomechanical actuators
DE3420244A1 (en) 1984-05-30 1985-12-05 Hortmann Gmbh Multi-frequency transmission system for implanted prostheses
DE3431584A1 (en) 1984-08-28 1986-03-13 Siemens Ag hearing aid
GB2166022A (en) * 1984-09-05 1986-04-23 Sawafuji Dynameca Co Ltd Piezoelectric vibrator
CA1246680A (en) 1984-10-22 1988-12-13 James M. Harrison Power transfer for implanted prosthesis
US4729366A (en) 1984-12-04 1988-03-08 Medical Devices Group, Inc. Implantable hearing aid and method of improving hearing
US4652414A (en) 1985-02-12 1987-03-24 Innovative Hearing Corporation Process for manufacturing an ear fitted acoustical hearing aid
DE3506721A1 (en) 1985-02-26 1986-08-28 Hortmann Gmbh Transmission system for implanted prostheses
US4963963A (en) 1985-02-26 1990-10-16 The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Air Force Infrared scanner using dynamic range conserving video processing
DE3508830A1 (en) 1985-03-13 1986-09-18 Bosch Gmbh Robert Hearing aid
US4776322A (en) 1985-05-22 1988-10-11 Xomed, Inc. Implantable electromagnetic middle-ear bone-conduction hearing aid device
US5015225A (en) 1985-05-22 1991-05-14 Xomed, Inc. Implantable electromagnetic middle-ear bone-conduction hearing aid device
US4606329A (en) 1985-05-22 1986-08-19 Xomed, Inc. Implantable electromagnetic middle-ear bone-conduction hearing aid device
US5699809A (en) 1985-11-17 1997-12-23 Mdi Instruments, Inc. Device and process for generating and measuring the shape of an acoustic reflectance curve of an ear
US5868682A (en) 1995-01-26 1999-02-09 Mdi Instruments, Inc. Device and process for generating and measuring the shape of an acoustic reflectance curve of an ear
JPH0351194B2 (en) 1986-01-23 1991-08-06 Takashi Mori
US4948855A (en) 1986-02-06 1990-08-14 Progressive Chemical Research, Ltd. Comfortable, oxygen permeable contact lenses and the manufacture thereof
US4840178A (en) 1986-03-07 1989-06-20 Richards Metal Company Magnet for installation in the middle ear
US4800884A (en) 1986-03-07 1989-01-31 Richards Medical Company Magnetic induction hearing aid
US4817607A (en) 1986-03-07 1989-04-04 Richards Medical Company Magnetic ossicular replacement prosthesis
US4870688A (en) 1986-05-27 1989-09-26 Barry Voroba Mass production auditory canal hearing aid
US4759070A (en) 1986-05-27 1988-07-19 Voroba Technologies Associates Patient controlled master hearing aid
US4742499A (en) 1986-06-13 1988-05-03 Image Acoustics, Inc. Flextensional transducer
NL8602043A (en) 1986-08-08 1988-03-01 Forelec N V A method for the packaging of an implant, for example, an electronic circuit, packing and implant.
US5068902A (en) 1986-11-13 1991-11-26 Epic Corporation Method and apparatus for reducing acoustical distortion
US4766607A (en) 1987-03-30 1988-08-23 Feldman Nathan W Method of improving the sensitivity of the earphone of an optical telephone and earphone so improved
JPH0328951B2 (en) 1987-04-07 1991-04-22 Takashi Mori
US4774933A (en) 1987-05-18 1988-10-04 Xomed, Inc. Method and apparatus for implanting hearing device
EP0296092A3 (en) 1987-06-19 1989-08-16 George Geladakis Arrangement for wireless earphones without batteries and electronic circuits, applicable in audio-systems or audio-visual systems of all kinds
US20030021903A1 (en) 1987-07-17 2003-01-30 Shlenker Robin Reneethill Method of forming a membrane, especially a latex or polymer membrane, including multiple discrete layers
US4800982A (en) * 1987-10-14 1989-01-31 Industrial Research Products, Inc. Cleanable in-the-ear electroacoustic transducer
DE8816422U1 (en) 1988-05-06 1989-08-10 Siemens Ag, 1000 Berlin Und 8000 Muenchen, De
US4944301A (en) 1988-06-16 1990-07-31 Cochlear Corporation Method for determining absolute current density through an implanted electrode
US4936305A (en) 1988-07-20 1990-06-26 Richards Medical Company Shielded magnetic assembly for use with a hearing aid
US5201007A (en) 1988-09-15 1993-04-06 Epic Corporation Apparatus and method for conveying amplified sound to ear
US5031219A (en) 1988-09-15 1991-07-09 Epic Corporation Apparatus and method for conveying amplified sound to the ear
US5015224A (en) * 1988-10-17 1991-05-14 Maniglia Anthony J Partially implantable hearing aid device
US5066091A (en) 1988-12-22 1991-11-19 Kingston Technologies, Inc. Amorphous memory polymer alignment device with access means
DE3940632C1 (en) 1989-06-02 1990-12-06 Hortmann Gmbh, 7449 Neckartenzlingen, De Hearing aid directly exciting inner ear - has microphone encapsulated for implantation in tympanic cavity or mastoid region
US5117461A (en) 1989-08-10 1992-05-26 Mnc, Inc. Electroacoustic device for hearing needs including noise cancellation
US5003608A (en) 1989-09-22 1991-03-26 Resound Corporation Apparatus and method for manipulating devices in orifices
US5061282A (en) * 1989-10-10 1991-10-29 Jacobs Jared J Cochlear implant auditory prosthesis
US4999819A (en) 1990-04-18 1991-03-12 The Pennsylvania Research Corporation Transformed stress direction acoustic transducer
US5272757A (en) 1990-09-12 1993-12-21 Sonics Associates, Inc. Multi-dimensional reproduction system
US5094108A (en) 1990-09-28 1992-03-10 Korea Standards Research Institute Ultrasonic contact transducer for point-focussing surface waves
KR100229086B1 (en) 1990-11-07 1999-11-01 빈센트 블루비너지 Contact transducer assembly for hearing devices
US5259032A (en) 1990-11-07 1993-11-02 Resound Corporation contact transducer assembly for hearing devices
DE69233156T2 (en) * 1991-01-17 2004-07-08 Adelman, Roger A. improved hearing aid
DE4104358C2 (en) 1991-02-13 1992-11-19 Implex Gmbh, 7449 Neckartenzlingen, De
US5167235A (en) 1991-03-04 1992-12-01 Pat O. Daily Revocable Trust Fiber optic ear thermometer
DE69222039D1 (en) 1991-04-01 1997-10-09 Resound Corp Inconspicuous communication method using an electromagnetic remote control
US5282858A (en) * 1991-06-17 1994-02-01 American Cyanamid Company Hermetically sealed implantable transducer
US5142186A (en) 1991-08-05 1992-08-25 United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Air Force Single crystal domain driven bender actuator
US5163957A (en) 1991-09-10 1992-11-17 Smith & Nephew Richards, Inc. Ossicular prosthesis for mounting magnet
US5276910A (en) 1991-09-13 1994-01-04 Resound Corporation Energy recovering hearing system
US5440082A (en) 1991-09-19 1995-08-08 U.S. Philips Corporation Method of manufacturing an in-the-ear hearing aid, auxiliary tool for use in the method, and ear mould and hearing aid manufactured in accordance with the method
US5220612A (en) * 1991-12-20 1993-06-15 Tibbetts Industries, Inc. Non-occludable transducers for in-the-ear applications
DK0563421T3 (en) 1992-03-31 1997-12-29 Siemens Audiologische Technik Hearing-circuit device
US5402496A (en) 1992-07-13 1995-03-28 Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing Company Auditory prosthesis, noise suppression apparatus and feedback suppression apparatus having focused adaptive filtering
US5360388A (en) 1992-10-09 1994-11-01 The University Of Virginia Patents Foundation Round window electromagnetic implantable hearing aid
US5715321A (en) 1992-10-29 1998-02-03 Andrea Electronics Coporation Noise cancellation headset for use with stand or worn on ear
US5455994A (en) 1992-11-17 1995-10-10 U.S. Philips Corporation Method of manufacturing an in-the-ear hearing aid
US5531787A (en) 1993-01-25 1996-07-02 Lesinski; S. George Implantable auditory system with micromachined microsensor and microactuator
EP0627206B1 (en) 1993-03-12 2002-11-20 Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba Apparatus for ultrasound medical treatment
US5440237A (en) 1993-06-01 1995-08-08 Incontrol Solutions, Inc. Electronic force sensing with sensor normalization
NL9300971A (en) * 1993-06-04 1995-01-02 Framatome Connectors Belgium Connector assembly for printed circuit boards.
US5554096A (en) 1993-07-01 1996-09-10 Symphonix Implantable electromagnetic hearing transducer
US5456654A (en) 1993-07-01 1995-10-10 Ball; Geoffrey R. Implantable magnetic hearing aid transducer
US5624376A (en) 1993-07-01 1997-04-29 Symphonix Devices, Inc. Implantable and external hearing systems having a floating mass transducer
US5897486A (en) 1993-07-01 1999-04-27 Symphonix Devices, Inc. Dual coil floating mass transducers
US5800336A (en) 1993-07-01 1998-09-01 Symphonix Devices, Inc. Advanced designs of floating mass transducers
US6676592B2 (en) 1993-07-01 2004-01-13 Symphonix Devices, Inc. Dual coil floating mass transducers
US5795287A (en) 1996-01-03 1998-08-18 Symphonix Devices, Inc. Tinnitus masker for direct drive hearing devices
ITGE940067A1 (en) * 1994-05-27 1995-11-27 Ernes S R L the-ear hearing aid.
RU2074444C1 (en) 1994-07-26 1997-02-27 Евгений Инвиевич Гиваргизов Self-emitting cathode and device which uses it
US5531954A (en) 1994-08-05 1996-07-02 Resound Corporation Method for fabricating a hearing aid housing
US5572594A (en) 1994-09-27 1996-11-05 Devoe; Lambert Ear canal device holder
US5549658A (en) 1994-10-24 1996-08-27 Advanced Bionics Corporation Four-Channel cochlear system with a passive, non-hermetically sealed implant
US5701348A (en) 1994-12-29 1997-12-23 Decibel Instruments, Inc. Articulated hearing device
US5558618A (en) 1995-01-23 1996-09-24 Maniglia; Anthony J. Semi-implantable middle ear hearing device
US5906635A (en) 1995-01-23 1999-05-25 Maniglia; Anthony J. Electromagnetic implantable hearing device for improvement of partial and total sensoryneural hearing loss
DE19504478C2 (en) 1995-02-10 1996-12-19 Siemens Audiologische Technik Ear canal used for hearing aids
US5692059A (en) 1995-02-24 1997-11-25 Kruger; Frederick M. Two active element in-the-ear microphone system
US5740258A (en) 1995-06-05 1998-04-14 Mcnc Active noise supressors and methods for use in the ear canal
US5721783A (en) 1995-06-07 1998-02-24 Anderson; James C. Hearing aid with wireless remote processor
US5606621A (en) 1995-06-14 1997-02-25 Siemens Hearing Instruments, Inc. Hybrid behind-the-ear and completely-in-canal hearing aid
US6168948B1 (en) 1995-06-29 2001-01-02 Affymetrix, Inc. Miniaturized genetic analysis systems and methods
US5949895A (en) 1995-09-07 1999-09-07 Symphonix Devices, Inc. Disposable audio processor for use with implanted hearing devices
US5772575A (en) 1995-09-22 1998-06-30 S. George Lesinski Implantable hearing aid
JP3567028B2 (en) 1995-09-28 2004-09-15 株式会社トプコン A control device and a control method for an optical strain element
AU711172B2 (en) 1995-11-13 1999-10-07 Cochlear Limited Implantable microphone for cochlear implants and the like
WO1997019573A1 (en) 1995-11-20 1997-05-29 Resound Corporation An apparatus and method for monitoring magnetic audio systems
CA2235738C (en) 1995-11-22 2005-07-26 Minimed, Inc. Detection of biological molecules using chemical amplification and optical sensors
US5729077A (en) 1995-12-15 1998-03-17 The Penn State Research Foundation Metal-electroactive ceramic composite transducer
JP2000504913A (en) 1996-02-15 2000-04-18 アーマンド ピー ニューカーマンス Improved bio-Friendly transducer
DE69739101D1 (en) 1996-03-25 2008-12-24 S George Lesinski Micro Threaded connections implantable hearing aid
DE19618964C2 (en) 1996-05-10 1999-12-16 Implex Hear Tech Ag Implantable positioning and fixing system for actuator and sensor implants
US5797834A (en) 1996-05-31 1998-08-25 Resound Corporation Hearing improvement device
JPH09327098A (en) 1996-06-03 1997-12-16 Yoshihiro Koseki Hearing aid
US6978159B2 (en) 1996-06-19 2005-12-20 Board Of Trustees Of The University Of Illinois Binaural signal processing using multiple acoustic sensors and digital filtering
US6222927B1 (en) 1996-06-19 2001-04-24 The University Of Illinois Binaural signal processing system and method
US6493453B1 (en) 1996-07-08 2002-12-10 Douglas H. Glendon Hearing aid apparatus
US5859916A (en) 1996-07-12 1999-01-12 Symphonix Devices, Inc. Two stage implantable microphone
AU3960697A (en) 1996-07-19 1998-02-10 Armand P. Neukermans Biocompatible, implantable hearing aid microactuator
US5707338A (en) 1996-08-07 1998-01-13 St. Croix Medical, Inc. Stapes vibrator
US5842967A (en) 1996-08-07 1998-12-01 St. Croix Medical, Inc. Contactless transducer stimulation and sensing of ossicular chain
US5879283A (en) 1996-08-07 1999-03-09 St. Croix Medical, Inc. Implantable hearing system having multiple transducers
US5899847A (en) 1996-08-07 1999-05-04 St. Croix Medical, Inc. Implantable middle-ear hearing assist system using piezoelectric transducer film
US5836863A (en) 1996-08-07 1998-11-17 St. Croix Medical, Inc. Hearing aid transducer support
US6005955A (en) 1996-08-07 1999-12-21 St. Croix Medical, Inc. Middle ear transducer
US5762583A (en) 1996-08-07 1998-06-09 St. Croix Medical, Inc. Piezoelectric film transducer
US5814095A (en) 1996-09-18 1998-09-29 Implex Gmbh Spezialhorgerate Implantable microphone and implantable hearing aids utilizing same
US6024717A (en) 1996-10-24 2000-02-15 Vibrx, Inc. Apparatus and method for sonically enhanced drug delivery
US5804109A (en) 1996-11-08 1998-09-08 Resound Corporation Method of producing an ear canal impression
US5922077A (en) 1996-11-14 1999-07-13 Data General Corporation Fail-over switching system
JPH10190589A (en) 1996-12-17 1998-07-21 Texas Instr Inc <Ti> Adaptive noise control system and on-line feedback route modeling and on-line secondary route modeling method
DE19653582A1 (en) 1996-12-20 1998-06-25 Nokia Deutschland Gmbh Means for wireless optical transmission of video and / or audio information
DE19700813A1 (en) 1997-01-13 1998-07-16 Eberhard Prof Dr Med Stennert Middle ear prosthesis
US5804907A (en) 1997-01-28 1998-09-08 The Penn State Research Foundation High strain actuator using ferroelectric single crystal
US5888187A (en) 1997-03-27 1999-03-30 Symphonix Devices, Inc. Implantable microphone
US6445799B1 (en) 1997-04-03 2002-09-03 Gn Resound North America Corporation Noise cancellation earpiece
US5987146A (en) 1997-04-03 1999-11-16 Resound Corporation Ear canal microphone
US6181801B1 (en) 1997-04-03 2001-01-30 Resound Corporation Wired open ear canal earpiece
US6240192B1 (en) 1997-04-16 2001-05-29 Dspfactory Ltd. Apparatus for and method of filtering in an digital hearing aid, including an application specific integrated circuit and a programmable digital signal processor
US6045528A (en) 1997-06-13 2000-04-04 Intraear, Inc. Inner ear fluid transfer and diagnostic system
US6408496B1 (en) 1997-07-09 2002-06-25 Ronald S. Maynard Method of manufacturing a vibrational transducer
US5954628A (en) 1997-08-07 1999-09-21 St. Croix Medical, Inc. Capacitive input transducers for middle ear sensing
US6139488A (en) 1997-09-25 2000-10-31 Symphonix Devices, Inc. Biasing device for implantable hearing devices
JPH11168246A (en) 1997-09-30 1999-06-22 Matsushita Electric Ind Co Ltd Piezoelectric actuator, infrared ray sensor, and piezoelectric light deflector
US6068590A (en) 1997-10-24 2000-05-30 Hearing Innovations, Inc. Device for diagnosing and treating hearing disorders
US6498858B2 (en) 1997-11-18 2002-12-24 Gn Resound A/S Feedback cancellation improvements
AUPP052097A0 (en) 1997-11-24 1997-12-18 Nhas National Hearing Aids Systems Hearing aid
US6093144A (en) 1997-12-16 2000-07-25 Symphonix Devices, Inc. Implantable microphone having improved sensitivity and frequency response
US6438244B1 (en) 1997-12-18 2002-08-20 Softear Technologies Hearing aid construction with electronic components encapsulated in soft polymeric body
US20080063231A1 (en) 1998-05-26 2008-03-13 Softear Technologies, L.L.C. Method of manufacturing a soft hearing aid
US6695943B2 (en) 1997-12-18 2004-02-24 Softear Technologies, L.L.C. Method of manufacturing a soft hearing aid
US6473512B1 (en) 1997-12-18 2002-10-29 Softear Technologies, L.L.C. Apparatus and method for a custom soft-solid hearing aid
WO1999031934A1 (en) 1997-12-18 1999-06-24 Softear Technologies, L.L.C. Compliant hearing aid and method of manufacture
US6366863B1 (en) 1998-01-09 2002-04-02 Micro Ear Technology Inc. Portable hearing-related analysis system
US6549633B1 (en) 1998-02-18 2003-04-15 Widex A/S Binaural digital hearing aid system
US5900274A (en) 1998-05-01 1999-05-04 Eastman Kodak Company Controlled composition and crystallographic changes in forming functionally gradient piezoelectric transducers
US6137889A (en) * 1998-05-27 2000-10-24 Insonus Medical, Inc. Direct tympanic membrane excitation via vibrationally conductive assembly
US6681022B1 (en) 1998-07-22 2004-01-20 Gn Resound North Amerca Corporation Two-way communication earpiece
US7058182B2 (en) 1999-10-06 2006-06-06 Gn Resound A/S Apparatus and methods for hearing aid performance measurement, fitting, and initialization
US6261223B1 (en) 1998-10-15 2001-07-17 St. Croix Medical, Inc. Method and apparatus for fixation type feedback reduction in implantable hearing assistance system
AT408607B (en) 1998-10-23 2002-01-25 Vujanic Aleksandar Dipl Ing Dr Implantable sound receptor for hearing aids
US6393130B1 (en) 1998-10-26 2002-05-21 Beltone Electronics Corporation Deformable, multi-material hearing aid housing
US6940988B1 (en) 1998-11-25 2005-09-06 Insound Medical, Inc. Semi-permanent canal hearing device
US8197461B1 (en) 1998-12-04 2012-06-12 Durect Corporation Controlled release system for delivering therapeutic agents into the inner ear
US6735318B2 (en) 1998-12-30 2004-05-11 Kyungpook National University Industrial Collaboration Foundation Middle ear hearing aid transducer
US6359993B2 (en) * 1999-01-15 2002-03-19 Sonic Innovations Conformal tip for a hearing aid with integrated vent and retrieval cord
US6277148B1 (en) 1999-02-11 2001-08-21 Soundtec, Inc. Middle ear magnet implant, attachment device and method, and test instrument and method
GB9907050D0 (en) 1999-03-26 1999-05-19 Sonomax Sft Inc System for fitting a hearing device in the ear
US6385363B1 (en) 1999-03-26 2002-05-07 U.T. Battelle Llc Photo-induced micro-mechanical optical switch
US6135612A (en) 1999-03-29 2000-10-24 Clore; William B. Display unit
US6312959B1 (en) 1999-03-30 2001-11-06 U.T. Battelle, Llc Method using photo-induced and thermal bending of MEMS sensors
US6724902B1 (en) 1999-04-29 2004-04-20 Insound Medical, Inc. Canal hearing device with tubular insert
US6738485B1 (en) 1999-05-10 2004-05-18 Peter V. Boesen Apparatus, method and system for ultra short range communication
US6879698B2 (en) 1999-05-10 2005-04-12 Peter V. Boesen Cellular telephone, personal digital assistant with voice communication unit
US6094492A (en) 1999-05-10 2000-07-25 Boesen; Peter V. Bone conduction voice transmission apparatus and system
US6259951B1 (en) * 1999-05-14 2001-07-10 Advanced Bionics Corporation Implantable cochlear stimulator system incorporating combination electrode/transducer
US6754537B1 (en) 1999-05-14 2004-06-22 Advanced Bionics Corporation Hybrid implantable cochlear stimulator hearing aid system
US6473513B1 (en) 1999-06-08 2002-10-29 Insonus Medical, Inc. Extended wear canal hearing device
DE19942707C2 (en) 1999-09-07 2002-08-01 Siemens Audiologische Technik In the ear hearing aid or hearing aid with portable portable in the ear otoplasty
US6554761B1 (en) 1999-10-29 2003-04-29 Soundport Corporation Flextensional microphones for implantable hearing devices
US6629922B1 (en) 1999-10-29 2003-10-07 Soundport Corporation Flextensional output actuators for surgically implantable hearing aids
US7014336B1 (en) 1999-11-18 2006-03-21 Color Kinetics Incorporated Systems and methods for generating and modulating illumination conditions
US6726718B1 (en) 1999-12-13 2004-04-27 St. Jude Medical, Inc. Medical articles prepared for cell adhesion
US6888949B1 (en) 1999-12-22 2005-05-03 Gn Resound A/S Hearing aid with adaptive noise canceller
US6436028B1 (en) 1999-12-28 2002-08-20 Soundtec, Inc. Direct drive movement of body constituent
US6940989B1 (en) 1999-12-30 2005-09-06 Insound Medical, Inc. Direct tympanic drive via a floating filament assembly
JP2001195901A (en) 2000-01-14 2001-07-19 Nippon Sheet Glass Co Ltd Illumination apparatus
US20030208099A1 (en) 2001-01-19 2003-11-06 Geoffrey Ball Soundbridge test system
US6387039B1 (en) 2000-02-04 2002-05-14 Ron L. Moses Implantable hearing aid
DE10015421C2 (en) 2000-03-28 2002-07-04 Implex Ag Hearing Technology I Partially or fully implantable hearing system
US7095981B1 (en) 2000-04-04 2006-08-22 Great American Technologies Low power infrared portable communication system with wireless receiver and methods regarding same
US6631196B1 (en) 2000-04-07 2003-10-07 Gn Resound North America Corporation Method and device for using an ultrasonic carrier to provide wide audio bandwidth transduction
DE10018361C2 (en) * 2000-04-13 2002-10-10 Cochlear Ltd At least partially implantable cochlear implant system for rehabilitation of a hearing disorder
DE10018334C1 (en) 2000-04-13 2002-02-28 Implex Hear Tech Ag At least partially implantable system for rehabilitation of a hearing disorder
US6536530B2 (en) 2000-05-04 2003-03-25 Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. Hydraulic control system for downhole tools
US6668062B1 (en) 2000-05-09 2003-12-23 Gn Resound As FFT-based technique for adaptive directionality of dual microphones
US6432248B1 (en) 2000-05-16 2002-08-13 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Process for making a garment with refastenable sides and butt seams
US6648813B2 (en) 2000-06-17 2003-11-18 Alfred E. Mann Foundation For Scientific Research Hearing aid system including speaker implanted in middle ear
US6785394B1 (en) * 2000-06-20 2004-08-31 Gn Resound A/S Time controlled hearing aid
DE10031832C2 (en) 2000-06-30 2003-04-30 Cochlear Ltd Hearing aid for rehabilitation of a hearing disorder
US6800988B1 (en) 2000-07-11 2004-10-05 Technion Research & Development Foundation Ltd. Voltage and light induced strains in porous crystalline materials and uses thereof
IT1316597B1 (en) 2000-08-02 2003-04-24 Actis S R L optoacustico ultrasonic generator for laser energy alimentatatramite optical fiber.
US6754359B1 (en) 2000-09-01 2004-06-22 Nacre As Ear terminal with microphone for voice pickup
DE10046938A1 (en) 2000-09-21 2002-04-25 Implex Ag Hearing Technology I At least partially implantable hearing system with direct mechanical stimulation of a lymphatic inner ear space of the
US7394909B1 (en) * 2000-09-25 2008-07-01 Phonak Ag Hearing device with embedded channnel
US7050876B1 (en) 2000-10-06 2006-05-23 Phonak Ltd. Manufacturing methods and systems for rapid production of hearing-aid shells
US6842647B1 (en) 2000-10-20 2005-01-11 Advanced Bionics Corporation Implantable neural stimulator system including remote control unit for use therewith
US9089450B2 (en) 2000-11-14 2015-07-28 Cochlear Limited Implantatable component having an accessible lumen and a drug release capsule for introduction into same
BR0115426A (en) 2000-11-16 2005-08-16 Y Shachar Initial Diagnosis Lt System and method for detecting and diagnosing conditions related to the ear and device for converting an otoscope in a system to detect and diagnose conditions related to the ear
US7313245B1 (en) 2000-11-22 2007-12-25 Insound Medical, Inc. Intracanal cap for canal hearing devices
US7050675B2 (en) 2000-11-27 2006-05-23 Advanced Interfaces, Llc Integrated optical multiplexer and demultiplexer for wavelength division transmission of information
US6801629B2 (en) 2000-12-22 2004-10-05 Sonic Innovations, Inc. Protective hearing devices with multi-band automatic amplitude control and active noise attenuation
EP1224840A2 (en) 2000-12-29 2002-07-24 Phonak Ag Hearing aid implant which is arranged in the ear
US20020086715A1 (en) 2001-01-03 2002-07-04 Sahagen Peter D. Wireless earphone providing reduced radio frequency radiation exposure
US20070135870A1 (en) 2004-02-04 2007-06-14 Hearingmed Laser Technologies, Llc Method for treating hearing loss
DK1251715T4 (en) 2001-04-18 2011-01-10 Sound Design Technologies Ltd Multi-channel hearing aid with communication between channels
EP1392391A4 (en) 2001-05-07 2009-12-09 Cochlear Ltd Process for manufacturing electrically conductive components
US20020172350A1 (en) 2001-05-15 2002-11-21 Edwards Brent W. Method for generating a final signal from a near-end signal and a far-end signal
US7057256B2 (en) 2001-05-25 2006-06-06 President & Fellows Of Harvard College Silicon-based visible and near-infrared optoelectric devices
US7390689B2 (en) 2001-05-25 2008-06-24 President And Fellows Of Harvard College Systems and methods for light absorption and field emission using microstructured silicon
US7354792B2 (en) 2001-05-25 2008-04-08 President And Fellows Of Harvard College Manufacture of silicon-based devices having disordered sulfur-doped surface layers
US6727789B2 (en) * 2001-06-12 2004-04-27 Tibbetts Industries, Inc. Magnetic transducers of improved resistance to arbitrary mechanical shock
US7072475B1 (en) 2001-06-27 2006-07-04 Sprint Spectrum L.P. Optically coupled headset and microphone
US6775389B2 (en) 2001-08-10 2004-08-10 Advanced Bionics Corporation Ear auxiliary microphone for behind the ear hearing prosthetic
US20050036639A1 (en) 2001-08-17 2005-02-17 Herbert Bachler Implanted hearing aids
US6592513B1 (en) 2001-09-06 2003-07-15 St. Croix Medical, Inc. Method for creating a coupling between a device and an ear structure in an implantable hearing assistance device
US6944474B2 (en) 2001-09-20 2005-09-13 Sound Id Sound enhancement for mobile phones and other products producing personalized audio for users
US6786860B2 (en) 2001-10-03 2004-09-07 Advanced Bionics Corporation Hearing aid design
US20030097178A1 (en) 2001-10-04 2003-05-22 Joseph Roberson Length-adjustable ossicular prosthesis
WO2003034784A1 (en) 2001-10-17 2003-04-24 Oticon A/S Improved hearing aid
US20030081803A1 (en) 2001-10-31 2003-05-01 Petilli Eugene M. Low power, low noise, 3-level, H-bridge output coding for hearing aid applications
US6736771B2 (en) 2002-01-02 2004-05-18 Advanced Bionics Corporation Wideband low-noise implantable microphone assembly
DE10201068A1 (en) 2002-01-14 2003-07-31 Siemens Audiologische Technik Selection of communication links with some hearing aids
GB0201574D0 (en) 2002-01-24 2002-03-13 Univ Dundee Hearing aid
US20030142841A1 (en) 2002-01-30 2003-07-31 Sensimetrics Corporation Optical signal transmission between a hearing protector muff and an ear-plug receiver
US20050018859A1 (en) * 2002-03-27 2005-01-27 Buchholz Jeffrey C. Optically driven audio system
US6872439B2 (en) 2002-05-13 2005-03-29 The Regents Of The University Of California Adhesive microstructure and method of forming same
US6829363B2 (en) 2002-05-16 2004-12-07 Starkey Laboratories, Inc. Hearing aid with time-varying performance
FR2841429B1 (en) 2002-06-21 2005-11-11 Mxm Hearing aid device for rehabilitation of patients ateints partial sensorineural hearing loss
US6931231B1 (en) 2002-07-12 2005-08-16 Griffin Technology, Inc. Infrared generator from audio signal source
JP3548805B2 (en) 2002-07-24 2004-07-28 東北大学長 The hearing aid system and hearing method
US6837857B2 (en) 2002-07-29 2005-01-04 Phonak Ag Method for the recording of acoustic parameters for the customization of hearing aids
WO2004018980A2 (en) 2002-08-20 2004-03-04 The Regents Of The University Of California Optical waveguide vibration sensor for use in hearing aid
US7076076B2 (en) 2002-09-10 2006-07-11 Vivatone Hearing Systems, Llc Hearing aid system
GB0222524D0 (en) 2002-09-27 2002-11-06 Westerngeco Seismic Holdings Calibrating a seismic sensor
JP2006502025A (en) 2002-10-04 2006-01-19 ヘンケル コーポレイションHenkel Corporation Room temperature curable water based mold release agent for composite materials
US7349741B2 (en) 2002-10-11 2008-03-25 Advanced Bionics, Llc Cochlear implant sound processor with permanently integrated replenishable power source
US6920340B2 (en) 2002-10-29 2005-07-19 Raphael Laderman System and method for reducing exposure to electromagnetic radiation
US6975402B2 (en) 2002-11-19 2005-12-13 Sandia National Laboratories Tunable light source for use in photoacoustic spectrometers
US7302748B2 (en) * 2002-11-22 2007-12-04 Knowles Electronics, Llc Linkage assembly for an acoustic transducer
JP4020774B2 (en) 2002-12-12 2007-12-12 リオン株式会社 hearing aid
US6994550B2 (en) 2002-12-23 2006-02-07 Nano-Write Corporation Vapor deposited titanium and titanium-nitride layers for dental devices
EP1435757A1 (en) 2002-12-30 2004-07-07 van Ruiten, Nick Device implantable in a bony wall of the inner ear
US20040166495A1 (en) 2003-02-24 2004-08-26 Greinwald John H. Microarray-based diagnosis of pediatric hearing impairment-construction of a deafness gene chip
WO2004084582A1 (en) 2003-03-17 2004-09-30 Microsound A/S Hearing prosthesis comprising rechargeable battery information
CA2463206C (en) 2003-04-03 2009-08-04 Gennum Corporation Hearing instrument vent
US7945064B2 (en) 2003-04-09 2011-05-17 Board Of Trustees Of The University Of Illinois Intrabody communication with ultrasound
US7430299B2 (en) 2003-04-10 2008-09-30 Sound Design Technologies, Ltd. System and method for transmitting audio via a serial data port in a hearing instrument
WO2004093488A2 (en) 2003-04-15 2004-10-28 Ipventure, Inc. Directional speakers
US20050038498A1 (en) 2003-04-17 2005-02-17 Nanosys, Inc. Medical device applications of nanostructured surfaces
DE10320863B3 (en) 2003-05-09 2004-11-11 Siemens Audiologische Technik Gmbh Fixing of a hearing aid or an ear mold in the ear
US20040234089A1 (en) 2003-05-20 2004-11-25 Neat Ideas N.V. Hearing aid
US20040236416A1 (en) 2003-05-20 2004-11-25 Robert Falotico Increased biocompatibility of implantable medical devices
USD512979S1 (en) 2003-07-07 2005-12-20 Symphonix Limited Public address system
US7442164B2 (en) 2003-07-23 2008-10-28 Med-El Elektro-Medizinische Gerate Gesellschaft M.B.H. Totally implantable hearing prosthesis
AU2004301961B2 (en) 2003-08-11 2011-03-03 Vast Audio Pty Ltd Sound enhancement for hearing-impaired listeners
AU2003904207A0 (en) 2003-08-11 2003-08-21 Vast Audio Pty Ltd Enhancement of sound externalization and separation for hearing-impaired listeners: a spatial hearing-aid
AU2003277877B2 (en) 2003-09-19 2006-11-27 Widex A/S A method for controlling the directionality of the sound receiving characteristic of a hearing aid and a signal processing apparatus for a hearing aid with a controllable directional characteristic
US6912289B2 (en) 2003-10-09 2005-06-28 Unitron Hearing Ltd. Hearing aid and processes for adaptively processing signals therein
US20050088435A1 (en) 2003-10-23 2005-04-28 Z. Jason Geng Novel 3D ear camera for making custom-fit hearing devices for hearing aids instruments and cell phones
KR20050039446A (en) 2003-10-25 2005-04-29 대한민국(경북대학교 총장) Manufacturing method of elastic membrane of transducer for middle ear implant and a elastic membrane thereby
US20050101830A1 (en) * 2003-11-07 2005-05-12 Easter James R. Implantable hearing aid transducer interface
US20070250119A1 (en) 2005-01-11 2007-10-25 Wicab, Inc. Systems and methods for altering brain and body functions and for treating conditions and diseases of the same
US7043037B2 (en) 2004-01-16 2006-05-09 George Jay Lichtblau Hearing aid having acoustical feedback protection
US20050226446A1 (en) 2004-04-08 2005-10-13 Unitron Hearing Ltd. Intelligent hearing aid
US7273447B2 (en) 2004-04-09 2007-09-25 Otologics, Llc Implantable hearing aid transducer retention apparatus
WO2005107320A1 (en) 2004-04-22 2005-11-10 Petroff Michael L Hearing aid with electro-acoustic cancellation process
US20050271870A1 (en) 2004-06-07 2005-12-08 Jackson Warren B Hierarchically-dimensioned-microfiber-based dry adhesive materials
US7421087B2 (en) 2004-07-28 2008-09-02 Earlens Corporation Transducer for electromagnetic hearing devices
US7570775B2 (en) 2004-09-16 2009-08-04 Sony Corporation Microelectromechanical speaker
US20060058573A1 (en) * 2004-09-16 2006-03-16 Neisz Johann J Method and apparatus for vibrational damping of implantable hearing aid components
WO2006037156A1 (en) 2004-10-01 2006-04-13 Hear Works Pty Ltd Acoustically transparent occlusion reduction system and method
US7243182B2 (en) 2004-10-04 2007-07-10 Cisco Technology, Inc. Configurable high-speed serial links between components of a network device
US7867160B2 (en) 2004-10-12 2011-01-11 Earlens Corporation Systems and methods for photo-mechanical hearing transduction
KR100610192B1 (en) 2004-10-27 2006-08-09 경북대학교 산학협력단 piezoelectric oscillator
EP1829421A1 (en) 2004-11-30 2007-09-05 Cochlear Acoustics Ltd Implantable actuator for hearing aid applications
KR100594152B1 (en) 2004-12-28 2006-06-20 삼성전자주식회사 Earphone jack deleting power-noise and the method
GB0500605D0 (en) 2005-01-13 2005-02-16 Univ Dundee Photodetector assembly
GB0500616D0 (en) 2005-01-13 2005-02-23 Univ Dundee Hearing implant
US7715572B2 (en) 2005-02-04 2010-05-11 Solomito Jr Joe A Custom-fit hearing device kit and method of use
US8550977B2 (en) 2005-02-16 2013-10-08 Cochlear Limited Integrated implantable hearing device, microphone and power unit
DE102005013833B3 (en) 2005-03-24 2006-06-14 Siemens Audiologische Technik Gmbh Hearing aid device with microphone has several optical microphones wherein a diaphragm is scanned in each optical microphone with a suitable optics
KR100624445B1 (en) 2005-04-06 2006-09-08 이송자 Earphone for light/music therapy
US7479198B2 (en) 2005-04-07 2009-01-20 Timothy D'Annunzio Methods for forming nanofiber adhesive structures
WO2006119069A2 (en) 2005-04-29 2006-11-09 Cochlear Americas Focused stimulation in a medical stimulation device
US7668325B2 (en) 2005-05-03 2010-02-23 Earlens Corporation Hearing system having an open chamber for housing components and reducing the occlusion effect
DE102005034646B3 (en) 2005-07-25 2007-02-01 Siemens Audiologische Technik Gmbh Hearing apparatus and method for reducing feedback
US20070036377A1 (en) 2005-08-03 2007-02-15 Alfred Stirnemann Method of obtaining a characteristic, and hearing instrument
WO2007023164A1 (en) 2005-08-22 2007-03-01 3Win N.V. A combined set comprising a vibrator actuator and an implantable device
US7327108B2 (en) 2005-08-24 2008-02-05 Wayne-Dalton Corp. System and methods for automatically moving access barriers initiated by mobile transmitter devices
US20070076913A1 (en) 2005-10-03 2007-04-05 Shanz Ii, Llc Hearing aid apparatus and method
US7753838B2 (en) 2005-10-06 2010-07-13 Otologics, Llc Implantable transducer with transverse force application
US7955249B2 (en) 2005-10-31 2011-06-07 Earlens Corporation Output transducers for hearing systems
US20070127766A1 (en) 2005-12-01 2007-06-07 Christopher Combest Multi-channel speaker utilizing dual-voice coils
US7983435B2 (en) 2006-01-04 2011-07-19 Moses Ron L Implantable hearing aid
US8014871B2 (en) 2006-01-09 2011-09-06 Cochlear Limited Implantable interferometer microphone
US20070206825A1 (en) 2006-01-20 2007-09-06 Zounds, Inc. Noise reduction circuit for hearing aid
US8295505B2 (en) 2006-01-30 2012-10-23 Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications Ab Earphone with controllable leakage of surrounding sound and device therefor
US8246532B2 (en) 2006-02-14 2012-08-21 Vibrant Med-El Hearing Technology Gmbh Bone conductive devices for improving hearing
US8879500B2 (en) 2006-03-21 2014-11-04 Qualcomm Incorporated Handover procedures in a wireless communications system
US7650194B2 (en) 2006-03-22 2010-01-19 Fritsch Michael H Intracochlear nanotechnology and perfusion hearing aid device
US7359067B2 (en) 2006-04-07 2008-04-15 Symphony Acoustics, Inc. Optical displacement sensor comprising a wavelength-tunable optical source
US8684922B2 (en) 2006-05-12 2014-04-01 Bao Tran Health monitoring system
DE102006024411B4 (en) 2006-05-24 2010-03-25 Siemens Audiologische Technik Gmbh A method for generating an acoustic signal or for transmitting energy in an auditory canal and corresponding hearing device
DE102006026721B4 (en) 2006-06-08 2008-09-11 Siemens Audiologische Technik Gmbh An apparatus for testing a hearing aid
CN101484102B (en) 2006-07-17 2011-02-23 Med-El电气医疗器械有限公司 Remote sensing and actuation of fluid of inner ear
AR062036A1 (en) 2006-07-24 2008-08-10 Med El Elektromed Geraete Gmbh Moving coil actuator for middle ear implants
WO2008014498A2 (en) 2006-07-27 2008-01-31 Cochlear Americas Hearing device having a non-occluding in the-canal vibrating component
US7826632B2 (en) 2006-08-03 2010-11-02 Phonak Ag Method of adjusting a hearing instrument
US20080054509A1 (en) 2006-08-31 2008-03-06 Brunswick Corporation Visually inspectable mold release agent
DE102006046700A1 (en) 2006-10-02 2008-04-10 Siemens Audiologische Technik Gmbh Behind-the-ear hearing aid with external optical microphone
US20080123866A1 (en) 2006-11-29 2008-05-29 Rule Elizabeth L Hearing instrument with acoustic blocker, in-the-ear microphone and speaker
US8652040B2 (en) 2006-12-19 2014-02-18 Valencell, Inc. Telemetric apparatus for health and environmental monitoring
US8157730B2 (en) 2006-12-19 2012-04-17 Valencell, Inc. Physiological and environmental monitoring systems and methods
WO2008085411A2 (en) 2006-12-27 2008-07-17 Valencell, Inc. Multi-wavelength optical devices and methods of using same
EP2103174B1 (en) 2007-01-03 2018-07-11 Widex A/S Component for a hearing aid and a method of making a component for a hearing aid
WO2008131342A1 (en) 2007-04-19 2008-10-30 Medrx Hearing Systems, Inc. Automated real speech hearing instrument adjustment system
CN101743762A (en) 2007-07-10 2010-06-16 唯听助听器公司 Method for identifying a receiver in a hearing aid
KR100859979B1 (en) 2007-07-20 2008-09-25 경북대학교 산학협력단 Implantable middle ear hearing device with tube type vibration transducer
DE102007041539B4 (en) * 2007-08-31 2009-07-30 Heinz Kurz Gmbh Medizintechnik Variable length ossicle prosthesis
US8295523B2 (en) 2007-10-04 2012-10-23 SoundBeam LLC Energy delivery and microphone placement methods for improved comfort in an open canal hearing aid
US8401212B2 (en) 2007-10-12 2013-03-19 Earlens Corporation Multifunction system and method for integrated hearing and communication with noise cancellation and feedback management
US8251903B2 (en) 2007-10-25 2012-08-28 Valencell, Inc. Noninvasive physiological analysis using excitation-sensor modules and related devices and methods
AU2007360696A1 (en) 2007-10-30 2009-05-07 3Win N.V. Body-worn wireless transducer module
US8579434B2 (en) 2007-11-07 2013-11-12 University Of Washington Through Its Center For Commercialization Free-standing two-sided device fabrication
KR20090076484A (en) * 2008-01-09 2009-07-13 경북대학교 산학협력단 Trans-tympanic membrane vibration member and implantable hearing aids using the member
US9445183B2 (en) 2008-02-27 2016-09-13 Linda D. Dahl Sound system with ear device with improved fit and sound
US8216287B2 (en) 2008-03-31 2012-07-10 Cochlear Limited Tangential force resistant coupling for a prosthetic device
EP2296580A2 (en) 2008-04-04 2011-03-23 Forsight Labs, Llc Corneal onlay devices and methods
EP2276420A2 (en) 2008-04-04 2011-01-26 Forsight Labs, Llc Therapeutic device for pain management and vision
JP2010004513A (en) 2008-05-19 2010-01-07 Yamaha Corp Ear phone
WO2009152442A1 (en) 2008-06-14 2009-12-17 Michael Petroff Hearing aid with anti-occlusion effect techniques and ultra-low frequency response
EP2301262B1 (en) 2008-06-17 2017-09-27 Earlens Corporation Optical electro-mechanical hearing devices with combined power and signal architectures
US8396239B2 (en) 2008-06-17 2013-03-12 Earlens Corporation Optical electro-mechanical hearing devices with combined power and signal architectures
EP2301261B1 (en) 2008-06-17 2019-02-06 Earlens Corporation Optical electro-mechanical hearing devices with separate power and signal components
US8233651B1 (en) 2008-09-02 2012-07-31 Advanced Bionics, Llc Dual microphone EAS system that prevents feedback
JP2010068299A (en) 2008-09-11 2010-03-25 Yamaha Corp Earphone
BRPI0918994A2 (en) 2008-09-22 2017-06-13 SoundBeam LLC device and method for transmitting an audio signal to a user.
US8554350B2 (en) 2008-10-15 2013-10-08 Personics Holdings Inc. Device and method to reduce ear wax clogging of acoustic ports, hearing aid sealing system, and feedback reduction system
US8506473B2 (en) 2008-12-16 2013-08-13 SoundBeam LLC Hearing-aid transducer having an engineered surface
EP2368374A2 (en) 2008-12-19 2011-09-28 Phonak AG Method of manufacturing hearing devices
AU2009201537B2 (en) 2009-01-21 2013-08-01 Advanced Bionics Ag Partially implantable hearing aid
US8545383B2 (en) 2009-01-30 2013-10-01 Medizinische Hochschule Hannover Light activated hearing aid device
US8700111B2 (en) 2009-02-25 2014-04-15 Valencell, Inc. Light-guiding devices and monitoring devices incorporating same
US9750462B2 (en) 2009-02-25 2017-09-05 Valencell, Inc. Monitoring apparatus and methods for measuring physiological and/or environmental conditions
US8788002B2 (en) 2009-02-25 2014-07-22 Valencell, Inc. Light-guiding devices and monitoring devices incorporating same
US8437486B2 (en) * 2009-04-14 2013-05-07 Dan Wiggins Calibrated hearing aid tuning appliance
WO2010141895A1 (en) 2009-06-05 2010-12-09 SoundBeam LLC Optically coupled acoustic middle ear implant systems and methods
US9544700B2 (en) 2009-06-15 2017-01-10 Earlens Corporation Optically coupled active ossicular replacement prosthesis
EP2443843A4 (en) 2009-06-18 2013-12-04 SoundBeam LLC Eardrum implantable devices for hearing systems and methods
DK2446646T3 (en) 2009-06-22 2019-02-04 Earlens Corp Hearing device for coupling to the round window
WO2011005479A2 (en) 2009-06-22 2011-01-13 SoundBeam LLC Optically coupled bone conduction systems and methods
WO2010151647A2 (en) 2009-06-24 2010-12-29 SoundBeam LLC Optically coupled cochlear actuator systems and methods
US8855347B2 (en) 2009-06-30 2014-10-07 Phonak Ag Hearing device with a vent extension and method for manufacturing such a hearing device
DE102009034826B4 (en) 2009-07-27 2011-04-28 Siemens Medical Instruments Pte. Ltd. Hearing apparatus and methods
US8340335B1 (en) 2009-08-18 2012-12-25 iHear Medical, Inc. Hearing device with semipermanent canal receiver module
US20110069852A1 (en) 2009-09-23 2011-03-24 Georg-Erwin Arndt Hearing Aid
CN102696243A (en) 2009-10-01 2012-09-26 奥托特罗尼克斯有限责任公司 Improved middle ear implant and method
US8515109B2 (en) 2009-11-19 2013-08-20 Gn Resound A/S Hearing aid with beamforming capability
AU2010326144B2 (en) 2009-12-01 2013-10-24 Med-El Elektromedizinische Geraete Gmbh Inductive signal and energy transfer through the external auditory canal
DK2629551T3 (en) 2009-12-29 2015-03-02 Gn Resound As Binaural hearing aid system
US8526651B2 (en) 2010-01-25 2013-09-03 Sonion Nederland Bv Receiver module for inflating a membrane in an ear device
EP2530955A4 (en) 2010-01-25 2014-08-20 Jiangsu Betterlife Medical Co Ltd Ear mold and open receiver-in-the-canal hearing aid
KR20110103295A (en) 2010-03-12 2011-09-20 삼성전자주식회사 Method for wireless charging using conmmunication network
EP2656639A4 (en) 2010-12-20 2016-08-10 Earlens Corp Anatomically customized ear canal hearing apparatus
US8888701B2 (en) 2011-01-27 2014-11-18 Valencell, Inc. Apparatus and methods for monitoring physiological data during environmental interference
US9698129B2 (en) 2011-03-18 2017-07-04 Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. Stacked integrated component devices with energization
WO2012149970A1 (en) 2011-05-04 2012-11-08 Phonak Ag Adjustable vent of an open fitted ear mould of a hearing aid
US8696054B2 (en) 2011-05-24 2014-04-15 L & P Property Management Company Enhanced compatibility for a linkage mechanism
US8885860B2 (en) 2011-06-02 2014-11-11 The Regents Of The University Of California Direct drive micro hearing device
US9427191B2 (en) 2011-07-25 2016-08-30 Valencell, Inc. Apparatus and methods for estimating time-state physiological parameters
US9801552B2 (en) 2011-08-02 2017-10-31 Valencell, Inc. Systems and methods for variable filter adjustment by heart rate metric feedback
US8600096B2 (en) 2011-08-02 2013-12-03 Bose Corporation Surface treatment for ear tips
US8824695B2 (en) 2011-10-03 2014-09-02 Bose Corporation Instability detection and avoidance in a feedback system
CN104094615A (en) 2011-11-22 2014-10-08 福纳克股份公司 A method of processing a signal in a hearing instrument, and hearing instrument
US8761423B2 (en) 2011-11-23 2014-06-24 Insound Medical, Inc. Canal hearing devices and batteries for use with same
US9211069B2 (en) 2012-02-17 2015-12-15 Honeywell International Inc. Personal protective equipment with integrated physiological monitoring
US9185501B2 (en) 2012-06-20 2015-11-10 Broadcom Corporation Container-located information transfer module
US9185504B2 (en) 2012-11-30 2015-11-10 iHear Medical, Inc. Dynamic pressure vent for canal hearing devices
US9692829B2 (en) 2012-12-03 2017-06-27 Mylan Inc. Medication delivery system and method
US8923543B2 (en) 2012-12-19 2014-12-30 Starkey Laboratories, Inc. Hearing assistance device vent valve
US9532150B2 (en) 2013-03-05 2016-12-27 Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation Eardrum supported nanomembrane transducer
US9812774B2 (en) 2013-03-05 2017-11-07 Amosense Co., Ltd. Composite sheet for shielding magnetic field and electromagnetic wave, and antenna module comprising same
US20140288356A1 (en) 2013-03-15 2014-09-25 Jurgen Van Vlem Assessing auditory prosthesis actuator performance
JP6060915B2 (en) 2014-02-06 2017-01-18 ソニー株式会社 Earpiece and electroacoustic transducer
WO2015131065A1 (en) 2014-02-28 2015-09-03 Valencell, Inc. Method and apparatus for generating assessments using physical activity and biometric parameters
US10034103B2 (en) 2014-03-18 2018-07-24 Earlens Corporation High fidelity and reduced feedback contact hearing apparatus and methods
WO2016011044A1 (en) 2014-07-14 2016-01-21 Earlens Corporation Sliding bias and peak limiting for optical hearing devices
US20160029898A1 (en) 2014-07-30 2016-02-04 Valencell, Inc. Physiological Monitoring Devices and Methods Using Optical Sensors
EP2986029A1 (en) 2014-08-14 2016-02-17 Oticon A/s Method and system for modeling a custom fit earmold
US9794653B2 (en) 2014-09-27 2017-10-17 Valencell, Inc. Methods and apparatus for improving signal quality in wearable biometric monitoring devices
US9924276B2 (en) 2014-11-26 2018-03-20 Earlens Corporation Adjustable venting for hearing instruments
EP3086574A3 (en) 2015-04-20 2017-03-15 Oticon A/s Hearing aid device and hearing aid device system
EP3355801A4 (en) 2015-10-02 2019-05-22 Earlens Corporation Drug delivery customized ear canal apparatus
US20170195806A1 (en) 2015-12-30 2017-07-06 Earlens Corporation Battery coating for rechargable hearing systems
US20170195801A1 (en) 2015-12-30 2017-07-06 Earlens Corporation Damping in contact hearing systems
WO2018048794A1 (en) 2016-09-09 2018-03-15 Earlens Corporation Contact hearing systems, apparatus and methods
WO2018081121A1 (en) 2016-10-28 2018-05-03 Earlens Corporation Interactive hearing aid error detection

Patent Citations (11)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4031318A (en) * 1975-11-21 1977-06-21 Innovative Electronics, Inc. High fidelity loudspeaker system
US4957478A (en) * 1988-10-17 1990-09-18 Maniglia Anthony J Partially implantable hearing aid device
US5913815A (en) * 1993-07-01 1999-06-22 Symphonix Devices, Inc. Bone conducting floating mass transducers
US20090253951A1 (en) * 1993-07-01 2009-10-08 Vibrant Med-El Hearing Technology Gmbh Bone conducting floating mass transducers
US6264603B1 (en) * 1997-08-07 2001-07-24 St. Croix Medical, Inc. Middle ear vibration sensor using multiple transducers
US6084975A (en) * 1998-05-19 2000-07-04 Resound Corporation Promontory transmitting coil and tympanic membrane magnet for hearing devices
US6217508B1 (en) * 1998-08-14 2001-04-17 Symphonix Devices, Inc. Ultrasonic hearing system
US6663575B2 (en) * 2000-08-25 2003-12-16 Phonak Ag Device for electromechanical stimulation and testing of hearing
US6726618B2 (en) * 2001-04-12 2004-04-27 Otologics, Llc Hearing aid with internal acoustic middle ear transducer
US20060278245A1 (en) * 2005-05-26 2006-12-14 Gan Rong Z Three-dimensional finite element modeling of human ear for sound transmission
US20100085176A1 (en) * 2006-12-06 2010-04-08 Bernd Flick Method and device for warning the driver

Non-Patent Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Title
"The Scientist and Engineer's Guide to Digital Signal Processing, copyright ©1997-1998 by Steven W. Smith, available online at www.DSPguide.com. *
R.P. Jackson, C. Chlebicki, T.B. Krasieva, R. Zalpuri, W.J. Triffo, S. Puria, "Multiphoton and Transmission Electron Microscopy of Collagen in Ex Vivo Tympanic Membranes," Biomedcal Computation at STandford, October 2008. *

Cited By (22)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US9949039B2 (en) 2005-05-03 2018-04-17 Earlens Corporation Hearing system having improved high frequency response
US10154352B2 (en) 2007-10-12 2018-12-11 Earlens Corporation Multifunction system and method for integrated hearing and communication with noise cancellation and feedback management
US9961454B2 (en) 2008-06-17 2018-05-01 Earlens Corporation Optical electro-mechanical hearing devices with separate power and signal components
US9591409B2 (en) 2008-06-17 2017-03-07 Earlens Corporation Optical electro-mechanical hearing devices with separate power and signal components
US9749758B2 (en) 2008-09-22 2017-08-29 Earlens Corporation Devices and methods for hearing
US9949035B2 (en) 2008-09-22 2018-04-17 Earlens Corporation Transducer devices and methods for hearing
US10237663B2 (en) 2008-09-22 2019-03-19 Earlens Corporation Devices and methods for hearing
US9392377B2 (en) 2010-12-20 2016-07-12 Earlens Corporation Anatomically customized ear canal hearing apparatus
US10284964B2 (en) 2010-12-20 2019-05-07 Earlens Corporation Anatomically customized ear canal hearing apparatus
US8900126B2 (en) 2011-03-23 2014-12-02 United Sciences, Llc Optical scanning device
US8900127B2 (en) 2012-03-12 2014-12-02 United Sciences, Llc Otoscanner with pressure sensor for compliance measurement
US8900130B2 (en) 2012-03-12 2014-12-02 United Sciences, Llc Otoscanner with safety warning system
US8715173B2 (en) * 2012-03-12 2014-05-06 United Sciences, Llc Otoscanner with fan and ring laser
US8900125B2 (en) 2012-03-12 2014-12-02 United Sciences, Llc Otoscanning with 3D modeling
US8900129B2 (en) 2012-03-12 2014-12-02 United Sciences, Llc Video otoscanner with line-of-sight probe and screen
US8900128B2 (en) 2012-03-12 2014-12-02 United Sciences, Llc Otoscanner with camera for video and scanning
US10034103B2 (en) 2014-03-18 2018-07-24 Earlens Corporation High fidelity and reduced feedback contact hearing apparatus and methods
US9930458B2 (en) 2014-07-14 2018-03-27 Earlens Corporation Sliding bias and peak limiting for optical hearing devices
US9924276B2 (en) 2014-11-26 2018-03-20 Earlens Corporation Adjustable venting for hearing instruments
US10292601B2 (en) 2015-10-02 2019-05-21 Earlens Corporation Wearable customized ear canal apparatus
US10178483B2 (en) 2015-12-30 2019-01-08 Earlens Corporation Light based hearing systems, apparatus, and methods
US10306381B2 (en) 2015-12-30 2019-05-28 Earlens Corporation Charging protocol for rechargable hearing systems

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
WO2010033933A1 (en) 2010-03-25
CN102301747B (en) 2016-09-07
US20180007472A1 (en) 2018-01-04
US20170150275A1 (en) 2017-05-25
US8858419B2 (en) 2014-10-14
US20180014128A1 (en) 2018-01-11
US20150010185A1 (en) 2015-01-08
US10237663B2 (en) 2019-03-19
WO2010033932A1 (en) 2010-03-25
KR20160119879A (en) 2016-10-14
US9949035B2 (en) 2018-04-17
BRPI0919266A2 (en) 2017-05-30
US20180213331A1 (en) 2018-07-26
EP2342905A1 (en) 2011-07-13
US20180020291A1 (en) 2018-01-18
KR20110086804A (en) 2011-08-01
KR101717034B1 (en) 2017-03-15
BRPI0918994A2 (en) 2017-06-13
CN102301747A (en) 2011-12-28
EP3509324A1 (en) 2019-07-10
US20120014546A1 (en) 2012-01-19
US9749758B2 (en) 2017-08-29
US20160183017A1 (en) 2016-06-23
US20190158961A1 (en) 2019-05-23
DK2342905T3 (en) 2019-04-08
EP2342905B1 (en) 2019-01-02
EP2342905A4 (en) 2015-04-01

Similar Documents

Publication Publication Date Title
CN1322844C (en) Surgically implantable hearing aid
US6381336B1 (en) Microphones for an implatable hearing aid
AU2008289428B2 (en) Bone conduction hearing device with open-ear microphone
EP0801878B1 (en) Implantable and external hearing systems having a floating mass transducer
US5624376A (en) Implantable and external hearing systems having a floating mass transducer
US5800336A (en) Advanced designs of floating mass transducers
US20090247812A1 (en) Dual percutaneous anchors bone conduction device
US5879283A (en) Implantable hearing system having multiple transducers
AU778293B2 (en) At least partially implantable hearing system for rehabilitation of a hearing disorder
EP2802160B1 (en) Hearing system having improved high frequency response
US6190305B1 (en) Implantable and external hearing systems having a floating mass transducer
EP0880870B1 (en) Improved biocompatible transducers
KR101568452B1 (en) Optical electro-mechanical hearing devices with separate power and signal components
JP4511437B2 (en) A piezoelectric device for generating an acoustic signal
US7983435B2 (en) Implantable hearing aid
US5762583A (en) Piezoelectric film transducer
US5558618A (en) Semi-implantable middle ear hearing device
US9226083B2 (en) Multifunction system and method for integrated hearing and communication with noise cancellation and feedback management
US6554761B1 (en) Flextensional microphones for implantable hearing devices
KR101951377B1 (en) Communication device
US8216123B2 (en) Implantable middle ear hearing device having tubular vibration transducer to drive round window
ES2354144T3 (en) hearing implant.
CA2232553C (en) Implantable hearing aid
US5906635A (en) Electromagnetic implantable hearing device for improvement of partial and total sensoryneural hearing loss
JP3548805B2 (en) The hearing aid system and hearing method

Legal Events

Date Code Title Description
AS Assignment

Owner name: SOUNDBEAM LLC, CALIFORNIA

Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:RUCKER, PAUL;PURIA, SUNIL;FAY, JONATHAN;AND OTHERS;SIGNING DATES FROM 20111004 TO 20111006;REEL/FRAME:027333/0303

AS Assignment

Owner name: EARLENS CORPORATION, CALIFORNIA

Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SOUNDBEAM LLC;REEL/FRAME:033336/0943

Effective date: 20130726

STCB Information on status: application discontinuation

Free format text: ABANDONED -- FAILURE TO RESPOND TO AN OFFICE ACTION