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DESCRIPTION JP2007228580

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DESCRIPTION JP2007228580
PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To easily perform pressure adjustment on atmospheric pressure in an
acoustic transmission path between a receiver and an earwax protection device in an ear-hole
attachable hearing aid having an earwax protection device including a non-porous membrane. A
housing having a first housing region opposed to a user's eardrum when the hearing aid is worn
and a second housing region opposite the tympanic membrane; and a second housing region
disposed in the first housing region, An auricle guarding device 9 having a sexual membrane, a
vent passage 4 having a first opening in the first housing region 2 and a second opening in the
second housing region 3, an acoustic emission outlet 7A A pressure adjustment path 11 leading
to the acoustic transmission path 8 is provided in the hearing aid 1 that can be attached to the
ear canal having a handset 7 having a sound outlet 7A and an acoustic transmission path 8
between the acoustic emission outlet 7A and the earwax protection device 9. [ BACKGROUND OF
THE INVENTION
Auris-attachable hearing aid with a ventilation path
[0001]
The present invention provides a hearing aid mountable to an ear canal comprising a housing
having a first housing region opposed to a user's eardrum when the hearing aid is worn and a
second housing region opposite the tympanic membrane, An earwax protection device disposed
within the housing region and having a non-porous membrane; a vent passage having a second
opening present in the first opening and the second housing region present in the first housing
region; To an ear hole attachable hearing aid.
[0002]
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A hearing aid that can be worn in the ear canal usually has a ventilation path that forms a
passage through the hearing aid from the housing side (face plate) opposite the eardrum to the
housing side facing the eardrum when the hearing aid is attached .
This passage is used to reduce pressure equilibrium and closing effect (blocking effect) on
atmospheric pressure to this volume due to the ventilation of the auditory canal volume confined
by the hearing aid.
[0003]
Hearing aids, especially ear-hole type hearing aids, are affected by soiling by earwax. In a hearing
aid that can be attached to the ear canal, earwax invades the acoustic emission outlet of the
hearing aid, and plugs the acoustic transmission path between the hearing aid speaker (also
called a receiver or a receiver) and the acoustic emission outlet. It leads to a series of problems
leading to impairment of the hearing aid, beginning with impairing the acoustic performance.
[0004]
There are many clues to prevent invasion of earwax in a hearing aid that can be worn by the ear.
Normally, a cap-like or hanger-shaped protective device is used, which is used as part of the
hearing aid housing (see, for example, US Pat. (For example, refer to Patent Document 3 and
Patent Document 4). Furthermore, an earwax protection device for narrowing the acoustic
transmission path is known, which may be provided with a latticed or comblike partition in some
cases, so as to be inserted into the acoustic transmission path or placed on the nozzle (See, for
example, Patent Document 4, Patent Document 5, Patent Document 6 or Patent Document 7).
[0005]
The basic problem is the cleaning of this earwax protection device. In many cases, the earwax
protection device must be replaced from time to time, but this is precisely linked to care for the
elderly hearing aid wearer to visit the acoustic experts. Therefore, it is formed as a porous or
non-porous (gas-tight) membrane (see, for example, US Pat. As a result, penetration of earwax is
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2
sufficiently prevented. Furthermore, such membranes can be easily cleaned compared to other
earwax protection devices. Of course, this membrane must also be exchangeable as easily as
possible during damage. Therefore hard build-in is not a problem.
[0006]
Wearable earwax protection devices did not settle, notably due to the additional area
requirement. Of course, conventional wearable protective devices have the disadvantage of
reducing the acoustically effective cross section of the acoustic transmission path, which can lead
to acoustical disadvantages.
[0007]
The airtight membrane fundamentally provides the greatest protection but requires the use of a
modified handset not to mention pressure equilibrium on atmospheric pressure. The exit (face
plate) that belongs to the outside of the equipment is likewise based on the addition of a
corresponding required area. In addition, it must be ensured that the earwax protection device is
securely coupled with the acoustic transmission line and close to the acoustic transmission line.
This is brought about by an enlarged portion which is mostly in close contact with the acoustic
transmission path in an earwax protection device which can be incorporated in the acoustic
transmission path. The enlarged portion is formed in a raised or anchor-like shape or has other
elements such as bridges, wart-like projections.
[0008]
A handset support structure is known in which an acoustic transmission tube is present between
the acoustic emission outlet of the handset and the receiver in the hearing aid housing.
[0009]
A hearing aid according to the superordinate concept of Claim 1 of the present invention is
known (for example, see Patent Document 10).
A disadvantage of this known hearing aid is that it requires a modified handset to ensure
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3
pressure equilibrium over atmospheric pressure. German Patent No. 3802250 C1 specification
US Pat. No. 5,327,500 European patent application publication No. 0312517 A2 specification US
Pat. No. 4,974,488 specification US Pat. No. 5,970,157 specification International Patent
Application Publication No. 00/03561 pamphlet German Patent Application No. 36 16 648 A1,
European Patent Application Publication No. 310866 A1, German Patent Application Publication
No. 19640796 A1, US Pat. No. 6,164,409, US Patent Application Publication No. 2005/0074138
A1 book
[0010]
It is an object of the present invention to achieve pressure equilibrium on atmospheric pressure
required for a hearing aid in a simple manner in an ear hole attachable hearing aid having an
earwax protection device including a non-porous membrane.
[0011]
This problem is solved by the features of claim 1.
[0012]
In a conventional hearing aid, there is usually an acoustic opening in the form of a stretchy
acoustic transmission tube, one end of which is pushed onto the acoustic emission opening of the
handset and the other end forms the acoustic emission port of the hearing aid.
In contrast, in the hearing aid according to the invention, the acoustic transmission path between
the receiver of the handset and the acoustic emission outlet in the housing of the hearing aid is
only partially formed as an acoustic opening, for example in the form of a stretchy acoustic
transmission tube It has been built up.
In part, the acoustic transmission path is made of the same material as the housing of the hearing
aid and is integrally connected to the housing. At the same time, the last mentioned part of the
acoustic transmission line can be used as a receptacle for the acoustic opening. This part is
advantageously sized such that the acoustic opening is snugly inserted and retained thereby.
Alternatively or additionally, the retaining part so formed may also have at least one forming part
in the form of a projection, an anchor jaw, a bridge, a wart-like projection, a raised part
surrounding the circumference, etc. The forming part sandwiches the acoustic opening, so that it
can be further fixed.
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[0013]
In another embodiment at least one recess is provided in the relevant part of the acoustic
transmission path instead of the forming part and the acoustic opening used in that case
comprises at least one corresponding outer projection so that by this Also the acoustic opening is
fixed in the receptacle, without reducing the internal diameter of the acoustic opening.
[0014]
Furthermore, when wearing the hearing aid, the portion indicating the direction of the eardrum
of the acoustic transmission line is formed as a receptacle for removably coupling the earwax
protection device to the hearing aid.
The earwax protection device comprises a nonporous and thus air impermeable membrane which
is preferably made of a metal, an alloy or a synthetic material such as plastic for example. The
membrane is further formed to be relatively thin, so that the membrane carries the sound coming
from the handset. With the membrane, the acoustic transmission path between the receiver and
the membrane is airtightly closed against the inner ear. In order to maintain the ability of the
membrane to perform its function, pressure equalization on atmospheric pressure must be
performed on the acoustic transmission line. For that purpose, a modified handset can be
provided. This handset creates a breathable channel between the back volume of the handset and
the outside of the hearing aid or the interior space of the hearing aid and in the case of the
interior space of the hearing aid also has a breathable coupling to the outside of the hearing aid.
However, this modified handset is fairly expensive.
[0015]
Therefore, in the present invention, in order to guarantee the pressure equilibrium on the air
pressure of the receiver, there is provided a pressure adjustment path leading to the acoustic
transmission path between the receiver and the non-porous membrane. As a result, it is possible
to use mass-produced earphones and thus cheapest handsets. Instead of being guided separately
outwards, it is advantageous for the pressure regulating channel to lead to a ventilation path that
is present anyway at the other end. So that no separate housing opening is required in the
housing of the hearing aid. This saves space and additionally has acoustic advantages. In doing
so, it is advantageous for the pressure regulating channel to communicate with the vent channel
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at a location relatively far away from the housing side opposite the eardrum when the hearing
aid is worn. As a result, soiling by the earwax of the pressure adjustment path is sufficiently
prevented. Alternatively, the pressure regulating channel may be adapted to communicate with
the ventilation channel at a location near the housing opposite the eardrum. The precise
placement of the above points is advantageously taken into consideration also given acoustic
circumstances. In a special embodiment, the pressure regulating channel can be made to extend
directly or at least approximately along a line connecting the shortest connecting line between
the acoustic transmission line and the ventilation channel.
[0016]
In a further variant of the invention, the pressure regulating channel forms a passage from at
least a sufficiently air-tightly closed acoustic transmission path to the internal section of the
hearing aid, which interior space is, for example, It is breathable to the area outside the hearing
aid by the housing drilling required for the room. Therefore, even with this measure, pressure
equilibrium on atmospheric pressure can occur to the acoustic transmission path.
[0017]
Furthermore, the ventilation path can be formed such that the vent path makes a direct
connection between the acoustic transmission path between the handset and the membrane and
the space surrounding the hearing aid, for example leading to the faceplate.
[0018]
In the hearing aid according to the invention, it is advantageous if the earwax protection device
comprises a non-porous and therefore airtight membrane fixed to the support.
While the support is fixed to the area of
the acoustic emission outlet in the housing of the
hearing aid or the reception in the acoustic transmission path. In that case it is advantageous that
the receptacle is defined so that the cross section of the acoustic transmission path is not
narrowed by the earwax protection device. If replacement of the earwax protection device is
necessary, the replacement can be done with the aid of suitable tools, in which case the
membrane of the old earwax protection device can be destroyed upon replacement.
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[0019]
The manufacture of a hearing aid according to the invention is advantageously carried out by
means of a computer-assisted manufacturing method, in which data on the personal shape of the
person's ear canal is first determined. Then, from the digital representation of the inner contour
of the ear canal, a temporary image of the hearing aid which accurately matches the ear canal is
firstly created. In this computer model, components of the hearing aid (microphone, handset,
power supply, electronic device, etc.) can already be located temporarily. The positioning of the
earwax protection device and the receipt in the hearing aid housing necessary for its fixation can
also already be determined in the computer model. Furthermore, the exact shape of the pressure
regulating path start and end points and the pressure regulating path according to the invention
can already be planned based on a computer model. The fabrication of the shell of the hearing
aid with the earwax protection device and the integrated receptacle for the acoustic opening and
the pressure regulating channel according to the invention is carried out in a computer
controlled manufacturing process, for example by laser sintering, stereolithography or thermo jet
printing For example. The actual hearing aid housing is then precisely constructed according to
the image of the three dimensional computer model.
[0020]
The earhole-mounted hearing aid according to the present invention does not necessarily include
all components necessary for the life-saving of the hard-of-hearing person. Conversely, the
hearing aid according to the invention merely includes a handset and all other necessary
electrical or electronic components can also be contained outside the auditory canal, for example
in another instrument mounted behind the ear . The connection between another device and the
hearing aid is advantageous in a wired manner, but it can also be formed as an electromagnetic
wireless communication or the like.
[0021]
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Hereinafter, the present invention will be
described in detail based on embodiments shown in the drawings.
[0022]
In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the ear-attachable hearing aid 1 includes a housing having a first
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housing region 2 opposite the user's eardrum and a second housing region 3 opposite the
tympanic membrane when a hearing aid is worn .
The second housing region 3 is usually referred to as a face plate. The hearing aid 1 is
penetrated by a ventilation path 4 between the first housing region and the second housing
region for ventilation of the auditory meatus volume confined by the hearing aid 1 when the
hearing aid 1 is worn. Inside the housing of the hearing aid 1 there are at least a microphone 5
for taking in an acoustic input signal and converting this signal into an electric signal, a signal
processing unit 6 for processing the electric signal and performing frequency-dependent
amplification, There is a handset 7 for converting the signal into an acoustic signal, and the
converted acoustic signal is led to the hearing of the user via the acoustic transmission path 8.
Furthermore, in order to supply a voltage to the electronic components of the hearing aid 1,
there is a power supply 10 in the form of a battery or accumulator. In order to incorporate or
remove the electronic component from the hearing aid, the part 13 of the faceplate 3 can be
removed from the remaining housing. Optionally, an operating member (not shown) may be
provided on this removable part 13.
[0023]
One section of this acoustic transmission line 8 is formed by an acoustic opening 8A, one end of
which is pushed onto the acoustic emission outlet 7A in the form of an acoustic emission section
of the earpiece 7, the other end of which is formed as a part of the housing 8B and fixed thereto.
For example, a stretchable acoustic transmission tube can be used as the acoustic opening 8A.
The area of
the acoustic transmission line 8 facing the front side, ie the eardrum and leading to
the first housing area 2, is formed directly by the housing material surrounding the acoustic
transmission line 8 of the hearing aid. In order to prevent the acoustic transmission line 8 or the
earpiece 7 from being blocked by earwax, an earwax protection device 9 is provided in the area
of
the exit to the first housing area 2 of the acoustic transmission line 8, and this device is used
for acoustic transmission of cerumen Thereby preventing intrusion into the road 8.
[0024]
In the hearing aid 1 according to the invention, an earwax protection device 9 with a nonporous,
therefore gas impermeable, membrane is provided. Whereby the acoustic transmission line 8
between the receiver 7 and the acoustic emission outlet is hermetically sealed without auxiliary
means. However, in order for the earpiece 7 to exhibit its function even in the case of air
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pressure fluctuation, it is necessary to adjust the pressure on the air pressure with respect to the
confined volume. According to the invention, this pressure regulation is achieved in the
embodiment by a pressure regulating channel 11 connecting the acoustic transmission line 8 to
the vent channel 4.
[0025]
In the embodiment according to FIG. 1, the pressure regulating path 11 does not connect the
acoustic transmission path 8 to the vent path 4 with the shortest path. Rather, the pressure
regulating passage 11 leads to the ventilation passage 4 at a location 12 closer to the opening of
the vent passage 4 in the second housing region 3 (face plate) than the opening of the vent
passage 4 in the first housing region 2. This affects the acoustic transmission performance of the
hearing aid 1 and reduces the return tendency. Furthermore, the configuration of the pressure
adjustment path 11 prevents the possibility of contamination or obstruction due to earwax, for
example. Furthermore, this embodiment does not require an opening for the pressure regulating
channel 11 in the housing shell of the hearing aid 1. However, the pressure regulating channel
may also independently communicate with the face plate 3, so in that case it does not have a
direct tie to the vent channel 4 (not shown). In that case, of course, another opening for the
pressure regulating path must be provided in the face plate 3.
[0026]
Another embodiment of the hearing aid of the present invention is shown in FIG. Unlike FIG. 1,
only the portion of the hearing aid protruding into the user's ear canal is shown here. Consistent
with the hearing aid according to FIG. 1, this hearing aid also includes a first housing region 2
'opposite the eardrum when the hearing aid is worn and a handset 7' with a sound outlet 7 A '.
Furthermore, in this embodiment as well, the acoustic opening 8A 'forms one section of the
acoustic transmission path 8'. Another area is formed integrally with the housing of the hearing
aid and includes a receptacle 8B 'for the acoustic opening 8A'. This receptacle has a slightly
smaller diameter than the acoustic opening 8A 'so that the acoustic opening 8A' is held in the
receptacle. In addition, it is advantageous for the receiver to have at least one forming part (knot,
wedge, raised ring, etc.), by means of which the acoustic opening 8A 'is assisted in the fixation. In
the embodiment, therefore, two wedge-shaped protrusions 8C 'are provided. Furthermore, in this
embodiment the receptacle 8B 'for the acoustic opening 8A' has another receptacle 8D 'which is
configured as a ring-like ridge in the acoustic transmission line 8' and forms a stopper for the
acoustic opening 8A ' So that the acoustic opening 8A 'can only be inserted up to this stopper in
the receptacle provided therefor.
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[0027]
As in the embodiment according to FIG. 1, in this embodiment there is also an earwax protection
device 9 'with an air impermeable membrane 9 A' at the end of the acoustic transmission line 8 ',
which membrane is acoustically Hermetically closes the transmission line 8 '. Advantageously,
the membrane 9 A 'is at least sufficiently flush with the housing surface of the hearing aid so that
the membrane 9 A' can be cleaned easily, for example by wiping. In accordance with the
invention also in this embodiment the pressure balance will be effected by the pressure
regulating channel 11 '.
[0028]
However, in this embodiment, unlike the embodiment according to FIG. 1, the acoustic
transmission line 8 'is connected to the ventilation path 4' by a relatively short path by the
pressure adjustment path 11 '. This has an effect on the acoustic transmission performance of
the hearing aid.
[0029]
Another embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. Components with a 2-dashed sign coincide
with the components shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. However, unlike the embodiment shown above, in
this embodiment the pressure regulation is not effected via the vent channel 4 ". Instead, the
pressure regulating channel 11 "leads to the interior of the hearing aid shown. This is because
the housing of the hearing aid is not completely sealed to the exterior in any case, for example by
a housing opening to the battery compartment, the operating element, etc., so that the pressure
adjustment on the pneumatic pressure also takes place via the interior space of the housing It is
possible to get it.
[0030]
The auricle-mountable hearing aid according to the embodiment is advantageously constructed
according to a manufacturing method known from the field of rapid prototyping, for example SLS
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(Selective Laser Sintering) or SLA (Stereolithography). This has the advantage that firstly the
three dimensional computer model of each hearing aid is built before manufacturing the original
housing as a very correct image of this computer model in a fully automated and computer
controlled manufacturing process. All the details of the housing forming part formed integrally
with the housing and the housing can already be determined with the computer model before the
original manufacturing. Thus, for example, it is possible to build a pressure adjustment path, a
receiver for an earwax protection device, and a holding part for an acoustic opening, firstly on
the basis of a computer model and then in the actual housing.
[0031]
1 is a cross-sectional view of a first embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 5 is a crosssectional view of a second embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view
of a third embodiment of the present invention.
Explanation of sign
[0032]
1 hearing aid 2 first housing area 3 second housing area 4, 4 ', 4 "ventilation path 5 microphone
6 signal processing unit 7, 7', 7" handset 7 A, 7 A ', 7 A "sound emission outlet 8, 8 ', 8' acoustic
transmission path 8 A, 8 A ', 8 A' acoustic opening 9, 9 ', 9' earwax protection device 9 A ', 9 A'
membrane 11, 11 ', 11' pressure adjustment path 12 places 13 face plate
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