Storage system for a hearing aid

US 20120140963A1
(19) United States
(12) Patent Application Publication (10) Pub. No.: US 2012/0140963 A1
Larsen et al.
(54)
(43) Pub. Date:
STORAGE SYSTEM FOR A HEARING AID
Publication Classi?cation
(51)
(75) Inventors:
(Slgrlgnhh/1I€lsIliovdLl:rseln,;/arlose
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an
arum
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(DK); Mette Dahl Meincke,
Varlose (DK)
Int. Cl.
H04R 25/00
52
( )
(57)
_
Jun. 7, 2012
(200601)
US. Cl. ...................................................... .. 381/315
ABSTRACT
A storage system for storing a hearing aid comprises means
(73) Asslgnee?
WIDEX A/s, Lynge (DK)
for providing poWer (101), a storage space (102) for contain
ing a hearing aid, output means, communication means
(21) Appl. No.:
13/368,807
(22)
Feb 8 2012
’
Filed:
.
through Which data from the hearing aid is received Wire
lessly and a processing unit for processing data received from
the hearing aid. The output means is capable of providing
functioning and guiding information (104) concerning the
.
functioning of the hearing aid and for guiding the user
Related U's'Apphcatlon Data
(63)
Continuation-in-part of application NO_
DK2009/050199, ?led on Aug. 11, 2009.
through positioning of the hearing aid, respectively. The
PCT/
invention further provides a hearing aid, a kit and a method of
testing a hearing aid.
Patent Application Publication
Jun. 7, 2012 Sheet 1 0f 4
US 2012/0140963 A1
Patent Application Publication
Jun. 7, 2012 Sheet 2 0f 4
US 2012/0140963 A1
Patent Application Publication
Jun. 7, 2012 Sheet 3 of4
US 2012/0140963 A1
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Patent Application Publication
Jun. 7, 2012 Sheet 4 0f 4
US 2012/0140963 A1
A
Jun. 7, 2012
US 2012/0140963 A1
STORAGE SYSTEM FOR A HEARING AID
RELATED APPLICATIONS
[0001] The present application is a continuation-in-part of
application PCT/DK 2009050199, ?led on Aug. 11, 2009, in
Denmark and published as WO201 1018086 Al.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
[0002] 1. Field of the Invention
[0003] The present invention relates to hearing aids and
accessories for hearing aids. The invention more speci?cally
relates to a storage system for storing a hearing aid, the
storage system comprises: means for providing poWer, a stor
age space for containing a hearing aid, output means, com
munication means through Which data from the hearing aid is
received Wirelessly, and a processing unit for processing data
received from the hearing aid. The invention also relates to a
hearing aid adapted for communicating With such a storage
system, a kit and a method of performing a test.
[0004] 2. The PriorArt
[0005] Hearing aids have been used for many years, and as
the development progresses, the hearing aids have gotten
smaller, and contain a lot more technical features then they
used to. Some of the different hearing aids available today
include Behind-The-Ear (BTE) devices, Receiver-In-The
Ear/Canal (RITE/RIC), In-the-Canal (ITC) and Completely
In-the-Canal (CIC) devices.
[0006] Many people ?nd themselves suddenly in a need of
a hearing aid and are confronted With a small high tech prod
hearing aid, output means, communication means adapted for
Wireless reception of data from the hearing aid, a processing
unit for processing data received from the hearing aid,
Wherein the output means is adapted for providing informa
tion concerning the functioning of the hearing aid and for
guiding the user through positioning of the hearing aid in the
ear, respectively. The guiding information alloWs for easy
positioning of the hearing aid at the ear. This is in particular
useful if the user is physically or mentally challenged and not
able to position the hearing aid by himself or able to provide
feedback Whether the hearing aid is positioned correctly or
not. The functioning information may comprise information
for each of right and left hearing aid comprising battery
status, connection status for TV/telecoil, self test diagnostics,
Wax ?lter status etc.
[0011]
In another embodiment, the storage system further
comprises a remote control. By having a remote control it is
possible to communicate With the system or the hearing aid
Without being in the vicinity of the system.
[0012] In another embodiment, the storage system may
comprise user input means for receiving user input. This is
easier for either a user or a caretaker as the buttons on a
hearing aid may be small and hard to reach.
[0013] In another embodiment, the user input means is
selected from a group consisting of a remote control, a touch
screen and keys. These are input means that are easy to relate
to for the user or caretaker, and they are easier to see and may
provide more information than buttons on a hearing aid.
[0014] In another embodiment, the functioning and guiding
information is presented in a form selected from a group
uct they have to handle on a daily basis. For some users, such
consisting of Written statements and ?gures, pictograms, light
as elderly, physically or mentally challenged or children, this
emitting diodes (LED’s), sound and a bar code. This makes
can be a dif?cult task that requires some form of help. This
could be from caretakers and/ or a device that can help them
the information user friendly, even for persons not familiar
With the hearing aid’s function and the positioning of the
hearing aid, in particular the earplug part thereof, in the ear.
mentally challenged.
[0007]
The user may not be able to express What is Wrong
With the hearing aid or express if anything in the hearing aid
is malfunctioning at all, in particular if the user is a child or a
mentally challenged person. In some cases the user may be
able to express What is Wrong With the hearing aid, but not
able to take care of the problem himself, e. g. if the person is
physically challenged, and needs another person to take care
of the problem. The caretaker on the other hand, may be an
employee at a nursing home, Who has to deal With many
different hearing aids and other aids during their day, and
doesn’t have time to read all the different kinds of manuals
that come With the aids. Instead they need an instant solution
With an intuitive user interface.
With the hearing aid and its functions or for physically or
[0015] In another embodiment, the output means is
selected from a group consisting of a display, a light emitting
diode and a loud speaker. The output means makes it easy for
the user or a caretaker to see or hear What needs to be cor
rected or adjusted.
[0016] In another embodiment, the output means is pro
vided on the remote control. This makes the output more
accessible to the user, as the user does not need to be near the
system to get the information provided through the output
means.
[0017]
In another embodiment, the processing means is
provided in the remote control. This Way the data can be
processed directly in the remote control. So if the user is out
[0008] Based on this background, a feature of the present
invention is to provide a simple to use tool for guiding users
someWhere, he can receive guiding and functioning informa
tion Without bringing the system With him.
[0018] In another embodiment, the storage system com
prises charging means for charging a rechargeable battery of
the hearing aid. This makes it possible to charge the battery at
of hearing aids or their caretakers in all aspects of hearing aid
times When the hearing aid is not in use anyWay. Moreover
handling, including the functioning and the positioning of the
hearing aid.
there is no need to change the battery in the hearing aid.
[0019] In another embodiment, the charging means is
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In vieW of this a storage system capable of providing
adapted to charge the rechargeable battery of the hearing aid
functioning and guiding information concerning the func
tioning of the hearing aid and for guiding the user through
positioning of the hearing aid, respectively, has been devel
Wirelessly. This Will increase user friendliness, as no part has
[0009]
oped.
[0010]
The invention, in a ?rst aspect, provides a storage
system for storing a hearing aid, the system comprising
means for providing poWer, a storage space for containing a
to ?t speci?cally to another part, Which Would have been the
case if the device had to be plugged in. Furthermore it is easier
to keep clean.
[0020] In another embodiment, the storage system com
prises a detector adapted to detect if the hearing aid is in the
storage space. In this Way, the storage system can either start
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a test of the hearing aid immediately or start charging the
battery as soon as the hearing aid is in place in the storage
space, Which may also function as a charging space. Thus, no
further user interaction is required. This eases the use and
handling of the hearing aid.
[0021] In a preferred embodiment, the storage system fur
ther comprises testing means for testing functionality of the
hearing aid. The testing means makes it possible for the user
to ?nd out if something in the hearing aid is malfunctioning.
[0022] In another embodiment, the storage system further
comprises a storage unit provided With a lid. The lid may
ing aid, a user manual or an instruction guide Which may be a
laminated sheet of paper, and a poWer supply for charging the
storage unit.
[0030] According to the invention, in a fourth aspect a
method of using a storage system, comprises initiating a
detection by the hearing aid of a position of the earplug part of
the hearing aid in an ear, receiving in the processing unit result
values from the detection from said hearing aid, comparing
result values With reference values, and providing feedback
information for guiding the user regarding the position. By
providing feedback regarding the position, it is possible to
correct the position of the ear plug part of the hearing aid, so
comprise output means. The lid may serve as a closure for the
the user does not have to Wear a hearing aid that doesn’t
storage unit, Which may be in the shape of a box. In this Way
the different elements in the storage unit don’t get dusty and
it gets easier to transport the hearing aids. The output means
provide the adequate hearing support.
may serve as an information providing module displaying
guiding and functioning information to help the user and the
caretaker With handling of the hearing aid.
[0023] In another embodiment, the storage system com
prises remote control securing means for keeping the remote
control attached to the storage system. In this Way the remote
control doesn’t bump into the hearing aid during transport,
Which might break the hearing aid. Moreover the securing
means also prevents mentally challenged people or children
from removing the remote control.
[0024] According to the invention, in a second aspect, a
hearing aid is adapted to communicate Wirelessly With com
munication means of a storage system. In this Way there is no
need to provide speci?c plugs and sockets for facilitating
communication. Furthermore the storage system can commu
nicate With the hearing aid, While it is positioned at the ear of
a user.
[0025] In another embodiment, the hearing aid comprises a
rechargeable battery. This eliminates the need for changing a
small battery, Which may be dif?cult to handle for the user or
manage for the caretaker, at least on a daily basis.
[0026] In another preferred embodiment the hearing aid
comprises: detecting means for detecting the position of an
ear plug part of the hearing aid in the ear, and communication
[0031] Any feature of the ?rst aspect may be applied to the
second, the third or the fourth aspects. Any feature of the
second aspect may be applied to the third or the fourth
aspects. Any feature of the third aspect may be applied to the
fourth aspect. Other objectives, features and advantages of
the present invention Will appear from the folloWing detailed
disclosure, from the attached dependent claims as Well as
from the draWings.
[0032] Use of the Word hearing aid, microphone or loud
speaker in singular is to be interpreted as at least one instance
of a hearing aid, microphone or loudspeaker, respectively.
Any reference to a device, element, means or part in singular
or in plural may also be interpreted as at least one instance of
a device, element, means or part, respectively.
[0033] Regarding use of the Words storage system and stor
age unit; the storage unit is a part of the storage system, as Will
be described in the detailed part of the speci?cation, While the
storage system may comprise more features or accessories
than the storage unit. When speaking of the positioning of the
hearing aid or the earplug part, the skilled person Will realiZe
that What is meant is primarily the position of the earplug of
the hearing aid part in the ear. Moreover, he Will realiZe that if
the hearing aid is an ITC or a CIC hearing aid, the Whole
hearing aid may effectively constitute the ear plug part. If it is
a RITE hearing aid, only a part of the hearing aid is actually
in the ear. Using “hearing aid” or “ear plug part” does not
mean that any type of hearing aid is excluded.
means for communicating data from the detecting means to
the storage system.
[0027] In another embodiment, the hearing aid is automati
cally turned off When placed in the storage system, and auto
matically turned on When removed from the storage system.
This makes it easier for the user, as the user doesn’t have to
Worry about turning the hearing aid on and off.
[0028] In another embodiment, the hearing aid further
comprises testing means for testing functionality of the hear
ing aid. The testing means makes it possible for the user to
?nd out if something in the hearing aid is malfunctioning.
[0029] The invention, in a third aspect, provides a kit com
prising a hearing aid, a remote control, a storage unit, and
output means, Wherein the hearing aid is adapted to commu
nicate Wirelessly With communication means of the storage
unit, and Wherein the output means is adapted for providing
information concerning the functioning of the hearing aid and
for guiding the user through positioning of the hearing aid in
the ear. By providing the user With a kit, all the elements
needed to perform the different tests are found in one place.
The kit may further comprise one or more of the folloWing:
devices for holding, inserting or removing a hearing aid,
cleaning agents, brushes and cloths for cleaning of the hear
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
[0034] The invention Will noW be explained in more detail
beloW by means of examples of embodiments With reference
to the draWings, in Which
[0035] FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of a storage unit
and a remote control of the system according to the invention.
[0036] FIG. 2 illustrates an embodiment of a hearing aid.
[0037] FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment of a poWer supply.
[0038]
FIG. 4 illustrates an embodiment of a remote con
trol.
[0039]
FIG. 5 illustrates a diagram of an embodiment of a
storage system.
[0040]
FIG. 6 illustrates a diagram of an embodiment of a
hearing aid.
[0041]
FIG. 7 illustrates a diagram of an embodiment of a
storage unit.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
[0042] FIG. 1 shoWs a storage unit 100. The storage unit
100 is used for storing hearing aids as Well as for providing
guiding and functioning information concerning the position
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ing of the hearing aid in the ear. The storage unit 100 com
sound directly through the hearing aid and into to the ear of
prises tWo storage spaces 102 for storing the hearing aids. The
the user, or as sound transmitted through the storage unit 100.
storage space 102 may have different shapes or forms
[0048] The storage unit further comprises a USB socket
101 alloWing feeding poWer from a poWer supply to the
storage unit 100. The poWer socket may be a USB socket 101,
depending on the type of hearing aid and the functionality of
the storage unit 100. Depending on the type of hearing aid, the
storage space 102 is e. g. a plane surface or a depression
shaped like a sphere or like a box. A plane surface Would be
useful if transport is not necessary, eg the storage unit 100
could be a ?at tray or plate, Where the storage space is marked
or designated areas for placing the hearing aids. The design of
such a plate or tray might appeal aesthetically more to some
people than a closed box Would.
[0043]
These shapes are preferred When the hearing aid is
eg a BTE, RITE or an RIC hearing aid, as it might be dif?cult
to place a connector (as shoWn in FIG. 2) in a molded form.
For other types of hearing aids, such as ITC or CIC, a storage
space 102 molded in the form of the hearing aid is preferred
a mini USB socket or any other socket through Which the
storage unit can receive poWer. The poWer may also be pro
vided through a battery in the storage unit 100. The battery
may be a rechargeable or a disposable battery.
[0049]
The storage unit 100 may also comprise securing
means for securing the hearing aids. The securing means are
for securing that the hearing aid doesn’t break during trans
port. These securing means comprise shaping of the storage
space 102 in shape of the hearing aid, ribbons, Which are
provided With Velcro for tying together, a lid 109 that doesn’t
provide any free space betWeen the hearing aid and the lid
109, a clip under Which the Whole or part of the hearing aid
because the hearing aids are smaller and are better secured
this Way.
hearing aid thus securing the hearing aid to the storage unit
[0044]
100.
When it comes to functionality, i.e. testing of the
hearing aid and possibly charging, it is easier to place the
hearing aid correctly so the microphone, speaker and radio
module of the hearing aid is positioned correctly in relation
the testing means in the storage unit 100, When the storage
space 102 is molded, or an outline of the hearing aid is draWn
at the bottom of the storage space, thus indicating the best
position of the hearing aid. The testing means Will be
described in further detail in association With FIG. 7.
[0045] The storage space 102 preferably also serves as a
charging space. Thus the shape of the storage space 102 may
affect hoW easy it is to transfer poWer from the storage unit
100 to the hearing aid, if the charging is done Wirelessly. The
battery of the hearing aid is left in the hearing aid While placed
in the storage space 102. When the hearing aid is placed in the
storage space 102 it starts to charge automatically. This is
done Without further input from the user. When the hearing
aid is removed from the storage space 102, the hearing aid
stops the charging. Similarly the hearing aid Will be turned off
automatically When placed in the storage space 102, and
turned on When removed from the storage space 102.
[0046]
The storage unit is furthermore provided With a lid
109, Which may comprise information 104 for the user or the
caretaker. This information is displayed as printed text or a
screen displaying varying text such as guiding and function
ing information, eg battery status, Wax ?lter status, care
instructions or information as to Whether or not the hearing
aid is positioned correctly. The information 104 is Written
permanently on a surface of the lid 109, possibly assisted by
light emitting diodes to indicate Which information 104 is
currently relevant for the user. The information 104 depends
eg on tests performed on the hearing aid relating to the
can be squeezed under, or a sliding part that can slide over the
[0050] The storage unit further comprises a storage space
for storing the remote control 400. By having a dedicated
space for the remote control 400, it is alWays easy to ?nd it.
[0051] The storage space for the remote control is prefer
ably shaped in the form of the remote control. The storage
space for the remote control is provided With one or more
indentations 110 along the side, in order to alloW one to get
hold on the remote control 400 With one’s ?ngers.
[0052] The storage space for storing the remote control 400
comprise remote control securing means in order to secure
that the remote control 400 doesn’t fall out, if the storage unit
is moved. It furthermore secures that only the caretaker, and
not a mentally challenged user, removes the remote control
and maybe displaces it. The securing means comprise a resil
ient material, or spring like material in the form of clips
positioned eg at the top or bottom of the area Where the
remote control 400 is meant to be placed in the storage unit
100.
[0053] The storage unit 100 further comprises a bar code or
a 2D code 103 With a link to the intemet. Through the link the
user can ?nd information about the hearing aid, user instruc
tions etc. The barcode or a 2D code 103 may be readable by
means of a cell phone or other mobile communication termi
nal. By taking a picture of the barcode, a link to the user
manual may open in a broWser in eg a mobile communica
tion terminal. In this Way up to date information is alWays
accessible.
[0054]
The storage unit 100 further comprises a storage
space 108 for storing a USB cable, a storage space 106 for
storing a poWer supply and a storage space 107 for storing a
functioning and the positioning of the hearing aid. Light
cleaning kit. In this Way the user or caretaker Will have no
emitting diodes 105 may also be used in front of a piece of text
in the lid 109, providing user guidance in form of information
104, thus indicating the correct instruction to the user. If an
error is detected, the light emitting diode 105 may emit a light.
problem ?nding the accessories to the storage unit 100 and
hearing aid, as they are all in the same place.
[0055] A storage system may also comprise separate user
the ear, a light emitter may emit a green light. Other kinds of
light emitters may also be used. A display, a monitor, a screen,
input means, here shoWn in the form of a remote control. Here
the user provides instructions to turn up or doWn the volume,
to mute the hearing aid or to turn off the storage unit etc. This
is easier to handle and control from a remote unit than from
the hearing aid itself, as it may be di?icult to handle buttons or
a laminated sheet or any other means for displaying informa
input means situated directly on the hearing aid, due to their
tion may also be used instead of simple light emitters.
[0047] Instead of using visual means, the guiding informa
tion and functioning information may also be provided as
placed completely or partly in the remote control 400 as Well
as in the storage unit 100. The remote control may be operated
To indicate an error the light may be red. If the user runs a test
and it is passed or if the hearing aid is positioned correctly at
siZe and position at the ear. The user input means may also be
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US 2012/0140963 A1
both When it is placed in the storage unit 100 and When it is
not muting the hearing aids. More advanced series of clicks,
placed outside the storage unit.
like a “double click” could also be implemented.
[0062] A click sound or acoustic signature could also be
implemented in the lid of the storage unit. So When the lid is
closed a click sound is produced and the hearing aids are e.g.
muted or sWitched off, and, vice versa, When the lid is opened,
a click sound is produced, and the volume of the hearing aids
is turned up or the hearing aid is turned on.
[0063] The embodiments shoWn in FIGS. 2-4 may consti
tute a kit of parts communicating together via communication
[0056] FIG. 2 shoWs an embodiment of a hearing aid 200.
The hearing aid 200 is of a kind that is able to communicate
With the storage system. The hearing aid 200 comprises a
housing 202, an ear plug part 201 and a connector 203 for
connecting the housing 202 With the ear plug part 201. By
housing 202 is meant the housing including the circuitry
inside. In this embodiment the hearing aid is a RITE, as it is
relatively small and a cosmetically attractive hearing aid and
it is robust and easy to handle. Other types of hearing aids may
be used as Well. The hearing aid may be a Behind The Ear
(BTE), In the Canal (ITC) or a Completely In the Canal (CIC)
hearing aid. If the hearing aid is an ITC or a CIC hearing aid,
the housing Will be a part of the ear plug part as Well, and there
Will be no separate housing.
[0057] The hearing aid comprises a battery or poWer pack.
The battery may be charged Wirelessly via an inductive
charger in the storage system, or the poWer pack may be
recharged by removing the poWer pack from the hearing aid
by pulling or tWisting the poWer pack. This poWer pack may
means described under FIG. 5.
[0064] FIG. 5 shoWs a diagram of an embodiment of a
storage system 500. The storage system 500 is made to Work
together With one or more hearing aids, such as the hearing aid
in FIG. 2 and in FIG. 6.
[0065]
The storage system 500 comprises a processing unit
501 that processes data input from the hearing aid and from a
user. For example the input can come from the testing and
detecting means in the hearing aid or input from the remote
control.
[0066]
The storage system 500 further comprises output
then be inserted in a charger and placed in the hearing aid after
means 502 such as a display, a screen, loudspeakers or one or
charging.
coil, a radio module, tWo or more microphones and a tele
more light emitting diodes. The output means may shoW the
results of the testing and detecting in a user friendly manner,
eg simple and short sentences that do not require any analy
phone, i.e. a miniature speaker (not shoWn). These features
S15.
and others Will be explained in more detail in association With
FIG. 6
[0059] FIG. 3 shoWs an embodiment of a poWer supply 300
that can provide poWer to the storage system. This embodi
ment has a USB plug 301 for connecting the poWer supply
[0067] Communication means 503 provides communica
tion betWeen the hearing aid and the storage system 500 or the
[0058]
The hearing aid comprises a telecoil, a charging
300 to a USB socket on the storage system. A cable 303
connects the USB plug 301 With a transformer 302. The
poWer supply 300 is insertable into a regular household poWer
outlet. The poWer may also be provided from a battery.
[0060] FIG. 4 shoWs an embodiment of a remote control
400. The remote control 400 facilitates the communication
betWeen the user and the hearing aid and Works as an infor
mation providing part. The information providing part is
remote control. The communication means 503 may be
selected from a group consisting of Blue Tooth, infrared
signals, radio signals, Wireless USB, Near Field Communi
cation (NFC), ZigBee, Ultra Wideband (UWB), induction via
the charger or other communication technologies.
[0068] The storage system 500 may also comprise a
memory. The memory may be used for storing information
received from the hearing aid.
[0069] The storage system 500 also comprises means for
providing poWer 504, such as a USB, a mini USB, a battery,
a storage space 505 and a charging space for the hearing aid’s
mainly for the caretaker to use, and it can be hidden, so the
remote control 400 only looks like a normal remote control
400. The remote control 400 is easy to handle, compared to
Where the hearing aid’s may be charged Wirelessly via elec
tromagnetic induction, radio frequency Waves or electromag
buttons that are positioned directly on the hearing aid. The
[0070] FIG. 6 shoWs a diagram of an embodiment of a
hearing aid 600 that can be used in connection With the
storage system. The hearing aid 600 can communicate With
remote control comprises a volume up button 402 and a
volume doWn button 401, pictograms such as a status indica
tor 403, Which may indicate the status of automatic connec
tions such as TV/telecoil, right hearing aid 404 and left hear
ing aid 405, and a battery indicator 406 that indicates the
amount of battery poWer remaining on the hearing aids. The
pictograms may be backlit and may be activated by pressing
netic resonance.
the storage system and provide data regarding the positioning
of the ear plug part in a user’s ear.
[0071] The hearing aid 600 comprises detecting means,
Which detect if the earplug part is positioned correctly. These
detecting means comprise different positioning detectors
the status button or the pictogram itself. The buttons may also
608, Which have different means for detecting the position of
be embodied in a touch screen on the storage unit or the
the ear plug part. Examples of the means and the methods are
remote control. The remote control 400 may display func
tioning and guiding information on an information providing
part. The remote control may also comprise processing means
and output means, so the hearing aid(s) can communicate
described in the folloWing:
exclusively With the remote control, thereby eliminating the
[0072]
Electro acoustic methods based on measurement
of the acoustic impedance from the telephone to tWo
external microphones, or measurement of the acoustic
impedance from the telephone to an internal micro
need for the Whole system to be available at all times, eg
when the user is going out.
phone, and comparison of this acoustic impedance With
[0061]
is correctly positioned.
Other embodiments could also be considered, eg
a pre-stored impedance measured When the ear plug part
an acoustic remote control that produces a simple “click”
[0073] Capacitative methods Where the capacitance
sound. The click sound is then received by the microphones in
the hearing aid and only requires a simple algorithm to be
transformed into an action, eg toggling betWeen muting and
betWeen conducting areas, placed separately on the ear
plug part, is measured. This is based on the fact that the
relative permeability for skin is much larger than for air,
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US 2012/0140963 A1
thus the capacitance Will be much greater if the ear plug
tionality of the hearing aid. The test may be initiated either by
part is in contact With the ear. Another method is to use
an electrically biased material. In this case instead of
the user, eg by pressing a button or producing a sound, or the
test may be initiated automatically by use of detectors. Func
tional testing of hearings aids as such is knoWn in the art, inter
alia from US2007/ 0286429, Which describes an apparatus for
measuring the capacitance, the voltage on a capacitor is
measured.
[0074] Electro mechanical methods based on the fact
that When skin or tissue touches the ear plug part, a
deformation or a pressure on the ear plug part may be
registered. This may be registered by strain gauges or by
a contact that is being connected When the pressure is
registered.
[0075] Optical methods comprising active and passive
methods.
[0076] The active methods comprise placing one or more
light emitters and receivers on the ear plug part, and measur
ing the amount of li ght re?ected by means of one or more light
sensors. If the earplug part is in contact With the skin, a higher
re?ection Will be obtained. The emitted light may also be
modulated and the detected light demodulated in order to
differentiate the test light from the surrounding light.
[0077] The passive method comprises measuring if there is
ambient light, by means of one or more light sensors placed
on the ear plug part. If light is detected, the ear plug part is not
positioned correctly. If there is no light detected, the ear plug
part is positioned correctly.
[0078] An incorrect positioning of the hearing aid at the ear
may result in a voice message through the hearing aid to the
user that the hearing aid requires repositioning.
[0079] Parts of the detecting means may also be imple
mented in the storage system.
[0080] The hearing aid also comprises a processing unit
601. The processing unit 601 processes data collected from
testing the functioning of a hearing device.
[0087] The testing means according to the present inven
tion comprises the microphone 701, the loudspeaker 702, the
signal generator 703 and a radio 705. The testing means can
test the microphone(s), the telephone and the radio module of
the hearing aid. The microphone 701 is used to test the tele
phone of the hearing aid. The signal generator 703 is used to
generate test signals, Which are transmitted over the loud
speaker 702 in order to test the microphone(s) of the hearing
aid. The communication betWeen the hearing aid and the
storage unit 700 takes place via the inductive charger 704. The
Way the different tests Work Will noW be explained in more
detail beloW.
[0088]
The microphone(s) in the hearing aid is tested by
placing the hearing aid in a knoWn acoustic environment,
such as the storage unit 700, and by playing a knoWn input
signal aloud. The response of the hearing aid Will also be
knoWn. If the response doesn’t correspond to What Would be
expected, then the hearing aid malfunctions. E.g. by having
the signal generator 703 send a test signal, such as a chirp over
frequency, it is possible to see if one of tWo microphones, or
both microphones, fail, and Which one it is.
[0089] The radio module of the hearing aid may also be
tested by placing the hearing aid in the storage unit 700. The
distance betWeen the radio module in the hearing aid and a
radio 705 in the storage unit 700, as Well as the acoustic
the one or more positioning detectors 608. In this Way the data
environment in the storage unit 700, Will be knoWn. The
can be processed in the hearing aid 600 instead of in the
storage system. The data may also be transmitted to the stor
age system Where the results are analyZed in a processing unit
and displayed as positioning information on the storage unit,
eg in the lid.
[0081] The processing unit 601 is furthermore used for
controlling the different programs, betWeen Which the hear
ing aid can automatically sWitch. This includes reception of a
telecoil signal. The processing unit 601 is furthermore used
for controlling sound processing, noise reduction etc.
[0082] The hearing aid further comprises a radio module
transmission poWer is then reduced to a minimum and the
606, Which alloWs for TV streaming.
[0083] The hearing aid 600 further comprises tWo micro
signal generator 702 generates a signal. If no signal is
received by the radio module in the hearing aid, then the radio
module in the hearing aid is out of order. Furthermore the
telephone may also be tested.
[0090] The loudspeaker is tested by detecting higher har
monics, such as 3rd harmonics, occurring if a defective loud
speaker distorts an applied pure tone.
[0091] The processing unit 501 is used to process the data
from the microphone 701, the loudspeaker 702, the signal
generator 703 and a radio 705, and evaluate the data. This can
be done by having reference values comparable With result
values from the test. When the reference values have been
phones 602 Which alloW for the use of a directional system,
compared With the result values, feedback is provided. The
Which reduces noise and increases speech understanding in
feedback may be in the form of data or instructions being sent
to the hearing aid, or it may be in the form of a voice message
being sent to the user from either the hearing aid or from the
storage unit, or a combination of these. The test may be
noisy surroundings.
[0084] The hearing aid 600 further comprises a battery 604
and a charging coil 605. The battery is preferably a recharge
performed With the hearing aid in the storage unit or With the
able battery, a Zinc-silver battery or a lithium-polymer bat
tery. The important thing is that the battery can handle a
nightly recharge over a longer period of time, e. g. l1/2-2 years.
Depending on the type of battery a poWer management circuit
may be required in order to control and monitor the charging
and discharging of the battery, if it is a rechargeable battery.
[0085] The hearing aid further comprises a telephone, i.e. a
miniature loudspeaker 603 to transmit the sound. The hearing
be performed by the user or caretaker and the results of the
aid 600 may comprise a Wax ?lter indicator Which indicates if
reference to a feW embodiments. HoWever, as is readily
the Wax ?lter requires changing. This may be done by chang
appreciated by a person skilled in the art, other embodiments
than the ones disclosed above are equally possible Within the
ing the color of the Wax ?lter.
[0086] FIG. 7 shoWs a diagram of an embodiment of a
storage unit 700. This embodiment is able to test the func
ear plug part in the ear. The test may also be handled exclu
sively from the hearing aid or in connection With the remote
control that may function as a processing unit. The tests can
tests are then presented in a user friendly manner on the
output means 502.
[0092]
The invention has mainly been described above With
scope of the invention, as de?ned by the appended patent
claims.
Jun. 7, 2012
US 2012/0140963 A1
1. A storage system for storing a hearing aid, the system
comprising
means for providing poWer,
a storage space for containing a hearing aid,
output means,
communication means adapted for Wireless reception of
data from the hearing aid,
a processing unit for processing data received from the
hearing aid,
Wherein the output means is adapted for providing infor
mation concerning the functioning of the hearing aid and
for guiding the user through positioning of the hearing
aid in the ear, respectively.
2. The system according to claim 1, comprising a remote
control.
3. The system according to claim 1, comprising user input
means for receiving user input.
4. The system according to claim 3, Wherein the user input
means is selected from a group consisting of a remote control,
a touch screen and keys.
5. The system according to claim 1, Wherein the function
ing and guiding information is presented in a form selected
from a group consisting of Written statements and ?gures,
pictograms, LED’s, sound and a bar code.
6. The system according to claim 1, Wherein the output
means is selected from a group consisting of a display, a light
emitting diode and a loud speaker.
7. The system according to claim 2, Wherein the output
means is provided on the remote control.
8. The system according to claim 1, comprising charging
means adapted for charging a rechargeable battery of the
hearing aid.
9. The system according to claim 8, Wherein the charging
means is adapted to charge the rechargeable battery of the
hearing aid Wirelessly.
10. The system according to claim 1, comprising a detector
adapted to detect if the hearing aid is in the storage space.
11. The system according to claim 1, further comprising
testing means for testing functionality of the hearing aid.
12. The system according to claim 1, comprising a storage
unit provided With a lid.
13. The system according to claim 12, Wherein the lid
comprises the output means.
14. The system according to claim 2, comprising remote
control securing means for keeping the remote control
attached to the storage system.
15. A hearing aid adapted to communicate Wirelessly With
communication means of a storage system.
16. The hearing aid according to claim 15, comprising
detecting means for detecting the position of an ear plug
part of the hearing aid in the ear, and
communication means for communicating data from the
detecting means to the storage system.
17. The hearing aid according to claim 5, Wherein the
hearing aid is adapted for automatically turning off When
placed in the storage system and automatically turning on
When removed from the storage system.
18. The hearing aid according to claim 5, comprising test
ing means for testing functionality of the hearing aid.
19. A kit comprising
a hearing aid,
a remote control,
a storage unit, and
output means, Wherein the hearing aid is adapted to com
municate Wirelessly With communication means of the
storage unit, and Wherein the output means is adapted for
providing information concerning the functioning of the
hearing aid and for guiding the user through positioning
of the hearing aid in the ear.
20. A method of using a storage system, the method com
prising initiating a detection by the hearing aid of a position of
the earplug part of the hearing aid in an ear,
receiving in the processing unit result values from the
detection from said hearing aid,
comparing result values With reference values, and
providing feedback information for guiding the user
regarding the position.
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