|Número de publicación||WO2008099387 A1|
|Tipo de publicación||Solicitud|
|Número de solicitud||PCT/IL2008/000177|
|Fecha de publicación||21 Ago 2008|
|Fecha de presentación||11 Feb 2008|
|Fecha de prioridad||12 Feb 2007|
|Número de publicación||PCT/2008/177, PCT/IL/2008/000177, PCT/IL/2008/00177, PCT/IL/8/000177, PCT/IL/8/00177, PCT/IL2008/000177, PCT/IL2008/00177, PCT/IL2008000177, PCT/IL200800177, PCT/IL8/000177, PCT/IL8/00177, PCT/IL8000177, PCT/IL800177, WO 2008/099387 A1, WO 2008099387 A1, WO 2008099387A1, WO-A1-2008099387, WO2008/099387A1, WO2008099387 A1, WO2008099387A1|
|Exportar cita||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Citas de patentes (6), Clasificaciones (5), Eventos legales (3)|
|Enlaces externos: Patentscope, Espacenet|
Field of Invention
The present invention relates to an apparatus for preventing the hearing loss of a person exposed to loud noises. The invention particularly relates to protecting a soldier from noises caused by gunfire and other noises associated with the battlefield.
Background of Invention
Hearing loss can be the result of a variety of biological and environmental factors such as genetic predisposition, side effects from a particular disease or medication, or exposure to high noise levels. Depending on its cause, hearing loss can be temporary (both long term and short term) or permanent.
In some cases, hearing loss may be prevented if the proper measures are taken. For instance, individuals who live or work in areas in which loud noises are continuously present may insert an earplug to their ear canal to prevent the loud noise from reaching and causing damage to the internal components of the ear.
One example of such an individual is a soldier. A soldier, especially during combat, is exposed to loud noises caused by gunfire, explosions, artillery and other noisy machinery. These noises are so loud (140 or more decibels) that any, even brief, exposure to them at close range can cause permanent damage and hearing loss.
Therefore, earplugs are a standard component of a soldier's gear, and are to be positioned in the ear at the onset of loud noises. Typically, earplugs are provided in a housing such as a plastic bag, and are stored in one of the pockets of his uniform or in his webbing pouch. As soon as the soldier hears, for instance gunfire, or is aware that gunfire will be sounded, he should immediately insert the earplugs in his ears.
However, there are some drawbacks associated with the above-described routine. When a soldier is in combat, time is of the essence. The time spent searching for the bag, opening the bag, and removing and positioning an earplug in each ear may cost a soldier his life. Moreover, due to the often tenseness of the situation, when removing the earplugs from their bag the soldier may drop one or both of the earplugs on the ground and will not spend the time searching for them. Furthermore while handling the earplugs, the soldier's attention is taken away from the battlefield. This distraction may be detrimental to both him and his comrades. Additional problems associated with, using earplugs on the battlefield include difficulties in successful communication between the battalion commander and soldiers. Typically, only a few soldiers in a battalion carry communication apparatus due to the costs and bulk of the equipment. Therefore, in order for a commander to transmit his orders he will either scream them or use a megaphone. If soldiers have earplugs in their ears, orders may not be heard and confusion and disorder may develop.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for protecting the hearing of a user, and which overcomes the problems associated with the prior art.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for protecting the hearing of a soldier, particularly against exposure to loud noises stemming from gunfire and the like.
It is yet another advantage of the present invention to provide an apparatus for protecting the hearing of a soldier, which is easy to handle and requires little attention in order to find and place in position within the ear canal. 7
- 4 -
It is an additional advantage of the present invention to provide an apparatus for protecting the hearing of a soldier while enabling the successful transmission of orders from a commanding officer.
Additional objects and advantages of the present invention shall become clear as the description proceeds.
Summary of Invention
The present invention relates to an apparatus for protecting the hearing of a user. The apparatus comprises a housing, an earpiece and a connector, wherein said connector has a first end and a second end, and wherein said first end is attached to the inside of said housing and said second end is attached to said earpiece. The housing comprises a release mechanism for allowing said earpiece to exit from said housing.
According to one aspect, the earpiece is an earplug. The connector may be chosen from the group consisting of a wire, a string, a rubber-band, a torsion spring and a compression spring.
According to another aspect, the earpiece is an earphone and the connector is acoustic tubing. According to this aspect, the invention comprises a receiver connected to the housing or independent from the housing. When independent from the housing, the connecter passes through, an opening in the housing. Alternatively, a conduit is situated at the opening. One end of the conduit accommodates the connector within the housing and the other end of the conduit accommodates the connecter external to the housing, connected to the receiver.
Preferably, the housing further comprising a coupling mechanism for coupling said apparatus to the user.
All the above and other characteristics and advantages of the invention will be further understood through the following illustrative and non- limitative description of preferred embodiments thereof, with reference to the appended drawings.
Brief Description of Figures
In the drawings:
Fig. 1 illustrates a preferred embodiment of the apparatus of the present invention in a side cross-sectional view;
Figs. 2a and 2b illustrate a schematic view of the quick release mechanism and the door of the housing of the present invention in its closed position (Fig. 2a) and open position (Fig. 2b);
Fig. 3 illustrates a schematic view of a soldier wearing a helmet and carrying the apparatus of the present invention thereon; v - Fig. 4 illustrates a second embodiment of the invention in a schematic side cross-sectional view; and
- Fig. 5 illustrates an alternative aspect of the second embodiment of the present invention.
Detailed Description of Preferred Embodiments
Exposure to high noise levels is one of the causes of hearing loss. For soldiers, especially in the battlefield, noise caused by gunfire, explosions, artillery and other machinery can be particularly damaging to the ears, even after only a short period of exposure to the noise. A soldier must focus on the goings on in the battle field at all times, and not divert his attention for the slightest moment. However, the conventional manner in which a soldier inserts earplugs in his ears to prevent hearing loss takes time and attention away from the battle field. Therefore, the present invention provides an apparatus that will allow the soldier to protect his hearing without distracting his attention from the battle field.
A preferred embodiment of the apparatus of the present invention is shown in Fig. 1 in a side cross-sectional view, and is generally designated by the numeral (10). Apparatus (10) comprises a housing (20) comprising within it an earpiece (40) and a connector (30) for joining earpiece (40) to housing (20). According to a preferred embodiment, earpiece (40) is an earpiece made of suitable material such as a plastic and/or spongy material for blocking noises in a high decibel range from entering the ear canal.
Connector (30) is shown in the figure having a first end (32) attached to the upper portion (22) of the inside of housing (20) and a second end (34) attached to the base portion (42) of earpiece (40). Alternatively, first end (32) may be attached to any portion of the inside of housing (20). Connecter (30) may be in the form of a flexible compression spring, as shown in the figure. Alternatively, connector (30) may be a wire, chain, string, rubber-band, torsion spring, etc. for allowing earpiece (40) to depend from the inside of housing (20) and extend out of housing (20) to an essentially predetermined distance when door (24) is opened, as described herein below.
Connector (30) is attached to housing (20) and to earpiece (40) by any attaching or adhesive means known in the art, such as by hook, glue, tape, etc.
Housing (20) is preferably made of a rigid light weight material such as plastic or aluminum. Still referring to Fig. 1, apparatus (10) further comprises a sMftable latch. (50) which comprises the quick release mechanism of the present invention for allowing earpiece (40) to exit from housing (20) in a quick manner. The quick release mechanism is a mechanism for opening door (24) of housing (20) or allowing door (24) to open. A schematic illustration of one example of quick release mechanism (50) is shown in Figs. 2a and 2b. Door (24) is shown in its closed position in Fig. 2a and in its open position in Fig. 2b. With reference to Figs. 2a and 2b, according to one aspect the quick release mechanism comprises latch (50), which in its normal position holds door (24) in a closed position and in its shifted position allows door (24) to swing to its open position. In the illustrative embodiment shown in the figures, door (24) is spring loaded at its hinge edge by torsion spring (56) and prevented from swinging open in the direction of arrow (12) by lower lip (52) of latch (50). Latch (50) is spring loaded in its normal position to keep lower lip (52) below door (24). Referring to Fig. 2b, when latch (50) is shifted upward along the side wall (26) of housing (20) in the direction of arrow (14), compression spring (54) compresses, lower lip (52) releases door (24) and torsion spring (56) forces door (24) to swing open. As is shown in Fig. 2b, when door (24) is in its open position earpiece (40) depends downward from housing (20), drops by force of gravity and extend out of housing (20). As described herein above, the present invention is preferably for use by a soldier. To that regard, the present invention preferably further comprises means for coupling housing (20) to the helmet of a soldier. Fig. 3 shows a schematic illustrative example of a coupler (60) for coupling housing (20) to the soldier via helmet (16), in a side cross-sectional view. Coupler (60) consists of a U-shape for accommodating the outer rim of helmet (16). Clip portion (62) is positioned at the outer face of coupler (60). According to this embodiment, housing (20) comprises a corresponding clip portion (28) for mating with clip portion (62) of coupler (60).
As seen in Fig. 3, when the door (not shown) is open earpiece (40) falls by force of gravity to a level essentially corresponding to the location of the ear (18) of the soldier. Thus, even when in the heat of battle, the soldier may eject earpiece (40) and locate and insert earpiece (40) into ear (18) in a split second, without ever loosing focus of his surroundings. Moreover, the soldier does not have to worry about dropping and loosing earpiece (40) since it is physically connected to housing (20).
In an alternative aspect, the coupling means may comprise a hook and loop fastener or other adhesive material such as tape. In all cases, the present invention is retrofittable on all existing helmets. An additional advantage is that the present invention is portable and may be transferred to different helmets as desired.
A second embodiment of the apparatus of the present invention is shown in Fig. 4, generally described by the numeral (100), and comprises all of the features and elements of the previous embodiment, mutatis mutandis, with the following differences. Apparatus (100) comprises a housing (120) comprising within it an earpiece (140) and a connector (130) for joining earpiece (140) to housing (120).
According to the embodiment shown in Fig. 4, earpiece (140) is an earphone, and connector (130) is a sound transferring acoustic tubing, or a voice transmitting duct. Apparatus (100) further comprises a receiver (144) attached to housing (120) and preferably antenna (146). Thus, apparatus (100) serves as a personal (one-way) communication system for each soldier. This allows the commanding officer to communicate instructions and orders to his soldiers via a transmitting device in the middle of the battlefield even during heavy gunfire. Such a communication system is relatively inexpensive, yet highly efficient. Additionally, earpiece (140) further benefits the soldier by functioning as an earplug as well. 0177
- 11 -
In an alternative aspect of the second embodiment as shown in Fig. 5, receiver (144a) comprises an independent unit such as a walkie-talkie, and is typically worn on the belt or shirt of the soldier's uniform. Connector (130) transmits sound waves from receiver (144a) directly to earpiece (140). According to this aspect, connector (130) extends from earpiece (140) through an opening in the housing to receiver (144a). Alternatively, a portion of connector of the invention extends from earpiece (140) to a conduit (not shown in the figures) situated at the opening in the housing. One end of the conduit is situated on the inside of the housing for accommodating the portion of the connector situated on the inside of the housing, and the other end of the conduit is situated on the outside of the housing for accommodating the external portion of the connector that extends from the receiver (144a).
It may be preferable for a soldier to wear the first embodiment of the present invention, comprising earplug (40), for use with one ear, and the second embodiment of the present invention, comprising earphone (140), for use with the other ear.
Although embodiments of the invention h.ave been described by way of illustration, it will be understood that the invention may be carried out with many variations, modifications, and adaptations, without exceeding the scope of the claims.
|Patente citada||Fecha de presentación||Fecha de publicación||Solicitante||Título|
|JPH1075070A *||Título no disponible|
|JPS60186125A *||Título no disponible|
|US3871372 *||19 Feb 1974||18 Mar 1975||Bivins Jim||Combination ear plug and ear plug retainer|
|US5193226 *||4 Nov 1991||16 Mar 1993||Mortenson Steven C||Face mask and earplug case|
|US5581821 *||26 Jun 1995||10 Dic 1996||Nakano; Steven A.||Reelable ear plugs for construction helmets|
|US5940886 *||9 Ene 1998||24 Ago 1999||Colleen McCarthy Smith||Sleep shade|
|Clasificación cooperativa||A42B3/166, A61F11/12|
|Clasificación europea||A42B3/16C, A61F11/12|
|8 Oct 2008||121||Ep: the epo has been informed by wipo that ep was designated in this application|
Ref document number: 08710177
Country of ref document: EP
Kind code of ref document: A1
|13 Ago 2009||NENP||Non-entry into the national phase in:|
Ref country code: DE
|10 Mar 2010||122||Ep: pct app. not ent. europ. phase|
Ref document number: 08710177
Country of ref document: EP
Kind code of ref document: A1