Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS2933086 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date19 Apr 1960
Filing date28 Jan 1959
Priority date28 Jan 1959
Publication numberUS 2933086 A, US 2933086A, US-A-2933086, US2933086 A, US2933086A
InventorsGray Reuben Flanagan
Original AssigneeGray Reuben Flanagan
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Fluid filled ear muffs
US 2933086 A
Images(1)
Previous page
Next page
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 19, 1960 R. F. GRAY FLUID FILLED EAR MUFFS Filed Jan. 28, 1959 F /'g. 2 BY INVENTOR. REUBEN FLANAGAN GRAY 2,933,086 Patented Apr. 19, 1960 FLUID FILLED EAR MUFFS Reuben Flanagan Gray, Levittown, Pa., assignor to the United States of America as represented by the Secat tary of the Navy Application January 28, 1959, Serial No. 789,755 9 Claims. (Cl. 128-452) (Granted under Title 35, US. Code (1952),sec. 256) The invention described herein may be manufactured and used by or for the Government of the United States of America for governmental purposes without the payment of any royalties thereon or therefor.

The present invention relates to a fluid filled earrnufif, and more particularly, to a fluid filled earmuff which may be worn as a protection against aerotitis caused by a pressure differential on the ear drum.

More precisely, aerotitis is an inflammation or distortion of the tympanic membrane, or car drum, caused by the existence of a pressure differential between the middle and outer ear, and may occur during rapid ascent or descent through an air or water medium. In certain instances, the distortive effect may be extremely painful. While devices exist in the prior art for the purpose of equalizing the pressure between the middle and outer car to thereby mitigate aerotitis, the nature of these devices is such that their use is generally incompatible with instrumentalities presently contemplated for increasing human tolerance to the effect of acceleration or deceleration forces. Thus, while prior art devices are generally satisfactory for their specifically intended purpose, they do not preclude the occurrence of aerotitis when used with contemporary anti-blackout apparatus in accelera: tion or deceleration environments.

The instant invention obviates the limitations of the prior art by means of a novel type fluid filled earrnuff. In essence, the inventive device consists of a pair of constant pressure, fluid filled, cup-like members, each of which fits tightly over the auricle of a subject. A fluid, preferably of isotonic character, occupies the closed space formed by the interior of the cup-like member, external auditory canal, and tympanic membrane, or eardrum. Provision is included for varying pressure upon the fluid and for the egress of air from the ear muff. Due to the incompressible nature of the fluid in a constant pressurevolume relationship, there is no tendency for distortion or displacement of the tympanic membrane. Hence, no

pain occurs in the absence of distortive effects due to ambient pressure changes.

Thus, it is an object of the present invention to provide liquid filled ear mufis which completely enclose the outer ear and maintain a substantially constant pressure-volume relationship in the region ofthe external auditory meatus, regardless of ambient pressure conditions.

Another object of the present invention is the provision of liquid filled ear mufis which are characterized by a constant pressure-volume relationship such that distortive effects upon the tympanic membrane are precluded, irrespective of ambient pressure conditions.

Still another object is to provide ear muffs with liquid filling and pressure regulating means operable to vary the pressure of the liquid and expel entrapped air therefrom.

A final object of the instant device is to provide a means for maintaining the ear muffs in a secure position about the head of the subject.

Other objects and advantages will become more fully apparent upon examination of the annexed description and attached drawings, wherein:

Fig. 1 is a sectional view of a preferred embodiment of a single ear muff taken on line 1-1 of Fig. 2,

Fig. 2 is an elevation view of a pair of the inventive ear muffs as worn by a subject, showing an exemplary type of headband which may be used for maintaining the ear muffs fixedly secured about the subjects head,

Fig. 3 is an elevation view of a pair of the inventive ear muffs as worn about the subjects head, showing a positive type of headband for maintaining absolute sealing and immobility of the ear muffs relative to the subjects head, and

Fig. 4 is an enlarged elevation view of an ear muff, showing in cross-section the adjustable tightening means used with the embodiment illustrated in Fig. 3. 7

Referring now to the drawings wherein like reference numerals designate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views, there is shown in Fig. 1 a preferred embodiment of the ear muff assembly of the instant invention, generally designated by reference numeral 10. Casing 12, a cup-like member of metallic or other material having a rigid characteristic, is fixedly attached to scaling member 11 by conventional means such as bonding or rivets, not shown. The inside dimensions of casing 12 are such as to permit fully enclosing the auricle. Member 11 is a material such as rubber, or the like, capable of being deformed to accommodate the contour of the portion of the head embracing the subjects auricle. In order to provide absolute sealing consonant with a high degree of required immobility of the casing 12 relative to the head, sealing member'll may be shaped especially to conform with the particular contour of the subjects head in the region of the external ear.

The liquid filling apparatus, generally designated by reference numeral 20 is threadably engaged into casing 12 at threaded aperture 13, as exemplarily shown in Fig. 1. Valve 24 is of a type preferably having two separate openings, which are aligned respectively with inlet pipe 22 and bleeder duct 23 in the open position of the valve. Manually operated knob 21 controls valve 24. Duct 23 is fixedly attached by soldering, or the like, to the inside of pipe 22, and performs a bleeding function, allowing air entrapped Within the liquid to be expelled during filling. Separate valves may be provided, of course, for independent control of'the liquid supply and the bleeder functions. Apparatus 20 consisting of valves 24 and pipes 22 and '23, of course, may be entirely integrally formed.

The piston assembly, generally designated by reference numeral 30 on ear muff or earpiece 10, is threadably engaged to casing 12 via threaded aperture 16. Rotation of knob 15 in either direction causes shaft 14-and its attached piston 17 to respectively enter or be withdrawn from the inner confines of casing 12. An 0 ring 15 on piston 17 provides a water tight seal on cylinder 19. In this manner, not only may the liquid pressure he varied'directly according to the particular requirements of an antiblackout apparatus, but also, such means compensates for incremental changes in pressure and volume due to the softness characteristics of body tissue.

Referring now to Fig. 2, wherein said inventive ear muffs are attached and maintained secure about the external ear area of the subjects head, there is shown a relatively stiff leaf spring 41 connecting a pair of ear muff assemblies 10 by rivets 9, or the like. The resilient tendency of spring 41 is such as to cause ear muffs 10 to be forced inwardly toward the head, so that a positive seal may be "effected between the sealing members 11 and the subjects head. In order to assure positive sealing consonant with a high degree of immobility of earpiece 10 relative to the head, leaf spring 41 may be one of a plurality of such springs, each of which may be consecutively angularly disposed from the others in a fanlike arrangement.

- Referring next to Fig. 3, there is shown an elevation view of the inventive ear muffs as worn about the subjects head, utilizing in this instance a rigid type of-headband for maintaining absolute sealing consonant with requisite immobility of the ear muff relative to the head of the wearer. The headband is comprised of an inflexible frame member 40, the extremities of which are threadably engaged with adjustable pressure rods 43, such that a pressure comfortable to the wearer, and commensurate with that required to effect sealing and immobility of the ear muff assembly may be applied. Material 42 is provided for head comfort and may be sponge rubber, or the like, which is fixedly secured to the inside of frame member 4%). Optional plugs 25 may be utilized, as shown, on ear muffs in lieu of assembly Zt), discussed in connection with Fig. 1. If desired, the entire ear muff assembly portrayed in either Figs. 2 or 3, except for the pressureadjusting means in Fig.3, may be enclosed in a resilient media, such as rubber, or the like, to'provide absorption or cushioning of the ear muff against accidental contact with foreign objects.

Fig. 4 illustrates in partial cross-section the adjustable tightening feature of the instant invention. Pressure transmitting rod 43 is threadably engaged with frame member 40. The shank portion 43A is slidably engaged for..limited movement within an aperture 44A in the bracket member 44, which is fixedly secured in a conventional manner to the casing 12 of earpiece 10. A

pressure plate 45 is attached to the end of the shank, as illustrated, to thereby transmit a tightening pressure to casing 12. Thus, the earpiece 10 and bracket member 44 are disposed for displacement relative to the rigid frame 40. I

With the ear muffs 10 comfortably secured to the subjects head, .filling of eachear muff 10 with a liquid preferably having isotonic properties may be started. In practice, water in distilled or undistilled. form is an excellent medium. Valve 24 is opened by rotation of knob 21, allowing liquid 50 to how preferably under influence of gravity from a source such as a reservoir, not shown. The liquid thus enters the interior of the earpiece through pipe 22, filling the closed space, formed by the casing,

the tympanic membrane, and external auditory meatus of the subject.

Ambient air entrappedwithin earpiece 10 is expelled through pipe 23, during the filling process. -To insure that ambient air is completelybled off from the interior of the ear muff, including the region of the external auditory meatus, the subject should move his head occasionally during the filling operation. When all the entrapped air is expelled, as evidenced by a continuous effiuxof the liquid medium from duct 23, valve 24 is closed, shutting off both the liquid supply and bleeder tube. If desired, the assembly 2% may be thereupon removed and a plug inserted, as shown in phantom in Fig. 1 and by solidline in Figs. 2 and 3.

A degree of adjustment is provided by piston assembly for regulating the pressure of the liquid confined Within the ear muff. Rotation of knob 15 causes piston 17 to enter or be withdrawn from the inner confines of casing 12 by the action of screw threads 16 on threaded shaft 14. The watertight seal provided by O ring 18 and cylinder wall 19 prevents the loss of any liquid 50 therethrough. Hence, in this manner the pressure may be adjusted in accordance with operational requirements of contemporary anti-blackout instrumentalities and personal comfort of the subject; Piston assembly 36 also affords a feasible means for compensating for incremental changes in'volume of the liquid due to softness characteristics in body tissue. V, 1 j. v The principle of operation of the instant invention is based uponphysical laws which relate to the behavior of incompressible fluids in a constant pressureevolume relationship. Consider the mechanism by which aerotitis is precluded in the instant invention when changes in ambient pressure occur. Assuming the liquid filled ear muffs to be'securely in position about the head of the wearer, an increase in ambient pressure will be reflected through the subjects Eustachian tubes as an increase in pressure within the middle ear. The tympanic membrane or eardrum, would tend under normal circumstances, to be displaced outwardly from the center of the head. However, due to the incompressible nature of the fluid occupied within the interior space formed by casing 12 of the ear muff, the external auditory meatus, and the tympanic membrane, no displacement or distortive effect of the tympanic membrane occurs. Now, consider the case when the ambient pressure falls to a level lower than that of the liquid within casing 12. The decrease in ambient pressure will be reflected through the Eustachain tube as a decrease in pressure within the middle ear, and the tympanic membrane in this instance would tend under normal conditions to be inwardly displaced toward the center of the head. However, the distortive effects upon the eardrum are again precluded under this condition, since the liquid within the interior confine of the ear muif assumes a pressure which acts oppositely on the tympanic membrane. The action is analogous to that observed when water filling a glass and covered by a sheet of paper, is apparently supported by the paper when the glass is held upside down. Thus, in a similar manner, the presence of an incompressible fluid within the closed interior confine formed by the subjects tympanic'membrane, the external auditory'meatus, and the casing proper of the inventive ear mufi, preyents displacement or distortion of the tympanic membrane when a decrease of ambient pressure occurs. Hence, irrespective of changes in ambient pressure, aerotitis and its painful consequences are prevented.

In summary, the instant invention presents a novel approach in obviating the limitations of the prior art. The principle upon which the instant invention is based resides in the applicability of physical laws embracing the con stant pressure-volume relationship of an incompressible fluid. Thus, the instant invention not only precludes aerotitis and its painful consequences, but also, the inventive fluid filled ear muffs are of a construction such that they are fully compatible for use in anti-blackout systems of contemporary design.

Obviously, many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in the light of the above teachings. For instance, a, headphone devic not herewith shown,m ay be embodied within the casingof the ear muff assembly to permit speech communication with a wearer of the inventive device. Such a headphone may be entirely encapsulated so as to be Water-proof. except for its diaphragm which transmits the auditory undulations through the liquid, a a a It is therefore to be understood that, within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may bepracticed otherwise than as specifically described. a

What is claimed is: a

1. A headgear device of the'type describedadapted for holding a liquid comprising, a pair of cup-like members each having a bordering edge, sealing means attached to the bordering edge of each of the cup-like members, a headband means having opposite ends thereof respectively attached to each of the cup-like members,

liquid inlet means for said cup-like members, and bleeder means for expelling entrapped air from within each of said cup-like members in operable position of said headgear device.; l I 1; I

2. A'headgear device of the type described adapted for olding a liquid c mpr si g. a pa r of cup-li me bers each having a.. bordering. edge, sealing .means attached to the bordering edge of each of the cup-like members, a headband means having opposite ends thereof assaose respectively attached to each of the cup-like members, liquid inlet means for said cup-like members, and pressure regulating means for adjusting pressure of said liquid.

3. The headgear device of claim 2 in which the headband means includes at least one resilient spring member for supporting the headgear device.

4. The headgear device of claim 2 in which the headband means includes a rigid frame member having extremities respectively attached in a threadable relation with each of the cup-like members.

5. A headgear device of the type described adapted for holding a liquid medium comprising, a pair of cup-like members each having a bordering edge, sealing means attached to the bordering edge of each of the cup-like members, a headband means having opposite ends thereof respectively attached to each of the cup-like members, liquid inlet means for said cup-like members, bleeder means for expelling entrapped air from within each of said cup-like members in operable position of said headgear device, and pressure regulating means for adjusting pressure of said liquid medium.

6. A headgear device of the type described adapted for holding a liquid medium, comprising, a pair of cuplike members each having a bordering edge, sealing means attached to the bordering edge of each of the cup-like members, a headband means having opposite ends thereof respectively attached to each of the cup-like members, liquid inlet and bleeder means for each of said cup-like members including a commonly operated valve for controlling entry of the liquid medium and expelling entrapped air from the cup-like members in operable position of the headgear device, means for adjusting pressure of the liquid medium.

7. A headgear device of the type described adapted for holding a liquid medium for protecting the tympanic membrane in a living subject having an external auditory meatus comprising, a pair of cup-like members each having a bordering edge, sealing means attached to the bordering edge of each of the cup-like members contiguous with a portion of the face of said subject embracing the external auditory meatus, headband means having opposite ends thereof respectively attached to each of the cup-like members, liquid inlet means for operably filling the interior closed space formed by each of the cup-like members, the external auditory meatus, and tympanic membrane of said subject, bleeder means operable to expel entrapped air from said interior closed space, and pressure regulating means for adjusting the pressure of said liquid medium.

8. A headgear device for protecting the tympanic membrane in a living subject having an external auditory meatus against distortive' effects due to the rapid changes in ambient pressure comprising, a pair of cup-like members each having a bordering edge, sealing means attached to the bordering edge of each of the cup-like members adapted in use to be contiguous with a portion of the face of said subject embracing the external auditory meatus, headband means having opposite ends thereof respectively attached to each of the cup-like members, liquid inlet means for said cup-like members, the interior closed space of said headgear device formed in use by each of the cup-like members, the external auditory meatus, and tympanic membrane of said subject adapted to be filled with a liquid fluid, bleeder means operable to expel entrapped air from said interior closed space, and pressure regulating means for adjusting the pressure of said liquid fluid when said headgear device is in use.

9. A headgear device adapted for holding a fluid for protecting the tympanic membrane in a living subject having auricles and external auditory meatus associated therewith comprising, a pair of cup-like casing members each having a bordering edge and shaped generally to fully enclose each of the auricles of said subject, sealing means attached to the bordering edge of each of the cuplike members adapted in use to be contiguous with a portion of the face of said subject embracing each of the auricles, headband means having opposite ends thereof respectively attached to each of the cup-like members, fluid inlet means for operably filling the interior closed space of said headgear device formed in use by the cup-like members, the external auditory meatus, and tympanic membrane of said subject, and pressure regu lating means for adjusting pressure of said fluid when said headgear device is in use.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 989,839 Fowler Apr. 18, 1911 2,899,683 Wadsworth et al Aug. 18, 1959 FOREIGN PATENTS 467,298 Germany Aug. 27, 1927 565,986 Germany Dec. 9, 1932 792,059 Great Britain Mar. 19, 1958

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US989839 *21 Feb 190818 Apr 1911Edmund P FowlerEar-irrigating device.
US2899683 *11 Jul 195618 Aug 1959 Ear protectors
DE467298C *22 Oct 1928Gustav Wagner Dr IngDosenfoermiger Schalldaempfer
DE565986C *9 Dec 1932Herbert RotschDie Ohrmuschel uebergreifende Kapsel zum Schutz des Gehoers gegen laestige Geraeusche
GB792059A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5003631 *5 Oct 19892 Apr 1991Northrop CorporationFlight helmet with headset
US5456703 *10 Aug 199410 Oct 1995Therabite CorporationApparatus for application of heat/cold to target regions of the human anatomy
US7335222 *27 Dec 200426 Feb 2008Paul TylerCooling ear muffs
EP0199689A2 *19 Mar 198629 Oct 1986Bilsom ABEarmuff
WO2009090396A1 *16 Jan 200923 Jul 2009Aerbuddies LtdAn ear protection device
Classifications
U.S. Classification128/866, 2/209
International ClassificationA61F11/14
Cooperative ClassificationA61F11/06
European ClassificationA61F11/06