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Title:
DYNAMIC FILTER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/199680
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The current invention is intended to render artifacts, which are introduced by changes in coefficients in an FIR filter, inaudible by applying a window to the filtered signal that results in the output of the filter (e.g. FIR filter), in which the coefficients are being changed, supplying little or none of the total output while the output of the filter, in which the coefficients are stable, supplies most or all of the total output.

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Inventors:
LARKIN, Brendan (485 9th Avenue, Menlo Park, CA, 94025, US)
CHABOT, Xavier (5765 Shadow Hill Drive, Dublin, CA, 94568, US)
Application Number:
US2019/026352
Publication Date:
October 17, 2019
Filing Date:
April 08, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
EARLENS CORPORATION (4045-A Campbell Avenue, Menlo Park, CA, 94025, US)
International Classes:
H03G3/00; H04B15/00; H04R1/10; H04R3/00
Foreign References:
US7020297B22006-03-28
US7058188B12006-06-06
US8817998B22014-08-26
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHAN, Darby (Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, 650 Page Mill RoadPalo Alto, CA, 94304, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A signal filter system for use in a contact hearing system, the signal filter system comprising:

a signal input connected to a first filter and a second filter;

a first coefficient input connected to the first filter;

a second coefficient input connected to the second filter;

a coefficient update and window logic connected to the first and second coefficient inputs;

a first window generator connected to the coefficient update and window logic; a second window generator connected to the coefficient update and window logic; a first multiplier receiving inputs from the first filter and the first window generator;

a second multiplier receiving inputs from the second filter and the second window generator; and a summing circuit receiving inputs from the first and second multiplier circuits.

2. A signal filter system according to claim 1, wherein the first and second filters are FIR filters.

3. A method for filtering a signal in a contact hearing system, wherein the method comprises the steps of:

providing the signal simultaneously to a first filter and a second filter; providing the first filter with a first coefficient for use in filtering the input signal, wherein the first coefficient is provided to the first filter at a first time;

providing the second filter with a second coefficient for use in filtering the input signal at a second time, wherein the second time is after the first time;

multiplying an output of the first filter by a first window value to get a first filter value;

multiplying an output of the second filter by a second window value to get a second filter value; and

adding the first filter value to the second filter value.

4. A method according to claim 3, wherein the first time occurs when the first window value is at or near a minimum value.

5. A method according to claim 4, wherein the first time occurs when the first window value is substantially equal to zero.

6. A method according to claim 3, wherein the second time occurs when the second window value is at or near a minimum value.

7. A method according to claim 6, wherein the second time occurs when the second window value is substantially equal to zero.

8. A method according to claim 3, wherein the first time occurs when the first window value is less than the second window value.

9. A method according to claim 8, wherein the second time occurs when the second window value is less than the first window value.

10. A method for filtering a signal in a contact hearing system, wherein the method comprises the steps of:

providing the signal simultaneously to a first filter and a second filter;

changing at least one coefficient in the first filter to a first coefficient, wherein the first coefficient is changed in the first filter at a first time;

changing at least one coefficient in the second filter to a second coefficient, wherein the second coefficient it changed in the second filter at a second time, and wherein the second time is after the first time;

multiplying an output of the first filter by a first window value to get a first filter value;

multiplying an output of the second filter by a second window value to get a second filter value; and

adding the first filter value to the second filter value.

Description:
DYNAMIC FILTER

CROSS-REFERENCE

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/655,155, filed April 9, 2018, entitled“Dynamic Filter”, the entire contents of which are herein incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] In contact hearing systems (e.g., light-driven or inductively-coupled), such as those available from Earlens Corporation, dynamic frequency-dependent gain in the signal processing system may be implemented by a finite impulse response (“FIR”) filter with coefficients that change over time. Changes in coefficients can introduce brief audible artifacts in the device output. In prior devices, audible artifacts due to filter changes were reduced by slowing and smoothing those changes.

SUMMARY

[0003] Aspects of the current invention are intended to render artifacts, which are introduced by changes in coefficients in an FIR filter, inaudible by applying a window to the filtered signal that results in the output of the filter (e.g., FIR filter), in which the coefficients are being changed, supplying little or none of the total output while the output of the window, in which the coefficients are stable, supplies most or all of the total output.

[0004] One method of reducing or eliminating audible artifacts may include individually interpolating each filter coefficient by a weighting equivalent to the window values described with respect to the present invention. However, since the interpolation would need to be applied to all coefficients at every output sample, use of the windowing method according to the present invention, as described herein, would be a much more efficient way of preventing audible artifacts resulting from the change in coefficients.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] The foregoing and other objects, features and advantages of embodiments of the present inventive concepts will be apparent from the more particular description of preferred embodiments, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which like reference characters refer to the same or like elements. The drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the preferred embodiments. [0006] Figure l is a cutaway view of an ear canal showing a light-coupled contact hearing system for use in the present invention, wherein at least a portion of the contact hearing system is positioned in the ear canal.

[0007] Figure 2 is a cutaway view of an ear canal showing an inductively coupled contact hearing system according to the present invention, wherein at least a portion of the contact hearing system is positioned in the ear canal.

[0008] Figure 3 is a block diagram of a light-coupled contact hearing system for use in the present invention.

[0009] Figure 4 is a block diagram of an inductively coupled contact hearing system for use in the present invention.

[0010] Figure 5 is a top view of an inductively coupled contact hearing device for use in systems and methods according to the present invention.

[0011] Figure 6 is a bottom view of an inductively coupled contact hearing device for use in systems and methods according to the present invention.

[0012] Figure 7 is a cutaway view of an ear canal illustrating the positioning of an inductively coupled contact hearing device for use in systems and methods according to the present invention.

[0013] Figure 8 is a system wherein a data transmission device (e.g., a cell phone) is transmitting a data stream to a contact hearing system including an ear tip and a contact hearing device according to the present invention.

[0014] Figure 9 is a block diagram of a dual FIR dynamic filter according to the present invention.

[0015] Figure 10 is a graph illustrating the relative values of window A and window B in a dual FIR dynamic filter according to the present invention.

[0016] Figure 11 is a graph illustrating the timing of the interaction of the window A and B values with the filter coefficients in a dual FIR dynamic filter according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0017] Figure l is a cutaway view of an ear canal showing a light-coupled contact hearing system for use in the present invention, wherein at least a portion of the contact hearing system is positioned in the ear canal. Figure 1 is a cutaway view of an ear canal showing a contact hearing system 110 for use in the present invention, wherein the contact hearing system 110 is positioned in the ear canal. In embodiments of the invention, contact hearing system 110 may comprise a contact hearing system using light to transmit information and/or power from the ear tip to the contact hearing device. In Figure 1, contact hearing system 110 includes audio processor 132, which audio processor may include at least one external microphone 310. Audio processor 132 may be connected to an ear tip 120 by cable 260, which is adapted to transmit signals from audio processor 132 to ear tip 120. Taper tube 250 may be used to support cable 260 at ear tip 120. Ear tip 120 may further include canal microphone 312 and acoustic vent 338. Ear tip 120 may be a light tip which radiates light pulses 142 in response to signals from audio processor 132. Light or other signals radiated by ear tip 120 may be received by contact hearing device 112, which may comprise photodetector 130, microactuator 140, and umbo lens 220. Contact hearing device 112 may be positioned on tympanic membrane TM.

[0018] Figure 2 is a cutaway view of an ear canal showing a contact hearing system 110 for use in systems and methods according to the present invention, wherein at least a portion of the contact hearing system 110 is positioned in the ear canal. In embodiments of the invention, contact hearing system 110 may comprise a contact hearing system using electromagnetic waves 145 to transmit information and/or power from ear tip 120 to the contact hearing device 112. In embodiments of the invention, contact hearing system 110 may comprise a contact hearing system using inductive coupling to transmit information and/or power from ear tip 120 to contact hearing device 112. In Figure 2, contact hearing system 110 may include audio processor 132, which audio processor may include at least one external microphone 310. Audio processor 132 may be connected to an ear tip 120 by cable 260, which is adapted to transmit signals from audio processor 132 to ear tip 120. Ear tip 120 may further include canal microphone 312 and at least one acoustic vent 338. Ear tip 120 may be an ear tip which radiates electromagnetic waves 145 in response to signals from audio processor 132. Electromagnetic signals radiated by ear tip 120 may be received by contact hearing device 112, which may comprise receive coil 131, microactuator 140, and umbo lens 220. Contact hearing device 112 may further include grasping tab 114.

[0019] Figure 3 is a block diagram of a light-coupled contact hearing system for use in the present invention, wherein the contact hearing system 110 may be positioned in the ear canal of a user. In embodiments of the invention, contact hearing system 110 may include one or more external communication and control devices 324, which may also act as a data transmission device 400 (as in Figure 6). In embodiments of the invention, audio processor 132 may communicate with external communication and control devices 324 by, for example, using audio processor antenna 134. In Figure 3, contact hearing system 110 may include audio processor 132, ear tip 120, and contact hearing device 112. Audio processor 132 may include external microphone 310, audio processor antenna 134, analog to digital converter 320, and signal processor 330. Audio processor 132 may be connected to ear tip 120 by cable 260. Ear tip 120, which may also be referred to as a light tip, may include a light source 290 (which may be a laser), acoustic vent 338, and canal microphone 312.

Signals, including data and power, may be transmitted from ear tip 120 to contact hearing device 112 using light, such as light pulses 142. Contact hearing device 112 may include photodetector 130, microactuator 140, and umbo lens 220. Umbo lens 220 may be positioned to contact tympanic membrane TM. In Figure 3, acoustic input 340 (which may be an ambient sound or an audible sound) may be received by external microphone 310 of audio processor 132, which then processes the received sound by passing it through processing circuitry, which may include analog to digital converter 320 and signal processor 330.

[0020] Figure 4 is a block diagram of a contact hearing system 110 for use in the present invention. In embodiments of the invention, at least a portion of contact hearing system 110 is positioned in the ear canal of a user. In Figure 4, acoustic input 340 may be received by external microphone 310 of audio processor 132, which then processes the received sound by passing it through processing circuitry, which may include analog to digital converter 320 and signal processor 330. The output of audio processor 132 may be transmitted to an ear tip 120 by cable 260. Signals transmitted to ear tip 120 may then be transmitted to contact hearing device 112 by, for example, causing transmit coil 292 to radiate electromagnetic waves 145. In embodiments of the invention, contact hearing device 112 may include receive coil 131, demodulator 116, microactuator 140, and umbo lens 220. Information contained in electromagnetic waves 145 received by receive coil 131 may be transmitted through demodulator 116 to microactuator 140, moving umbo lens 220. In embodiments of the invention, the signal transmitted to ear tip 120 may be a signal representative of the received audio signal, which may then be transmitted to contact hearing device 112. In embodiments of the invention, transmit coil 292 may be wound around an acoustic vent 338 in ear tip 120. In embodiments of the invention, acoustic vent 338 may be formed as a passage through a ferrite material. In embodiments of the invention, transmit coil 292 may be wound around ferrite material positioned in ear tip 120. In embodiments of the invention, contact hearing system 110 may include one or more external communication and control devices 324, such as, for example, a cell phone. In embodiments of the invention, audio processor 132 may communicate with external communication and control devices 324 by, for example, using audio processor antenna 134. Umbo lens 220 may be positioned to contact tympanic membrane TM. Ear tip 120 may include canal microphone 312.

[0021] Figure 5 is a top view of a contact hearing device 112 according to the present invention. Figure 6 is a bottom view of a contact hearing device 112 according to the present invention. The contact hearing device 112 illustrated in Figures 5 and 6 includes a receive coil 131, a microactuator 140, an umbo lens 220, a support structure 141, and springs 144. In the embodiment illustrated in Figures 5 and 6, microactuator 140 is connected to support structure 141 by springs 144. In embodiments of the invention, contact hearing device 112 may further include a sulcus platform 118, which may also be referred to as a mounting platform, connected to support structure 141 and adapted to assist in positioning contact hearing device 112 in the ear canal of a user. In embodiments of the invention, contact hearing device 112 may further include grasping tab 114.

[0022] Figure 7 is a cutaway view of an ear canal illustrating the positioning of a contact hearing device 112 according to the present invention. In the embodiment of Figure 7, contact hearing device 112 is positioned at a medial end of the ear canal, proximate the tympanic membrane of the user. Contact hearing device 112 includes a receive coil 131 positioned at a proximal end thereof. In embodiments of the invention, receive coil 131 may be positioned to receive signals from an ear tip (not shown) positioned in the ear canal lateral to the position of contact hearing device 112. In embodiments of the invention, signals received by receive coil 131 may be transmitted to microactuator 140 to move drive post 124 which is connected to the user’s tympanic membrane through umbo lens 220. Umbo lens 220 may be in direct physical contact with the tympanic membrane or a thin layer of oil 126 may be used between umbo lens 220 and the user’s tympanic membrane. Sulcus platform 118 may be used to properly position contact hearing device 112 in the user’s ear canal through contact with a skin layer which lines the ear canal. Sulcus platform 118 may be in direct contact with the skin of the ear canal, or a thin layer of oil 126 may be used between sulcus platform 118 and the skin of the ear canal. In embodiments of the invention, contact hearing device 112 may further include support structure 141, grasping tab 114 and springs 144.

[0023] Figure 8 is a system wherein a data transmission device such as a cell phone is transmitting a data stream to a contact hearing system including an ear tip and a contact hearing device according to the present invention. In Figure 8, data transmission device 400 includes a data transmission antenna 402 from which data, such as streaming audio, may be transmitted to a receiver antenna 404, which is connected to receiver 406. The output of receiver 406 may be transmitted to signal processor 330. Signal processor 330 may include a sampling rate converter and a digital signal processor. The output of signal processor 330 may be transmitted to ear tip 120, which may transmit the output of signal processor 330 via transmitted signal 412. Transmitted signal 412 may comprise light pulses or other electromagnetic waves, including radio waves and inductively coupled waves. Transmitted signal 412 may be received by contact hearing device 112 and converted to mechanical energy to drive a tympanic membrane through, for example, umbo lens 220.

[0024] In Figure 9 an input signal 1100 is received by filter A 1102 and filter B 1104.

Coefficient values 1106 are fed into filter A by coefficient update and window logic 1108. Coefficient values 1110 are fed into filter B by coefficient update and window logic 1108. Output 1112 of filter A is transmitted to one input of multiplier 1116. Output 1114 of filter B is transmitted to one input of multiplier 1118. A second input of multiplier 1116 receives a window A value 1120 which is generated by coefficient and update logic 1108. A second input of multiplier 1118 receives a window B value which is generated by coefficient update and window logic 1108. Output 1126 of multiplier 1116 is summed with output 1128 of multiplier 1118 in summing circuit 1124 to generate filter system output 1130.

[0025] Figure 10 is a graph illustrating the relative values of window A and window B in a dual FIR dynamic filter according to the present invention.

[0026] Figure 11 is a graph illustrating the timing of the interaction of the window A and B values with the filter coefficients. In the embodiment of Figure 11, filter coefficients X0 are loaded into filter A at time Tl . Note that, in the graph illustrated in Figure 11, filter B would have received its most recent update prior to time Tl . At time Tl, the value of window A is zero, thus the output of filter A will have no impact on the overall filter system output.

Between time Tl and time T2, a new set of filter coefficients XI are calculated while the relative contribution of the output of filter A to the overall filter system output increases in accordance with the value of window A, while the relative contribution of the output of filter B declines with the value of window B. At time T2, the contribution of filter B has declined to zero and the filter system output is made up of the output of filter A. At time T2, the newly calculated coefficients XI are loaded into filter B. Because the filter system output is comprised of only the output of filter A, when the new coefficients are loaded, any anomalies or audible artifacts caused by updating the coefficients in filter B will not be present in the filter system output.

[0027] A dual FIR filter system according to the present invention is depicted in Figure 9. In embodiments of the invention, two FIR filters operate in parallel; that is, they are applied simultaneously to the same input signal after which a tapered window is applied to the output of each filter. In the embodiment of Figure 9, the windows are complementary, in the sense that their sum is always equal to one. In one embodiment of the invention, when Window A has a value of 1.0 (no attenuation of the output of filter FIR A), Window B then has the value 0.0 (full attenuation of filter FIR B). As the value of Window A tapers to 0, the value of Window B simultaneously rises to 1. As illustrated in FIG. 10, the two windows alternate in this manner, with one window always approaching 1, and the other always approaching 0, so that when one filter’s output is completely un-attenuated, the other is fully attenuated. It will be apparent that other waveforms, such as, for example complementary step function waveforms may be uses to achieve the goal of having Window B have a value of 1 when Window B has a value of zero.

[0028] As illustrated in Figure 11, between time T2 and time T3 a new set of filter coefficients X2 are calculated while the relative contribution of the output of filter B to the overall filter system output increases in accordance with the value of window B, while the relative contribution of the output of filter A declines with the value of window A. At time T3, the contribution of filter A has declined to zero and the filter system output is made up of the output of filter B. At time T3, the newly calculated coefficients X2 are loaded into filter

A. Because the filter system output is comprised of only the output of filter B, when the new coefficients are loaded, any anomalies or audible artifacts caused by updating the coefficients in filter A will not be present in the filter system output.

[0029] As illustrated in Figure 11, between time T3 and time T4 a new set of filter coefficients X3 are calculated while the relative contribution of the output of filter A to the overall filter system output increases in accordance with the value of window A, while the relative contribution of the output of filter B declines with the value of window B. At time T4, the contribution of filter B has declined to zero and the filter system output is made up of the output of filter A. At time T4, the newly calculated coefficients XI are loaded into filter

B. Because the filter system output is comprised of only the output of filter A, when the new coefficients are loaded, any anomalies or audible artifacts caused by updating the coefficients in filter B will not be present in the filter system output.

[0030] The present invention renders artifacts caused by changes in the FIR filter coefficients inaudible by applying the coefficient changes only during the time when the corresponding filter is fully attenuated by its window. That is, a filter is changed only when its output is inaudible. When the window rises and that filter is no longer attenuated, any transient artifacts due to the coefficient changes are likely to have passed, and the coefficients in the other (now attenuated) filter can safely be changed. In this way, coefficients in one filter are changed only while its output is inaudible.

[0031] In embodiments of the invention, there is added latency in the application of gain changes, so this invention is most appropriate in an application in which some gain changes can be smooth and slow relative to the coefficient update rate. As an example, embodiments of the present invention may include the use of dual dynamic FIR filters in hearing aids which utilize Wide Dynamic Range Compression (WDRC).

[0032] In embodiments of the invention, the output of two windowed filters are summed to compose the overall system output. The complementary nature of the two windows ensures that the amplitude modulation of the individual filter output signals is not audible. Coefficient changes that dynamically apply frequency-dependent gain are applied to the filters alternately, and only when the corresponding filter output (and any consequent artifacts) are fully attenuated and therefore inaudible. In systems according to the present invention, filter coefficient changes are calculated on a block basis (every N samples, where N>l), and the window period is equal to twice the block length (2*N), so that filters are updated

(coefficients changed) in alternate blocks.

[0033] Embodiments of the present invention may be applied to any dynamic filter system requiring real time coefficient changes, including recursive filters, such as, for example infinite impulse response (HR) filters. In such recursive filters, artifacts due to coefficient changes will be attenuated as long as the impulse response of the filter is concentrated near zero delay. A recursive filter with a sharp resonance, for example, may not benefit as much from the current invention as a minimum phase FIR filter. In embodiments of the invention, including those used with recursive filters, more than 2 windows and filters may be employed to increase the time elapsed between coefficient updates and audibility of the output of the corresponding filter. In embodiments of the invention, the use of more than two windows and filters may result in additional expense, complexity, and gain latency.

[0034] In embodiments of the invention, the invention may be used as a component of, or method in, a contact hearing system.

[0035] Embodiments of the present invention are directed to a signal filter system for use in a contact hearing system, the signal filter system including: a signal input connected to a first filter and a second filter; a first coefficient input connected to the first filter; a second coefficient input connected to the second filter; coefficient update and window logic connected to the first and second coefficient inputs; a first window generator connected to the coefficient update and window logic; a second window generator connected to the coefficient update and window logic; a first multiplier receiving inputs from the first filter and the first window generator; a second multiplier receiving inputs from the second filter and the second window generator; and a summing circuit receiving inputs from the first and second multiplier circuits. Embodiments of the invention may further include a signal filter wherein the first and second filters are FIR filters.

[0036] Embodiments of the present invention are directed to a method for filtering a signal in a contact hearing system, wherein the method comprises the steps of: providing the signal simultaneously to a first filter and a second filter; providing the first filter with a first coefficient for use in filtering the input signal, wherein the first coefficient is provided to the first filter at a first time; providing the second filter with a second coefficient for use in filtering the input signal at a second time, wherein the second time is after the first time; multiplying an output of the first filter by a first window value to get a first filter value;

multiplying an output of the second filter by a second window value to get a second filter value; and adding the first filter value to the second filter value. Embodiments of the present invention are further directed to a method wherein the first time occurs when the first window value is at or near a minimum value. Embodiments of the present invention are further directed to a method wherein the first time occurs when the first window value is

substantially equal to zero. Embodiments of the present invention are further directed to a method wherein the second time occurs when the second window value is at or near a minimum value. Embodiments of the present invention are further directed to a method wherein the second time occurs when the second window value is substantially equal to zero. Embodiments of the present invention are further directed to a method wherein the first time occurs when the first window value is less than the second window value. Embodiments of the present invention are further directed to a method wherein the second time occurs when the second window value is less than the first window value.

[0037] Embodiments of the present invention are directed to a method for filtering a signal in a contact hearing system, wherein the method comprises the steps of: providing the signal simultaneously to a first filter and a second filter; changing at least one coefficient in the first filter to a first coefficient, wherein the first coefficient is changed in the first filter at a first time; changing at least one coefficient in the second filter to a second coefficient, wherein the second coefficient it changed in the second filter at a second time, and wherein the second time is after the first time; multiplying an output of the first filter by a first window value to get a first filter value; multiplying an output of the second filter by a second window value to get a second filter value; and adding the first filter value to the second filter value. DEFINITIONS

[0038] Audio Processor - A system for receiving and processing audio signals. Audio processors may include one or more microphones adapted to receive audio which reaches the user’s ear. The audio processor may include one or more components for processing the received sound. The audio processor may include digital signal processing electronics and software which are adapted to process the received sound. Processing of the received sound may include amplification of the received sound. The output of the audio processor may be a signal suitable for driving a laser located in an ear tip. The output of the audio processor may be a signal suitable for driving an antenna located in an ear tip. The output of the audio processor may be a signal suitable for driving an inductive coil located in an ear tip. Audio processors may also be referred to as behind the ear units or BTEs.

[0039] Contact Hearing System - A system including a contact hearing device, an ear tip and an audio processor. Contact hearing systems may also include an external communication device. An example of such system is an Earlens hearing-aid that transmits audio signal by laser to a contact hearing device which is located on or adjacent to the ear drum. The contact hearing system may also be referred to as a smart lens.

[0040] Contact Hearing Device - A tiny actuator connected to a customized ring-shaped support platform that floats on the ear canal around the eardrum, where the actuator directly vibrates the eardrum causing energy to be transmitted through the middle and inner ears to stimulate the brain and produce the perception of sound. The contact hearing device may comprise a photodetector, a microactuator connected to the photodetector, and a support structure supporting the photodetector and microactuator. The contact hearing device may comprise an antenna, a microactuator connected to the antenna, and a support structure supporting the antenna and microactuator. The contact hearing device may comprise a coil, a microactuator connected to the coil, and a support structure supporting the coil and microactuator. The contact hearing device may also be referred to as a Tympanic Contact Actuator (TCA), a Tympanic Lens, a Tympanic Membrane Transducer (TMT), or a smart lens.

[0041] Ear Tip - A structure designed to be placed into and reside in the ear canal of a user, where the structure is adapted to receive signals from an audio processor and transmit signals to the user’s tympanic membrane or to a device positioned on or near the user’s tympanic membrane (such as, for example, a contact hearing device). In one embodiment of the invention, the signals may be transmitted by light, using, for example, a laser positioned in the light tip. In one embodiment of the invention, the signals may be transmitted using radio frequency, using, for example, an antenna connected to the Ear Tip. In one embodiment of the invention, the signal may be transmitted using inductive coupling, using, for example, a coil connected to the ear tip. The ear tip may also be referred to as a light tip, magnetic tip, or mag tip.

[0042] Light-Driven Hearing Aid System - A contact hearing system wherein signals are transmitted from an ear tip to a contact hearing device using light. In a light driven hearing system, light (e.g. laser light) may be used to transmit information, power, or both

information and power to a contact hearing device.

[0043] RF-Driven Hearing Aid System - A contact hearing system wherein signals are transmitted from an ear tip to a contact hearing device using radio frequency electromagnetic radiation. In an RF driven hearing system, electromagnetic radiation may be used to transmit information, power, or both information and power from the ear tip to the contact hearing device.

[0044] Inductively-Driven Hearing Aid System - A contact hearing system wherein signals are transmitted from an ear tip to a contact hearing device using inductive coupling. In an inductively driven hearing system, magnetic waves may be used to transmit information, power, or both information and power from the ear tip to the contact hearing device.

[0045] Light Tip - An ear tip adapted for use in a light driven hearing aid system. A light tip may include a laser.

[0046] Mag Tip - An ear tip adapted for use in an inductively driven hearing aid system.

The mag tip may include an inductive transmit coil.

[0047] While the preferred embodiments of the devices and methods have been described in reference to the environment in which they were developed, they are merely illustrative of the principles of the present inventive concepts. Modification or combinations of the above- described assemblies, other embodiments, configurations, and methods for carrying out the invention, and variations of aspects of the invention that are obvious to those of skill in the art are intended to be within the scope of the claims. In addition, where this application has listed the steps of a method or procedure in a specific order, it may be possible, or even expedient in certain circumstances, to change the order in which some steps are performed, and it is intended that the particular steps of the method or procedure claim set forth herebelow not be construed as being order-specific unless such order specificity is expressly stated in the claim. REFERENCE NUMBERS