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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
EAR DEFENDERS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2009/006894
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention concerns ear defenders (1) for protecting the auditory sense of a user against unwanted noise from the surroundings, where the ear defenders include two earmuffs (5) with flexible sealing rings (7) for sealing around the user's ears, where for at least one of the two earmuffs there is at least one connection (8) for input from an external sound emitter (2) for transmitting sound through the ear defenders, where the sound is transmitted to the space formed between the earmuff and the user's ear. The new feature according to the invention is that on at least one earmuff of the ear defenders there is fitted an adapter ring (6) between the flexible sealing ring and the earmuff itself, and that a connection for input is provided in this adapter ring.

Inventors:
HANSEN JOHN (DK)
Application Number:
DK2008/000253
Publication Date:
January 15, 2009
Filing Date:
July 04, 2008
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
DOJ DEV APS (DK)
HANSEN JOHN (DK)
International Classes:
A61F11/14
Foreign References:
US3408658A1968-11-05
DE102004059678B32006-06-01
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATRADE A/S (Aarhus C, DK)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS

1. Ear defenders for protecting the auditory sense of a user against unwanted noise from the surroundings, where the ear defenders include two earmuffs or cups with flexible sealing rings for sealing around the user's ears, where for at least one of the two earmuffs there is at least one connection for input from an external sound emitter for transmitting sound or electric signals through the ear defenders, where the sound or the electric signals are transmitted to the space formed between the earmuff and the user's ear, characterised in that on at least one earmuff of the ear defenders there is fitted an adapter ring between the flexible sealing ring and the earmuff itself, and that a connection for input is provided in this adapter ring.

2. Ear defenders according to claim 1, characterised in that the at least one connection is arranged in connection with the part of the earmuff facing downwards during use, wherein the connection is movable at least in an angle in direction back and forth.

3. Ear defenders according to any of claims 1 and 2, characterised in that the connection is movable in an angle up to 120°, preferably in an angle of 45° forwards and 45° backwards.

4. Ear defenders according to any of claims 1 -3, characterised in that the connection is provided movable in several directions, preferably in all directions.

5. Ear defenders according to any of claims 1 -4, characterised in that the movable connection is direct into at least one adapter ring.

6. Ear defenders according to any of claims 1 -5, characterised in that the at least one connection is configured for connecting to a connecting line in which electric signals are transmitted to a loudspeaker from a sound emitter.

7. Ear defenders according to any of claims 1 -5, characterised in that the at least one connection is configured for connecting a connecting line with an open cross-section containing a fluid in which pressure wave transmitted sound signals are transmitted from a sound emitter.

8. Ear defenders according to claims 1 - 7, characterised in that the adapter ring is provided with sound channel openings facing the space between the earmuff and the user's ear.

9. Ear defenders according to claims 1 -8, characterised in that the connecting line is connected to an acoustic sound emitter on a gas detector.

10. Ear defenders according to any of claims 7 -9, characterised in that the connecting line includes at least one sound level regulating function which reduces the open cross-section of the connecting line.

Description:

Ear Defenders

Field of the Invention

The present invention concerns ear defenders for protecting the auditory sense of a user against unwanted noise from the surroundings, where the ear defenders include two earmuffs with flexible sealing rings for sealing around the user's ears, where for at least one of the two earmuffs there is at least one connection for input from an external sound emitter for transmitting sound or electric signals through the ear defenders, where the sound or the electric signals are transmitted to the space formed between the earmuff and the user' s ear.

Description of Prior Art

It is commonly known that ear defenders can be equipped with loudspeakers and connecting options for electronic equipment. For example, it is prior art to connect external and internal radio communication equipment via input jacks at the outer side of ear defenders with earmuffs, or alternatively via a wireless connection.

Moreover, there are various types of ear defenders wherein sound from the surroundings via microphones provided on e.g. the earmuffs is transmitted to the user's ear. If the sound exceeds a certain sound level, the microphone is switched off, thereby protecting the ear against damaging sound.

Another type of ear defenders is earplugs which, as indicated by the name, are disposed directly in the auditory meatus, filling the latter, whereby a desired attenuation of the sound is effected. The prior art earplugs exist in different variants, including types which are adapted to the individual user. These may be plugs as such, but may also be with mechanically acting filter or with electrically acting filter. This type may also be connected to various electronic devices.

From WO 03/077764 Al and from US 4,299,303 it is known with stethoscopes which are joined with ear defenders, where sound may be transmitted to the earmuffs via a tube. This type of ear defenders, however, have disadvantages when or if they are used in an industrial environment. It is not a solution which may immediately be

implemented on ear defenders already in use, and also there may be safety drawbacks by having a fixed tube pointing at the user's ear, as the user may have his/hear ear injured by e.g. a fall or impact against the head. Moreover, there is an increased risk that the user may get caught by something during the work.

Ear defenders are selected among the available types depending on which protection is desired and depending on the environment in which the ear defenders are to be used. For example, particularly approved types of ear defenders are used in environments where there is danger of explosions, so-called EX areas. Equipment used in these environments is to be approved particularly for these areas. This approval process may be extensive, costly and demanding, and thus there may be good reasons for not introducing new equipment lacking special approval in such workplaces. For example, it can be mentioned that electric equipment usually will be required approval in order to be used in EX areas.

When moving around in certain EX environments, it is common to carry gas detectors which by exceeding a certain concentration of certain gases emit a sound signal which warns the carrier against the gas. When these alarms or sensors are carried in surrounding where ear defenders are compulsory or where ear defenders are used, it is of course difficult to hear the alarm from the gas detector when it is emitting sound. One solution is of course to connect the alarm electrically, either wirelessly or with an electric wire connection to the ear defenders. The wireless connection is particularly made difficult by various conditions. Among others, these signals may disturb or be disturbed by other signals, and furthermore the above mentioned approvals for such equipment is required.

Personnel working in EX areas of course have various tasks to be done. If they are tasks where e.g. bearings and other mechanical equipments is to be monitored, this is often done by listening to the bearings and similar with a stethoscope or by listening without ear defenders. In order to perform such checking it is necessary to take off the ear defenders while making the check. This is not a good solution as even short periods without ear defenders can be very harmful.

It is the object of ear defenders according to the invention to indicate a solution to the above problems, where the connection is so flexible that a connecting line or wire does not obstruct the user's movements and work, and which does not require any additional approval with regard to use in an EX environment. Moreover, it is the object to safeguard the individual wearer against missing warning signals from e.g. gas detectors or similar. It is also the object of the invention to indicate a solution that enables connecting more than a single sound emitter to the ear defenders at a time, e.g. a gas detector for H 2 S and a gas detector for CO 2 .

Description of the Invention

As mentioned in the introduction, the invention concerns ear defenders with earmuffs, wherein there is at least one connection for input from an external sound emitter, where the new feature is that on at least one earmuff of the ear defenders there is fitted an adapter ring between the flexible sealing ring and the earmuff itself, and that a connection for input is provided in this adapter ring.

On ear defenders according to the invention where there is fitted an adapter ring between the flexible sealing ring and the earmuff itself, and where the movable connection is in this adapter ring, an attractive solution is achieved, as it is thus possible to retrofit this adapter ring on already existing and approved ear defenders. The said adapter ring is, as mentioned, mounted between the earmuff itself and its sealing ring/hygiene ring with click connections corresponding to the type by which the sealing ring is fastened.

Thus it is easy to implement this solution in the type of workplaces where special approval of ear defenders is required, as this solution does not require the ear defenders to go through a new approval procedure. In many workplaces, this solution may also be used with advantage.

Ear defenders according to the invention, wherein an adapter ring is fitted between the flexible sealing ring and the earmuff or cup itself, may advantageously be provided with a movable connection in this adapter ring.

In addition, the at least one connection may be arranged in connection with the part of the earmuff/adapter ring facing downwards during use, and wherein the connection is movable at least in an angle in direction back and forth. By such a movable connection is achieved the advantage that the user experiences a markedly increased freedom during the work with compulsory ear defenders. The fact that even a small movement of the head does not mean that a rigid and inflexible connecting line is to be pulled, significantly increases the comfort by the ear defenders. By ear defenders according to the invention it is thus possible to work for a longer time with ear defenders than by the prior art types, as the user does not experience the same effort by wearing ear defenders during the work.

In a preferred variant of ear defenders according to the invention, the connection is movable in an angle up to 120°, however preferably in an angle of 45° forwards and 45° backwards. By such a solution is achieved a large degree of freedom, as about any movement of the head will only cause a minor movement of the connecting line and thereby imply a much reduced discomfort to the user.

A more preferred variant of the invention is provided with a connection which is movable in several directions, preferably in all directions. Such connection may e.g. be with a so-called ball coupling, which is free to move in all directions at a given angle, where a spherical part may be rotated and pivoted in a corresponding seat. Another variant of a movable connection is with a slide which is guided in a cutout extending along part of the periphery of the earmuff. Such a slide may not only be designed such that there is a large angle of movement, but also with a larger movement of the connecting point itself, entailing an even greater freedom for the user. The two mentioned solutions may even advantageously be combined such that the connecting line is mounted in the slide with a ball coupling, whereby an even greater degree of freedom may be achieved.

Ear defenders according to the invention may be adapted such that the movable connection is provided directly into at least one adapter ring, e.g. through an opening at the side of the adapter ring.

Ear defenders according to the invention may be with the at least one connection configured for connecting to a connecting line or wire in which electric signals are transmitted to a loudspeaker from a sound emitter, or it may be with the at least one connection configured for connecting a connecting line with an open cross-section containing a fluid in which pressure wave transmitted sound signals are transmitted from a sound emitter. By these solutions, all kinds of equipment may be connected easily and without problems, including sound emitters of e.g. gas alarms, hi this way the wearers of ear defenders may be safeguarded against missing possible warning signals from the gas alarm, which is typically worn on the chest externally of the work clothing. By equipment according to the invention it is also made possible for the wearer to connect special listening equipment of different kinds, which e.g. is used for checking bearings and other mechanical equipment by listening for dissonance. By the invention, this may be done without taking the ear defenders off, which is a significant improvement compared to the present practice.

A special feature is also that non-electric equipment may be connected in cases where various conditions makes it desirable, hi such cases, the connecting line may be a common plastic tube, or it may be a spiral tube which due to the helical shape may be stretched according to need. The predominant advantage of this tube is that no electric signals are transmitted in it, and that any form of approval of using the tube in an EX environment is thus not required.

The adapter ring may be provided with sound channel openings facing the space between the earmuff and the user's ear. Input from the connecting line may thus be allowed to the inner side of the ear defenders.

hi one variant of ear defenders according to the invention, there may be at least one sound regulating function that reduces the open cross-section of the connecting line in connection with coupling the connecting line to the earmuff. Thus is provided the possibility that the sound impression conducted to the earmuff may be adjusted down.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, this is provided with at least one sound level regulating opening/closing function. For example, a pointed screw or a squeezing

device which reduces the open cross-section of the connecting line. Hereby is achieved the possibility of adjusting the sound level of the transmitted sound signal.

hi a further variant of a connecting line for ear defenders according to the invention, the connecting line is branched such that there is possibility of connecting more sound emitters/sound transmitters. Thus there may be achieved possibility of combining connection to e.g. a gas sensor or to a stethoscope head. Hereby is achieved the clear advantage that sound from both sound emitters can be heard simultaneously, thus further increasing safety.

Short Description of the Drawing

The invention is described in more detail with reference to the drawing, where:

FIG. 1 shows ear defenders connected to a gas detector via a connecting line.

FIG. 2 shows a adapter ring for ear defenders with connected connecting line. FIG. 3 shows a detail of an adapter ring with connection for a connecting line.

FIG. 4 shows a detail of an adapter ring with displaceable connection.

FIG. 5 shows details of an adapter ring with displaceable connection.

Detailed Description of the Invention Fig. 1 shows how ear defenders 1 may be coupled to a gas detector 2 via a connecting line 3 which in the simple design of the shown variant is constituted by a rubber tube.

The shown ear defenders 1 are of the prior art type with spring band 4, earmuffs 5 and with sealing ring 7. The ear defenders 1 shown here are additionally provided with an adapter ring 6 in which is a connection/sound inlet 8 which via a channel system in the adapter ring 6 communicates with internal sound channel openings 9 from which sound is propagated to the user's ear. The said connecting line 3, here a rubber tube, is connected with a gas detector 2 via a connection/sound outlet 10. In the shown version, the gas detector 2 has the gas detector 11 itself at the front side and the sound outlet 10 at one end.

Obviously the ear defenders 1 themselves and the gas detector 2 as well may have other design than shown in this Figure. For example, it can be mentioned that i.a. ear

defenders of the trademark Peltor in various forms and gas detectors of the trademark DrSger, e.g. DrSger Pac 5000, may be approved for work in so-called EX areas. The said types of ear defenders 1 and gas detector 3 may advantageously be connected with a connecting line 3 as shown in Fig. 1, whereby no problems arise in connection with introducing new electric equipment without EX approval.

The ear defenders 1 are connected to a gas detector 2 with a connecting line 3. The connecting line 3, here shown as a rubber tube, may be provided with a not shown branch which via an additional connecting line enables connection of listening equipment, e.g. in the shape of a stethoscope. Alternatively, all kinds of sound emitting equipment may of course be connected, including radio, intercom etc., which may entail lesser weight of the ear defenders themselves, as loudspeaker, batteries and similar no longer need to be contained in the ear defenders. The reduced weight will imply enhanced comfort by using the ear defenders.

In Fig. 2 is shown a disassembled ear defender 1 wherein the earmuff 5 is still mounted on the spring band 4 but where the adapter ring 6 and the sealing ring 7 are shown dismounted. On several of the known types of ear defenders 1, i.a. ear defenders of the trademark Peltor, the sealing ring 7 is a wearing part which has to be replaced regularly. This is easily done by releasing the sealing ring 7 from its click engagement in the edge of the earmuffs 5. The shown adapter ring 6, with connection for sound inlet 8 and with not shown internal sound distribution channels provided in connection with sound channel openings 9, may thus readily be mounted between earmuff 5 and sealing ring 7. In this way, already approved ear defenders may readily be equipped with the option of connecting a connecting tube 3 which via pressure wave communicates sound to the user.

In Fig. 3 appears a detail of an adapter ring 6 with connection 12 for a connecting tube 3. The connection 12 is here made as a branch 13 which is to be pressed into the hole 14 in the adapter ring 6 and which, when mounted, is free to be rotated about is longitudinal axis. Such a solution provides increased freedom of movement to some degree.

In Figs. 4 and 5 is seen another embodiment of an adapter ring 6 wherein the connection 12 is connected to a slide 15 sliding in a cutout 16 along part of the periphery on the adapter ring 6. By this solution, optimal freedom of movement for the user is achieved. As shown, the slide is limited in its movement by the external opening in the cutout 16 and by the connection 12. An opening 17 is provided inside the adapter ring 6 through which the sound is propagated to the user's ear.