United States Patent 3841326

An ear protector assembly which can be mounted on a protective helmet, including a mount which can be attached to the side of the helmet, a linkage pivotally connected to the mount, and an earplug mounted on an end of the linkage. The linkage includes a pair of pivotally mounted bars that enable adjustment of the earplug position into alignment with the ear canal of the wearer, while resisting outward deflection so the earplug can be pressed against the ear canal. The linkage can be resiliently deflected outwardly so the earplug can move around the rim of the helmet and rest upon the rim for stowage out of the way of the wearer.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
International Classes:
A42B3/16; A61F11/12; (IPC1-7): A61F11/00
Field of Search:
128/152,132,151 2
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3197785Ear protector attachment in combination with a safety cap1965-08-03Simpson et al.
3016054Device for protecting ears from high intensity noise1962-01-09Rosenblatt

Primary Examiner:
Gaudet, Richard A.
Assistant Examiner:
Recla, Henry J.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lindenberg, Freilich, Wasserman, Rosen & Fernandez
What is claimed is

1. Protective apparatus comprising:

2. The apparatus described in claim 1 wherein:

3. Protective apparatus comprising:

4. The apparatus described in claim 3 wherein: each of said mounts includes a flat member (28) lying against the inside of the helmet immediately above the rim, said member having a ledge portion (36) lying against the rim of the helmet and a tab (30) extending from the ledge portion and pivotally supporting said earplug holder.


Workmen who must wear protective helmets or hard hats to protect against falling objects and the like, must occasionally work around very noisy machinery. Ear protectors are available with an earplug-holding band that extends under the chin or behind the head, to enable wearing while the workman also wears a helmet. However, the necessity to carry and store a separate ear protector, in addition to the protective helmet, is inconvenient and annoying to workmen, and therefore the ear protectors are often unavailable when the need for them arises.


In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, an ear protector assembly is provided which can be attached to an ordinary protective helmet, which can be easily adjusted to comfortably and effectively fit the wearer after he has put on the helmet, and which can be easily stowed on the helmet without dangling or the like when ear protection is not needed. The ear protector assembly includes a mount which is attached facewise to the inner surface of the helmet and which has a tab extending below the rim of the helmet. A two-bar linkage has one end pivotally connected to the tab of the mount and an opposite end which carries an earplug. The linkage can be pivoted between a use position wherein the earplug is at the wearer's ear canal, and a stowage position wherein the earplug rests on the rim of the helmet. The linkage applies inward force so that the earplug is pressed against the ear canal in the use position and is retained on top of the rim of the helmet in the stowage position, and yet the earplug can be deflected outwardly to clear the rim in movement between the use and stowage positions. A workman can readily attach a pair of ear protector assemblies to the opposite sides of his helmet so that they are always available. The earplugs may be normally kept in the stowage position, but a workman can readily use them by pushing the earplugs outwardly to clear the rim and then pivoting the linkage so that the earplugs lie against his ear canals.

The novel features that are considered characteristic of this invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention will best be understood from the following description when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.


FIG. 1 is a perspective view of ear protector assemblies constructed in accordance with the present invention on a protective helmet;

FIG. 2 is a view taken on the line 2--2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a front elevation view of the ear protector assembly of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the ear protector assembly of FIG. 3.


FIG. 1 illustrates a pair of ear protector assemblies 10, 12 that are mounted on a hard hat or protective helmet 14. The helmet 14 includes a largely hemispherical shell 16, a rim 18 extending around the bottom of the shell, and a helmet liner 20 (FIG. 2) which is attached to the shell 16. The shell 16 and rim 18 are constructed of a hard material, such as steel or a rigid plastic, while the liner 20 is constructed of a soft plastic or other soft material. The helmet is worn in a predetermined orientation, with a front helmet portion F at the front of the wearer's head. The ear protector assemblies 10, 12 are attachments that can be readily mounted on either side of the helmet to provide conveniently available ear protection. Each ear protector assembly includes a mount 22 mounted on the shell 16, an earplug holder 24 in the form of a two bar linkage, and an earplug 26 mounted on the linkage. The linkage of each ear protector assembly, such as assembly 10, can be moved between a use position, illustrated in solid lines in FIG. 1, wherein the earplug 26 is pressed against the ear canal of the wearer W, and a stowage position illustrated in phantom lines at 10A wherein the earplug at 26A rests upon the rim 18 of the helmet. A workman may normally store and wear the helmet with the ear protector assemblies in the stowage position wherein they are out of the way of his head. However, the ear protectors are always conveniently available for movement into the use position when the ambient noise rises to a high level.

As also illustrated in FIGS. 2-4, the mount 22 includes a round sheet-like member 28 designed for attachment facewise to the inner surface 16I of the helmet shell, and a tab 30 that extends downwardly from the flat member 28 and which pivotally supports the linkage 24. The flat member 28 has a pressure sensitive adhesive 32 on one face thereof which lies against the inner surface of the helmet to permit rapid mounting thereon. The member 28 has several laterally extending slots 34 on each side to permit a degree of flexibility in twisting about a vertical axis to facilitate inward and outward movement of the earplugs towards and away from the wearer, and to facilitate secure attachment to the helmet surface even though the helmet is curved. The tab 30 includes a horizontally extending upper ledge portion 36 that bears against the rim 18 of the helmet and a lower tab portion 38 on which the linkage 24 is mounted. In order to provide an opportunity for more secure mounting, a hole 40 is formed through the flat portion to receive a screw, so that a workman can drill a corresponding hole at each side of his helmet and fasten the mount to the inside of the helmet with a screw and nut.

The linkage 24 includes two bars 42, 44 that are pivotally joined together and to the mount. The inner bar 42 has an inner end 46 pivotally mounted on the tab portion 38. The outer bar 44 has an inner end 48 pivotally joined to the outer end 50 of the bar 42 and has an outer end 52 that supports the earplug 26. As illustrated in FIG. 4, each bar 42, 44 has a middle portion that extends at an angle towards the wearer. Accordingly, the mount 22 is spaced from the wearer's ear but the earplug 26 lies close to the wearer's ear and can nest against the ear canal of the wearer. A pair of pivot joint members 54, 56 that pivotally connect the bar 42 to the tab 38 and pivotally connect the two bars together, form low enough friction joints to permit a workman to readily adjust the linkage so that the earplug fits against his ear. The two-bar linkage permits the earplug to reach the ear for a wide range of mounting locations on the helmet.

The pivots 54, 56 are tight enough so as to resist wobbling movement, and the bars 42, 44 are flexible and the mount 22 adds additional flexibility to permit resilient movement of the earplugs away from a position against the wearer's head. Thus, while the ear protector assembly normally urges the tip of the earplug 26 against the ear canal to firmly seat it thereon, a workman can readily move out the earplug so it can clear the rim 18 of his helmet while he lifts the earplug onto the rim. When the earplugs 26 rest on the helmet rim 18, they are out of the way of the wearer so that they will not swing at the side of his head. The earplug 26 is unlikely to accidentally fall off the rim because it is being pressed inwardly towards the helmet by the resilient linkage and mount. Of course, a workman can readily move the apparatus to a use position by pulling out the earplug 26 or outer link bar 44 so the earplug clears the rim 18 and can be moved down to a position at the ear canal.

The earplug 26 is constructed of a soft flexible material with a solid base 60 and a hollow tip 62. The base is attached to the end 52 of the linkage bar 44 by a screw fastener 64 that is threaded into a hole 66 in the bar end and into an insert 68 in the earplug. The earplug is mounted with a spacing s of the earplug base 60 from the link bar end 52, which permits a limited flexible deflection of the earplug to properly enter the wearer's ear. This is especially important because the earplug 26 is flattened along one side 70 to fit along the tragus of the ear, and the flexibility of earplug mounting permits the earplug to lie flat thereagainst.

Thus, the invention provides an ear protector assembly usable with a protective helmet so that protection from loud noises is available when the helmet is worn. The assembly is constructed to facilitate mounting on the helmet in a secure manner, and to permit adjustment of the earplug position to fit the wearer while providing an inward bias for securely holding the earplug against the ear canal of the wearer. This is accomplished by providing a linkage with at least one bar, and which can provide an inward force to hold the earplug against outward deflection until a large deflecting force is applied. The assembly also permits secure stowage when the earplug is not being worn in the ear, by permitting an orientation wherein the earplug rests over the rim of the protective helmet and is biased inwardly thereagainst so that it does not accidentally fall down to dangle in the way of the wearer. Either the earplug 26 or a part of the linkage 24 may actually contact the helmet rim in such a stowage position.

Although particular embodiments of the invention have been described and illustrated herein, it is recognized that modifications and variations may readily occur to those skilled in the art and consequently it is intended that the claims be interpreted to cover such modifications and equivalents .