Title:
JEWELRY CLASP FOR HEARING AID
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2). The jewelry clasp (10) comprises a hoop (20) sized for captively retaining a hearing aid tube (8), and a retaining ring (24) being permanently affixed to the hoop (20). The retaining ring (24) has an aperture therein which facilitates attachment of a desired jewelry thereto. The hoop (22) and the attachment ring (24) together define and lie in a common plane of the jewelry clasp. The hoop is one of a continuous permanently closed hoop and a hoop which comprises a first member (12) pivotally connected to a second member (14) via a pivot axis (16), and a spring generally biases the first and second members (12, 14) into engagement with one another to captively surround and retain a hearing tube (8).



Inventors:
Scott, Hayleigh (Hollis, NH, US)
Application Number:
12/557618
Publication Date:
03/11/2010
Filing Date:
09/11/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
63/14.1, 63/12
International Classes:
A44C7/00; A44C25/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20030229974Concealed secure magnetic claspDecember, 2003Zemer et al.
20090307945LUGGAGE IDENTIFICATION APPARATUS AND METHODDecember, 2009Bopp et al.
20020029438Hearing aid retainerMarch, 2002Cereceres
20050210635Apparel insertion deviceSeptember, 2005Ransom
20080201919Fastening systemAugust, 2008Horn et al.
20090139065DISPLAY MATERIALS, ACCESSORIES THEREFOR AND METHODSJune, 2009Roche
20070086682AIRTIGHT RECLOSABLE FASTENERApril, 2007Wright et al.
20050160567Auxiliary locating mechanism for spring clampJuly, 2005Liou
20090200109Energy AbsorberAugust, 2009Luke
20050055811Retaining end of shoelaceMarch, 2005Cheng
20090078268BUCKLE HAVING A FLEXURAL STRAP ATTACHMENT MEMBER AND RESPIRATOR USING SUCH BUCKLEMarch, 2009Stepan et al.



Primary Examiner:
DO, ROWLAND
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAVIS & BUJOLD, P.L.L.C. (CONCORD, NH, US)
Claims:
Wherefore, I/We claim:

1. A jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2), the jewelry clasp (10) comprising: first and second members (12, 14), each of the first and second members (12, 14) comprising a cylindrical section sized for captively retaining a hearing aid tube (8), at least one of the first and second members (12, 14) having a retaining ring (24) permanently affixed thereto, and the retaining ring (24) having an aperture therein which facilitates attachment of desired jewelry thereto.

2. A jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2), the jewelry clasp (10) comprising: a hoop (20) sized for captively retaining a hearing aid tube (8), a retaining ring (24) being permanently affixed to the hoop (20), and the retaining ring (24) having an aperture therein which facilitates attachment of a desired jewelry thereto.

3. The jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2) according to claim 2, wherein the hoop (22) and the attachment ring (24) together define and lie in a common plane of the jewelry clasp.

4. The jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2) according to claim 2, wherein the hoop (22) has a maximum internal dimension of between about 0.15 inches and 0.60 inches.

5. The jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2) according to claim 2, wherein the retaining ring (24) has a maximum internal dimension of between about 0.05 inches and 0.25 inches.

6. The jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2) according to claim 2, wherein the hoop is a continuous permanently closed hoop.

7. The jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2) according to claim 2, wherein the hoop comprises a first member (12) pivotally connected to a second member (14) via a pivot axis (16), and a spring generally biases the first and second members (12, 14) into engagement with one another so that the first and second members (12, 14) the hoop (22) which is sized to captively surround and retain a hearing tube (8).

8. The jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2) according to claim 7, wherein each of the first and the second members (12, 14) comprises a circular C-shaped section (18) which is integrally formed with a pivot or lever arm (20).

9. The jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2) according to claim 7, wherein a pivoted end of the first member (12) supports a first component (32) of a latch while a mating second component (34) of a latch is provided adjacent a pivoted end of the second member (14) to facilitate abutting and a releasably locking engagement of the pivoted ends of each the first and the second members (12, 14) with one another.

10. The jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2) according to claim 7, wherein each the first and the second members (12, 14) supports a planar face (28) adjacent a pivoted ends thereof, and the planar faces (28) abut with one another when the jewelry clasp (10) is a closed position.

11. The jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2) according to claim 2, wherein the desired piece of jewelry is one of an earring, a bead, a pin, a charm or some other ornamental or decorative item.

12. The jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2) according to claim 2, wherein the hoop (22) has a shape which is one of oval, square, rectangular, hexagonal, pentagonal and circular.

13. The jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2) according to claim 2, wherein hoop (22) supports one of a stone, an earring, a bead, a pin, a charm, an ornamental element and a decorative item.

14. A jewelry clasp for use in connection with a tube (8) of a hearing aid (2) in which the tube (8) assists with transmitting of sound from the hearing aid (2) into an ear of a user, the jewelry clasp (10) comprising: a hoop (20) sized for captively retaining a hearing aid tube (8), a retaining ring (24) being permanently affixed to the hoop (20), and the retaining ring (24) having an aperture therein which facilitates attachment of a desired jewelry thereto; the hoop (22) and the attachment ring (24) together both defining and lying in a common plane, the hoop (22) has a maximum internal dimension of between about 0.15 inches and 0.60 inches, and the retaining ring (24) having a maximum internal dimension of between about 0.05 inches and 0.25 inches; and the desired piece of jewelry is one of an earring, a bead, a pin, a charm or some other ornamental or decorative item.

15. The jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2) according to claim 14, wherein the hoop is a continuous permanently closed hoop.

16. The jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2) according to claim 14, wherein the hoop comprises a first member (12) pivotally connected to a second member (14) via a pivot axis (16), and a spring generally biases the first and second members (12, 14) into engagement with one another so that the first and second members (12, 14) the hoop (22) which is sized to captively surround and retain a hearing tube (8).

17. The jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2) according to claim 14, wherein each of the first and the second members (12, 14) comprises a circular C-shaped section (18) which is integrally formed with a pivot or lever arm (20).

18. The jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2) according to claim 16, wherein a pivoted end of the first member (12) supports a first component (32) of a latch while a mating second component (34) of a latch is provided adjacent a pivoted end of the second member (14) to facilitate abutting and a releasably locking engagement of the pivoted ends of each the first and the second members (12, 14) with one another.

19. The jewelry clasp for use in connection with a hearing aid (2) according to claim 16, wherein each the first and the second members (12, 14) supports a planar face (28) adjacent a pivoted ends thereof, and the planar faces (28) abut with one another when the jewelry clasp (10) is a closed position.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a clasp/charm/jewelry attachment mechanism for a hearing aid or the like and, more specifically, for a clasp which allows jewelry and other decorative items to be readily and easily attached to a hearing aid.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Hearing aids are currently known in the art, but many of these hearing aids tend to be somewhat esthetically unpleasing. That is, the hearing aid and its associating tubes and components tend to be readily visible.

Although various improvements have been made with respect to hearing aids, such as making them smaller and more efficient, there still remains many users of the same who would like to apply decorations easily and efficiently to hearing aids in order to improve their exterior appearance.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Wherefore, it is an object of the present invention to overcome the above mentioned shortcomings and drawbacks by providing a more aesthetically pleasing hearing aid.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a clasp which can be easily attached to a hearing aid to facilitate attachment of jewelry, beads, pins, charms and other decorative items to a hearing aid.

Yet a further object of the present invention is to improve the exterior appearance of the hearing aid.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a removal clasp which facilitates releasable attaching or affixing a desired piece of jewelry, an earring, a bead(s), pin(s), charm(s) or some other ornamental or decorative item(s) to a tube of a hearing aid.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a rigid charm/attachment device which can be attached to the tubing of a hearing aid, when the hearing aid is partially disassembled.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a front-elevational view of a double-sided clasp shown in the closed position;

FIG. 1A is a front-elevational view of the double-sided clasp of FIG. 1 shown in the opened position;

FIG. 2 is a front-elevational view of a clasp hinge shown in the closed position;

FIG. 2 is a front-elevational view of the clasp hinge of FIG. 2 shown in the opened position;

FIG. 3 is a front-elevational view of a one-side opening clasp shown in the closed position;

FIG. 3A is a front-elevational view of the one-side clasp of FIG. 3 shown in the opened position;

FIG. 4 is a front-elevational view of a center clasp shown in the closed position;

FIG. 4A is a front-elevational view of a center clasp of FIG. 4 shown in the opened position;

FIG. 5 is a front-elevational view of a charm hinge shown in the closed position;

FIG. 5A is a front-elevational view of a charm hinge of FIG. 5 shown in the opened position;

FIG. 6 shows installation of the jewelry clasp for a hearing aid affixed to a hearing aid with jewelry being hung therefrom;

FIG. 6A shows installation of the jewelry clasp for a hearing aid affixed to a hearing aid with jewelry being hung therefrom and the jewelry being affixed to the ear as well;

FIG. 7 is a front-elevational view of a solid circular charm having a jewelry attachment therefrom;

FIG. 8 is a solid circle containing birth stones, for example, for being attached to the hearing aid;

FIG. 9 is a diagrammatic front-elevational view showing a scrunchie attached to a hearing aid; and

FIG. 10A is diagrammatic front-elevational view of a twist designed for attachment to a hearing aid tube; and

FIG. 10B is diagrammatic front-elevational view showing the twist attached to a hearing aid tube.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As can be seen in this FIG. 6, the hearing aid 2 is generally shown and comprises conventional internal electronics (not shown in detail) which are located within an exterior housing 4 as a conventional input device, such as a microphone, is also accommodated in the housing 4. An ear piece 6, is generally molded and sized to be accommodated within the ear of an user while a tube 8 couples the electronics of the hearing aid 2 to the ear piece 6. The tube 8 assists with transmitting the detected and amplified sound from the hearing aid 2 into the ear of the user. FIG. 6A shows an embodiment in which the jewelry clasp 22 is affixed to a hearing aid 2 and a first end of the jewelry, an earring, a bead(s), pin(s), charm(s) or some other ornamental or decorative item(s) 26 is coupled to the jewelry clasp 22 and an opposite end of the jewelry 26 is affixed to the ear in a conventional fashion.

With reference now to FIGS. 1 and 1A, the brief description concerning the various components of a first embodiment of the present invention will now be briefly discussed. As can be seen in those Figures, the jewelry clasp 10 generally comprises a first member 12 pivotally connected to a second member 14 via a pivot axis 16. Each of the first and second members 12, 14 generally comprises a circular C-shaped section 18 which is integrally formed with a pivot or lever arm 20. A spring (not shown) generally biases the first and second members 12, 14 into engagement with one another so that the first and second members 12, 14 generally define substantially round or circular hoop 22 which is sized to captively surround and retain a hearing tube 8 within the opening of the round or circular hoop 22. Preferably when the first and second members 12, 14 are matingly engaged with one in the closed position shown in FIG. 1, the first and the second members 12, 14 will partially overlap one another as shown in FIG. 1.

One of the pivot or lever arm 20 supports a retaining ring 24 which has a aperture 25 extending therethrough which is sized to receive and secure a desired piece of jewelry, an earring, a bead(s), pin(s), charm(s) or some other ornamental or decorative item(s) to the jewelry clasp 10. The retaining ring 24 facilitates releasable connection of a desired piece of jewelry, an earring, a bead(s), pin(s), charm(s) or some other ornamental or decorative item(s) 26 to the hearing aid clasp 10 so that the hearing clasp can, in turn, be releasably supported by the tube 8 of the hearing aid 2 to add the desired aesthetic appeal to the hearing aid 2.

An important feature of the jewelry clasp 10, according to the present invention, is that both the round or circular hoop 22 and the attachment ring 24 together define and lie in a common plane, i.e., the plane defined by the paper of each drawing. As a result of this, when the jewelry clasp 10 engages with the tube 8, the jewelry clasp 10 is normally arranged substantially perpendicular to a plane defined by the earlobe so that when a desired piece of jewelry, an earring, a bead(s), pin(s), charm(s) or some other ornamental or decorative item(s) 26 is attached to the retaining ring 24, the desired piece of jewelry, the earring, the bead(s), the pin(s), the charm(s) or the other ornamental or decorative item(s) 26 will be hung in a conventional fashion similar to the way a typical earring is worn by a user.

With reference now to FIG. 1A, when either removal or attachment of the jewelry clasp 10 to the hearing tube 8 is desired, the end user will squeeze or pinch both of the pivot or lever arms 20 toward one another, against the bias of the spring S, thereby adequately spacing or separating the two circular C-shaped sections 18 from one another, as shown in FIG. 1A, so that the jewelry clasp 10 can be either attached to or removed from the hearing aid tube 8.

Turning now to FIGS. 2 and 2A, a second embodiment of the jewelry clasp 10 will now be described. This embodiment is substantially similar to the first embodiment except that the pivoted end of each the first and the second members 12, 14 has a substantially planar face 28 which facilitates abutting engagement of the pivoted ends of each the first and the second members 12, 14 with one another. That is, the planar faces 28 supported adjacent the pivoted ends of each the first and the second members 12, 14 abut with one another in the closed position of the jewelry clasp 10, as can be seen in FIG. 2.

When either removal or attachment of the jewelry clasp 10 to the hearing tube 8 is desired, the end user will squeeze or pinch both of the pivot or lever arms 20 toward one another, against the bias of the spring S, thereby adequately spacing or separating the two circular C-shaped sections 18 from one another, as shown in FIG. 2A, so that the jewelry clasp 10 can be either attached to or removed from the hearing aid tube 8.

With reference to FIGS. 3 and 3A, this embodiment is also quite similar to the first and second embodiments except that, according to this embodiment, only one of the first and the second members 12, 14, e.g., the first member 12, for example, is intended to pivot relative to the second member 14 to facilitate opening and closing of the jewelry clasp 10.

When either removal or attachment of the jewelry clasp 10 to the hearing tube 8 is desired, the end user will squeeze or pinch both of the pivot or lever arms 20 toward one another, against the bias of the spring S, thereby adequately spacing or separating the two circular C-shaped sections 18 from one another, as shown in FIG. 3A, so that the jewelry clasp 10 can be either attached to or removed from the hearing aid tube 8.

With reference now to FIGS. 4 and 4A, a fourth embodiment of the invention will now be described. This embodiment is somewhat different from the previous embodiments in that a portion of the cylindrical section is designed to pivot inwardly into the area defined by the round or circular hoop 22. That is, the jewelry clasp 10 generally comprises a first and second C-shaped members 12, 14 with one of the members 12 being an acuate member which is pivotally supported to as to pivot inwardly as can be seen in FIG. 4A (or possibly outwardly), to facilitate attaching or removing the jewelry clasp 10 from a tube 8 of a desired hearing aid 2.

With reference to FIGS. 5 and 5A, a fifth embodiment of the present invention will now be described. This embodiment is somewhat similar to the fourth embodiment in that the first and second members 12, 14 together generally define a round or circular hoop 22, however, the retaining ring 24 is attached directly to the second member 14 while the first member 12 is able to pivot relative to the second member 14 about the pivot axis 16, from a closed position (see FIG. 5) to the opened position (see FIG. 5A). A first component 32 of a conventional latch is provided adjacent the pivoted end of the first member 12 while a second mating component 34 of a conventional latch is provided adjacent the pivoted end of the second member 14 to facilitate abutting and a releasably locking engagement of the pivoted ends of each the first and the second members 12, 14 with one another, as shown in FIG. 5A, so that the jewelry clasp 2 is able to retain itself when secured to the tube 8 of the hearing aid 2.

Turning now to FIG. 7, an embodiment relating to a solid or fixed version of the substantially round or circular hoop 22 is shown with the retaining ring 24 permanently secured thereto. As with the previous embodiments, an important aspect is that both the solid or fixed substantially round or circular hoop 22 and the retaining ring 24 both lie in a common plane, i.e., the plane of the paper.

With reference to FIG. 8, a still further embodiment of the present invention is shown. According to this embodiment, the jewelry clasp 10 is merely a solid or fixed substantially round or circular hoop 22 which has the desired piece of jewelry, an earring(s), the bead(s), the pin(s), the charm(s) or some other ornamental or decorative item(s) 36 embedded or affixed directly thereto, e.g., birth stones of a user, for example.

A maximum internal dimension or diameter, of the substantially round or circular hoop 22, is generally between about 0.15 inches and 0.85 inches and more preferably between about 0.25 inches and 0.55 inches and most preferably about 0.50 inches. A maximum internal dimension or diameter, of the retaining ring 24, is generally between about 0.05 inches and 0.25 inches and more preferably between about 0.10 inches and 0.20 inches and most preferably between about 0.12 inches and 0.18 inches. In addition, the overall shape of the hoop 22 can vary, e.g., it can be oval, square, rectangular, hexagonal, pentagonal, etc., or any other closed structure which can captively engage the tube 8 of the hearing aid 2.

Preferably the spring S interconnects or couples the first member 12 with the second member 12, 14 and biases those two members into the closed position. Alternatively, the spring S may interconnects or couples the two pivot or lever arms 20 away from one another so as to bias the first and the second members 12, 14 into the closed position. In order to improve the aesthetic appearance of the jewelry clasp 10, the spring is generally fairly small in size and may possibly be located internally within either the first and the second members 12, 14 or the two pivot or lever arms 20.

FIG. 9 is a diagrammatic front-elevational view showing a scrunchie 40 attached to a hearing aid 2. According to this embodiment, the scrunchie 40 is open at one end and is sized to receive and accommodate, within an interior compartment, the entire exterior housing 4 of the hearing aid 2 to provide the same is a decorative appearance.

FIG. 10A is diagrammatic front-elevational view of a twist 42 designed for attachment to a tube 8 of a hearing aid 2. The twist 42 is sized to closely surround the tube 8 of the hearing aid and remain affixed thereto. The twist 42 typically has at least two complete wraps around the tube 8 to ensure that the twist 42 remains affixed thereto but can also be removed following use. With reference to FIG. 10B, the twist 42 is shown affixed to the tube 8 of the hearing aid 2.

Since certain changes may be made in the above described the jewelry clasp, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention herein involved, it is intended that all of the subject matter of the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted merely as examples illustrating the inventive concept herein and shall not be construed as limiting the invention.