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Corded earplug

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Corded earplug


An apparatus and a method of making a corded earplug including a flexible cord material having a particular cross-section. An earplug having a nose portion for insertion into the ear and a handle portion extending from the nose portion and lying outside of the ear when the nose portion is inserted into the ear. The handle portion including at least two openings physically displaced from each other. At least one of the openings extends within the handle portion and with at least one of the openings having a cross-section different than the cross-section of the cord material. A end portion of the flexible cord material is inserted into the at least one opening extending within the handle portion. The end portion of the flexible cord material is then inserted into the other opening in the handle portion so that the end portion of the flexible cord material is frictionally engaged along its length to lock the flexible cord material to the rear portion of the earplug because of the difference in cross-section between the cord and the at least one opening having a cross-section different than the cross-section of the cord material.

Browse recent Moldex-metric, Inc. patents - ,
Inventors: Mark Magidson, Crest Turdjian, Fred Ryan
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120272974 - Class: 128864 (USPTO) - 11/01/12 - Class 128 
Surgery > Body Protecting Or Restraining Devices For Patients Or Infants (e.g., Shields, Immobilizers) >Head Or Face Protector (e.g., Lips, Ears, Etc.) >Aural Protectors (e.g., Ear)

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120272974, Corded earplug.

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BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a corded earplug and additionally to a method for making such a corded earplug.

In the prior art, corded earplugs are generally made by initially making an earplug by any conventional technique. The earplugs are either produced with an elongated opening at one end or an elongated opening is made at one end of the earplug after it has been produced. An adhesive is then applied to the opening and one end of a cord is inserted into the elongated opening during the short time that the adhesive is liquid. This adhesive then bonds the cord within the opening at one end of the earplug and generally a pair of such earplugs is located at opposite ends of the cord. This produces the conventional type of corded earplug, which includes a number of additional steps after the earplugs are produced.

The difficulty with prior art corded earplugs is that it is difficult to insert the cord into the opening during the short period of time that the adhesive is liquid. In addition this method of attaching the cord to the earplug can result in a bond that is completely dependent on the adhesive and therefore may not be very strong. Also this method is permanent and does not allow for the pair of earplugs to be used without a cord. Other prior art corded earplugs use a cord with ends that can be inserted into an opening in the earplugs but are easily removable if desired so that the earplugs can be used without the cord. Since the attachment of the cord to the earplugs is easily removable, the earplugs can be disengaged from the cord when this is not desired.

It would therefore be desirable to provide for a method of attaching a cord to an earplug using a method and apparatus that is simpler than the prior art and also produces strong connection between the cord and the earplug. In a prior application Ser. No. 12/924,462, filed Sep. 28, 2010, a method and apparatus for overcoming the problems of the prior art were shown. This improved method and apparatus would work best if the cord was braided and included stiff end portions but, if the cord were a smooth plastic or a braided material without stiff end portions, then it would be more difficult to use the method and apparatus of this prior application.

SUMMARY

OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

The present invention is an improvement to the prior application Ser. No. 12/924,462 and is directed to a corded earplug, and specifically to a method of making a corded earplug including providing a flexible cord material and a pair of earplugs. Each earplug has a nose portion for insertion into the ear and a rear portion extending from the nose portion and lying outside of the ear. Each rear portion of each earplug has a pair of openings physically displaced from each other and/or angularly displaced from each other. At least a first one of the openings extends within the rear portion. A end portion of the flexible cord material is inserted into the at least first one opening and then the end portion is inserted into the second other opening to have the end portion of the flexible cord material physically displaced and/or angularly displaced along its length to lock the flexible cord material to the rear portion of the earplug.

In the improvement of the present invention, at least one of the openings includes a channel extending outward from the opening to create a slot for receiving the cord. In this way the cord may be pulled through the slot into the at least one opening. The at least one opening is different in cross-section than the cord so that the cord, when pulled through the slot into the opening, is held in the at least one opening by friction.

Because of this technique, the cord itself loops around to produce a very strong attachment to the rear of the earplugs. However, if desired, the technique can be reversed by first removing the end of the cord from the second opening and then pulled through the first opening to detach the cord from the earplug.

The present invention can be used with any type of earplug, such as a molded foam type or an earplug made out of a resilient elastomeric rubber-like material. The cord itself can be made of a braided material similar to a shoelace or from an elastomeric rubber-like material and if made of a braided material similar to a shoelace it may or may not include a stiff end portion common on most shoelaces.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of an earplug that can be removable attached to a cord or used without a cord using a first embodiment of the invention,

FIG. 2 illustrates a front view of the earplug of FIG. 1,

FIG. 3 illustrates a side cross-sectional view of the earplug of FIG. I taken along lines 3-3 of FIG. 1,

FIG. 4 illustrates a cord for producing a corded earplug using a pair of earplugs of FIG. 1,

FIG. 5 illustrates the technique of attaching the cord of FIG. 4 to the earplug of FIG. 1,

FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of a different type of earplug that can be removable attached to a cord or used without a cord using a second embodiment of the invention,

FIG. 6a illustrates a perspective view of an alternative structure for this second embodiment,

FIG. 6a illustrates an alternative structure for this second embodiment. In particular as shown in the perspective view in FIG. 6a, the opening 36 shown in FIG. 6 may be eliminated and replaced by a post 37 extending outward from the handle 34. Further in place of the opening 36, cutout areas 39 may be formed on opposite sides of the handle and with the cutout areas extending from the slot openings 38 to form a pathway for the cord 12 between the slot openings and either looked around the post 37 as shown or just passing over the post. The post 37 may include an enlarged top portion 41 to ensure that the cord 12 is held in position as the cord 12 is pulled into the slot openings 38 to frictionally engage the slot openings 38 in a manner similar to that shown in FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of a different type of earplug that can be removable attached to a cord or used without a cord using a third embodiment of the invention,

FIG. 8 illustrates a perspective view of a different type of earplug that can be removable attached to a cord or used without a cord using a fourth embodiment of the invention, and

FIGS. 9a and 9b illustrate the technique of attaching the cord of FIG. 4 to the earplug of FIG. 8.



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Previous Patent Application:
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Industry Class:
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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120272974 A1
Publish Date
11/01/2012
Document #
13066871
File Date
04/26/2011
USPTO Class
128864
Other USPTO Classes
29428
International Class
/
Drawings
3



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