DIY - How to choose a programming device

Below is a copy-paste of some archive material about how to choose a programming device, and cables if necessary. The original posts are gone now but you can view one of the original threads here How to choose a programming device to Program Your Hearing Aids [DIY]

You will need a programming device, Wireless or Cabled ( or maybe even both) to connect your hearing aids to the fitting software in order to make programming changes and/or hearing aid firmware updates.

Cliff Note (short-version) for choosing a Programming Device:
You can use the favorite wireless fitting device (Noahlink Wireless) but only for latest Bluetooth Low Energy/BLE enabled hearing aids , with these exceptions;

  1. Noahlink Wireless ( plus mini Pro/Hi Pro for firmware updates for Oticon * Maybe Noahlink Wireless for Signia Nx See this thread. * Manufacturer-specific/proprietary wireless programming device for Widex

Wireless Programming Devices:
Take note of these two current industry trends:

  1. Cabled programming devices are being replaced by Wireless programming devices. * Most manufacturer-specific/proprietary wireless programming devices (let’s call them MS-WPDs) are being abandoned in favor of the industry standard Noahlink Wireless or ReSound’s Airlink 2, (same device). That is, except for Widex which has shunned Noahlink Wireless (however, Widex has recently merged so that may change)?

Choosing a wireless programming device is made less simple because there are two general types of wireless protocol; (Latest Bluetooth Low Energy/BLE enabled hearing aids) and (Earlier hearing aid models that are non-BLE). Those earlier models use manufacturer-specific/proprietary wireless protocols, so you would need a different device for each manufacturer if you choose to program them wirelessly.

These are your choices for Wireless Programming Devices with Noahlink Wireless being the preferred/recommended device (but only for the latest BLE enabled hearing aids).

  1. Noahlink Wireless for later/BLE enabled * Latest version MS-WPD for later/BLE enanled * Earlier version MS-WPD for earlier non-BLE

If you do choose wireless, then guard against bricking your hearing aids by using ( New Batteries ) in your hearing aids before programming, and especially before applying Firmware updates to your hearing aids. If you are bucking to get a MS-WPD then be careful because you may need different devices, one model for later BLE enabled hearing aids and maybe a different model for earlier nonBLE enabled hearing aids. Some/most/all? claim backwards compatibility. But for sure, there is no MS-WPD forward compatibility from non-BLE to BLE enabled.

Cabled Programming Devices:
These are your choices for Cabled Programming Devices. The first two run about the same speed and are recommended.

  1. USB mini Pro (USB 2.0) * USB Hi-Pro 1 (USB 1.1) real and counterfeits * USB Hi-Pro 2 (USB 2.0) 3x-5x faster, But too expensive!! * Serial Hi-Pro/ It has some extra hand-holding needed but it works perfectly fine. Uses old serial cable, separate power cord, and USB-Serial adapter. * Manufacturer-specific/proprietary cabled programming device (we’re talking cabled, not wireless, these were used as a substitute for mini Pro/Hi Pro)

Issues to consider:

  • Noahlink Wireless does not work for all hearing aids. It only works for BLE enabled hearing aids. Also, Widex is restricted to using their own MS-WPD. * Some latest hearing aids are wireless programming only. They don’t have cable connections. * Some cable connectors/adapters ( or more specifically boots/shoes ) are not readily available for some older/legacy hearing aids. * Wireless programming devices that are manufacturer-specific/proprietary devices (MS-WPDs) will work only for that manufacturer’s hearing aids and they may also require a new wireless programming device for each new platform/chip. * Some wireless programming devices cannot be used to update the hearing aid firmware. You will need a wired programming device to update the hearing aid firmware. Or maybe your Audi can apply firmware updates for you if you have a working relationship with your Audi.

More about Noahlink Wireless:
Many choose the industry-standard wireless programming device for Bluetooth low energy (BLE) enabled hearing instruments. Namely, Noahlink Wireless or ReSound’s Airlink 2, (same device).

Only GN Resound/Beltone is backwardly compatible for their entire range of wireless hearing aids. Aside from GN Resound/Beltone, NoahLink Wireless only works for the new Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) enabled hearing instruments .

Note that you will need to update your Airlink 2 Firmware in order to make it compatible with (some/other/not-ReSound brands) of hearing aids. Scroll down to the bottom of this Airlink 2 link to find the Firmware updater. ReSound’s SmartFit software can also be used to update the Airlink 2 Firmware.

How to Buy Programming cables, Flex Strips, Programming Pills

Here’s three quick links for buying cables/flex strips/pills from The Hearing Club in case you want to skip the more detailed description below. You should also check EBay.

  1. Buy CS44 Programming Cables
  2. Buy CS53 Flex Strips
  3. Buy Programming Pill Adapters

There are three main types of programming cables (CS44, CS44a-Phonak/Unitron, and Starkey-Purple/Straight). Here’s a detailed Description of three types of Programming Cables . For custom/CIC hearing aids you may have to use something like these Phonak Custom Cables maybe found on EBay.

Detailed Description of where to buy CS44 Programming Cables: You can Buy CS44 Programming Cables (left and right) from The Hearing Club. Note that CS44 cables will not work for Phonak/Unitron HAs. Scroll down to the Phonak/Unitron section below.

Detailed Description of where to buy CS53 Flex Strips: You can Buy CS53 Flex Strips from The Hearing Club. <-Caution, that link shows Programming Pills (big picture) and Flex Strips (small picture). You need to differentiate between the two. Also note that CS53 Flex Strips have 3-conductors. Don’t mistake flex strips for the mini flexconnect with the little tiny thin neck used for Alta ITC ITE.

Detailed Description of where to buy Programming Pill Adapters: Same Hearing Club link as above you can Buy Programming Pill Adapters . Programming Pills come in battery size 312 or 13. Here’s an example of How to use Programming Adapter/Pill .

CS44a Phonak/Unitron Cables : Phonak and Unitron use different cables (CS44a, not the standard CS44 cables) because Phonak has pins 3&4 switched for some obscure reason. Also their cable guide is not as readily available as some other brands. We don’t have a specific source for Phonak cables. You might try Online Sellers here in this Online Sellers category or try EBay. Tip: Use the Phonak Target Fitting Software/Help/Cable overview as your cable guide. If you can’t find a CS44a cable you could use a standard CS44 cable together with a DIY Converter . Also, note that Phonak documentation may say “CS44 - (Phonak version)” which is just Phonak’s way of saying CS44a cables with pins 3&4 reversed.

Starkey Purple/Straight Cables : Starkey recommends using their Starkey Purple/Straight Cable and maybe a Boot or Flex Strip, which is not the same as the Flex Strips described above. It’s a short orange thingy with four conductors. For Starkey, try EBay. Legacy Boot/Shoe connectors: Good luck, try EBay.

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Thanks to PVC for all the hard work and intelligence that he put in to creating all the great stuff that he did and thanks to you for resurrecting the stuff as much as possible so that still others can benefit and hopefully gratefully remember PVC’s extraordinary contribution.


I too want to throw in my thanks to PVC. His help and the DYI threads allowed me to find the right programming equipment and software. I would never have been able to get my OPN1’s dialed in so well without them.

His dedication and effort to updating and maintaining the DYI threads was time consuming and constant work for him. It’s too bad he left and the trolls that dogged him are still here.


I think the statement that “the trolls that dogged him…” does not show a close reading of the “issues” that caused PVC to leave. Just as in any human endeavor, after the fact it will be hard for others to discern the “truth” behind anything. Having deleted posts myself on this forum, it’s a bit silly for me to comment on the situation but if one says something and then later deletes various posts, it’s also a bit hard for most people, unless they were following something carefully from the beginning to figure out what actually went on. That’s the sort of situation that pertains here.

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I will also express great gratitude to him for what all he did around here.
“Trolls” were his term for anyone who expressed any dissenting opinion from him. Not really the proper internet definition. But whatever.

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I have used the term Troll twice in a decade (and not even for Doc Jake) so I don’t take the term Internet troll (or its definition) lightly.

Bye again.

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I easily imagined that my saying anything would draw you back.
Welcome back. We’ve all missed you. Not your attitude…your great information.

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I don’t think he was referring to you as the troll.

I just about think you walk on water on this forum other than the foul language. No excuse for that from someone as bright as you are.

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HI. I can’t connect my Serial HI-pro to my PC. Tell me what cable is needed and PC settings? Maybe you need a special driver? Does the original Hi-Pro serial cable differ from a regular rs-232 cable?

Try reading through this thread: Hi Pro Communication Problem

Good old thread MDB linked.
I checked my Belkin serial/USB adapter. It’s a model F5U109. They are available on eBay.

Be sure and do all updates after hooking the adapter to to your PC. That will update drivers and HiPro if needed.

Hi Mike, I just got my OPN S 1 and gonna try some adjustments I need a wired cable for Firmware update and a wireless device for software.
The page here in the forum for OPN usb cable (salme as alta i thik) is without pictures (not on server anymore) and no info.
The wireless device (noah for ex) and the software that is gennie, is that right?

It’s been awhile since I purchased my equipment for programming. Here is a link to the “How to Buy a Mini Pro” thread. You should be able to find the information you’re looking for there.

This thread has a picture of the flex strips needed for the opn1.

Great to see that you’ve made it through the coronavirus pandemic so far, especially being in the Bay Area, which has been one of the nation’s hot spots. Hope things are drastically improving out your way. Good Luck!

I plan to get the serial hi-pro, but it doesn’t comes with the old serial cable.
FYI, I been searching about this, but I haven’t found anyone confirming that the “ USB to Serial RS232 Adapter - DB9 Serial DCE Adapter Cable with FTDI – Null Modem - USB 1.1 / 2.0 – Bus-Powered (ICUSB232FTN)” actually worked.
Have anyone found the serial to usb that works without the original serial cable?
Or other ways you have found to make it work without the original serial cable.

I wouldn’t recommend this, if you want to program without any hassles just get the USB HiPro or the MiniPro USB 2.0.

What is the exact model of HA that you want to program?