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;
- 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:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
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.