DIY programming - new to HA

I have otosclorosis, the worse ear has already had a stapectomy. I’m down about 60db in the low-end of the speech range but then get fine (which makes noisy restaurants impossible…)

I’m a geek, comfortable with programming DSPs (I’ve worked in Audio professionally - calibrating rooms). And my wife went to Gallaudet - even took audiology (not deaf - Ph.D. Psych.)

It seems insane to me to have someone else program my hearing aids. I’m thinking of buying used and programming myself.

Which brands have programmers/sw that an end user can get their hands on?
It seems like Phonak, Siemens, Oticon are straightforward - vendors publish sw.
How about Starkey?

There seems to be a steady supply of used digital aids on ebay - I want BTE open fit…And I want used - if I kill it or lose it in 18 months, I’d rather upgrade than feel like I lost something that costs as much as a car…

Comments, Ideas?

www dot hearsource dot com

Welcome –
Do you know what your audiogram looks like? Post it - Aids types differ and recommendations are easier to make if we know what you’re dealing with.

I am not a big fan of buying used anything. You just don’t know the quality of what you are buying. However, based on cost it can and does make a huge difference.

I had Starkey CIC aids - Not a huge fan - I currently have Phonak Ambra’s … I researched for a good year almost before buying. Still paying. I Love them… Still tweaking… While the software from Phonak isn’t the easiest to come across the iCube ($450) is relatively inexpensive compared to the Hi-Pro ($1200). However, the Hi-Pro can be used across many brands (with right cables) and the iCube is wireless which is a plus.

I totally recommend getting the aids fitted properly (regardless) first. This gives you a base line and insures you are set up properly. You should be able to get a trial pair for 30 days or so of different models to see which one you may like best. Different vendors have different sound qualities so what’s good for me, you may hate…

As for adjusting yourself. I am a believer. It’s not for everyone obviously. But sometimes the subtle changes you may want to make on one of your programs is not realistic or affordable to go to the Audiologist.

Ideally, I’d love to write a Droid App that could connect to the iCube and help adjust some of the finer elements for specific environments. The bus. Wind, etc…

Good luck - Keep us posted…

I do need to find an audiologist I can trust…We’ll see.

Found my audiogram…not nearly as most I see here but it’s interfering with my life…


Me, too, and I’ve worked in audio professionally for a long time. I just started programming my own aids and I am utterly delighted with the process and the results!

I bought a used serial Hi-Pro interface on eBay. Look around on the forum for information on these. The serial version is out-of-date (and was thus a lot cheaper than the USB type) but I am having no problems using a USB-to-serial converter.

If you have GN Resound aids, someone on eBay has been selling a few GN “Speedlink” interface boxes, and they’ve been going for around $350-$400, including the cables. If you get this brand of aids, this is a really good deal. Usually the cables cost at least $140 or so a pair.

There’s another long thread in this forum on software. Yes, some manufacturers make their software freely available. For instance, the Resound Aventa software which I’m using is freely available on the GN website.

One caveat is that some of these programs need NOAH – an audiometric and database application, as far as I can tell. This is neither free nor available to the public, although older versions are around on the internets. Some fitting programs, like Aventa, will also run in “standalone” mode, i.e. without NOAH. I’m totally happy with Aventa.

I bought mine on eBay, new, for about 20% of their normal cost. They were obsolete and had been replaced by a new model, but only about 3 weeks previously, so they really were very up-to-date. The transaction was flawless, and the seller provided them with basic programming to my audiogram. But these dealers seem to have vanished from eBay.

And, what’s wrong with used aids, especially if they’re BTE? (Mine are BTE, and they’re so small I don’t notice them. BTE types are also a lot more robust.)

And with respect, I’m not sure I agree wholheartedly with MAJ’s comment on the importance of an initial professional fitting. The software – Aventa, at least – will automatically generate an initial fitting from you audiogram and speech recognition figures. Well, you do need these, and like many things medical, if the professional who does the testing won’t cheerfully give you a copy of the results, one ought, IMO, to be looking for a different professional. Anyway, the automatic fitting was, for me, a very good starting point. There’s nothing wrong with going to an audiologist and simply asking to get your hearing tested.

Generally, I very much agree with you on every point. I am also lucky enough to have found an audiologist who has no problems dealing with somebody who bought their aids on the grey market, and is really intrigued having a patient who programs his own aids. So I can get parts, like ear molds, from her with no problem. I think she realizes how much the vast majority of her patients really need her services, so she’s not threatened by somebody like me.

I’m going to be hard of hearing for the rest of my life (well unless the stem cell thing takes off…) and it makes a lot of sense to me to put time and effort into my own care. It’s also really fun. I mess around with the programming, go out in the world and check it out, and come back and fool around some more. (The programming is easy, although frustrating in some ways if you’ve got a pro audio background. There are lots of special features, for instance, whose functions and parameters aren’t spelled out. So they’re kind of magic, and have magical names, and you just have to figure them out by trial and error.)

And when it comes down to it, from the standpoint of professional audiology, the desired result is that hard of hearing people use, like, trust, and benefit from their hearing aids. Because I’m happy with the programming I’m doing and feel really invested in it, I wear my aids now almost all the time.

You have otosclerosis - a low frequency conductive loss (maybe in just one ear) which simply needs a bit of low-tech power to punch through the blockage.

You also say you want ‘open fit’ … a technology which is was designed for sensorineural (i.e. not a conductive) high frequency loss.

Before spending any money on aids or programming stuff it might be wise to find out what sort of aid model & technology is best suited to your specific hearing loss.

Also Google ‘Upward Spread Of Masking’ … you might find that supplying the required high power lower frequency sounds could disable the high frequency sensors in your ears … not a good result.

When I say initial programming I refer to the whole package.

  • Understanding of your loss.
  • Fitting of molds and or proper open fit (tulip, dome, etc).
  • The finess of tweaking the initial program
  • Years of practice
  • etc, etc, etc...

Hey - the first time I cooked certain meals they didn’t come out how I remembered them at a fancy restaurant… But after a few times I improved. Experience does count - However the final results and the number of potential return visits to the Audiologist is not cost effective for either parties. This is where the self programming has the advantages. I am not trying to save money in that aspect because the cost of the aids covers that. but to PROPERLY adjust up to five different programs (or more) to where you are saying - WOW - These hearing aids are GREAT! Why would anyone NOT get them? PRICELESS!! IMHO

You ask why should professionals oppose self programming.

Think about the economics. If HOH could successfully program their aids and if aids were designed for consumer self-programming and available over the counter, the economics of $6,000 aids would fold.

As more and more people become familiar with electronic devices (like iPhones…computers…etc) they can program their aids using technology that already exists but is not incorporated in the today’s aids.

Naturally, vested interest opposes any change along these lines.

The present industry would shrink to just selling aids to those with severe/profound loss. Ed

Check out america hears, if you want an easy route to self programming and instruments around $1K. I think you will like what you see

You ask why should professionals oppose self programming.

I don’t oppose self programming.

I even opened a web site (the first & only?) in the UK offering self programming kits.

Sadly I had to give up this venture … there was simply not enough demand to make it worthwhile.

So maybe all this fuss about self programming being a key way forward is perhaps rather overstated?

A recent talk with my supportive audiologist definitely reinforces this view. There is clearly a wide range of help she gives people that goes way beyond simply fitting. Like most good health professionals, a lot of her job has to do with psychology – understanding people’s needs and how hearing better can improve their lives, and helping them get accustomed to new and – for many – intrusive therapies.

I don’t think self-programming makes sense for most people. But for some of us it is clearly a therapeutically effective and empowering way for us to be involved.

I have otosclerosis, and use two hearing aids since 2001, I have gone through quite a few hearing aids, I have not had surgery although I am still considering it. My loss is around 50%, a bit less for the left and a bit more for the right.

I am not a professional, but after reading a lot, I can say this:

You do not need a lot of programming and probably a first good shot could do the job. I have bought maybe 5 hearing aids on ebay and mostly they did work, at least one of the programs and very well.

You need gain, more than anything.

I have used the Siemens prisma in the cannal, that was my first choice, but two adis broke within month, from then on I have used BTE, Siemens infinity is good, and also the Intuis is quite good. I have used analog BTE, one starkey and one Belltone, both do the job but they give me headaches when there is too much noise.

I do recommend buying used aids on ebay, it’s not an easy experience but with the feedback system seller do give a good service and refund the money if there is a problem, check the feedback of the seller very well before ordering. I have ordered a pair of mint Triano for a very good price and should receive them soon.

I have not really seen that paying thousand of $ improves the service, and neither that by returning time and time again to an audiologist things change a lot, I read somewhere that each hearing aid is a new experience and a new way of hearing and maybe the idea is that should try to live with them and adapt to the new hearing, that’s what I think. Of course if and when the aids solve most of your problems when you start using them

How or who is changing the programming of the HA for you? Are you into programming the HA yourself? Just curious because from your post it almost sounds as if your’e using the HA you get on Ebay without reprogramming them.

dear sir its good that you have some technical knowledge reg the hearing aid programming,for self programming we need interface like HYPRO,NOHALINK or some copnays have theier own unterface like gnresound has SPEEDLINK and Starkey has Speedport all these have wire fitting only.if you need wireless programming then you have to buy RESOUND AIRLINK which is totally wireless programming but for only wireless hearing aids like ALERA ric ,bte Models only.but if you want used ones i dont think you want find in any websites ,some friends may mail u if u have requested the forum,hope some body may help you,
best regards
Ravi kiran

Hi, does any one know where to purchase a self programming aid in the UK? Particularly the resound airlink and the alera aid. This sounds like just what I’m after. Many thanks

I do think that if the audiologist would get their patients more involved there would be much less interest in self programming. My first and only experiance went link this " here are your aids they are already programmed. This is how you put them in and take them out. Here is how to replace the battery. Stop by the desk on you way out and make a appointment for a week from now." Only one program setting was set up. I had no idea if any other setting were turned on or off.

Won’t happen again as I now have a Airlink to see what is going on.

You don’t need NOAHLINK!!