Evolution of the Hearing Aid Programming Device

Serial Hi-Pro:
Once upon a time there was an ancient/wired programming device called a serial Hi-Pro. It had a separate power cord and a serial cable for data communications. Few ppl still use this old obsolete device (look at the back end). Please don’t bother with this device. Sorry serial-fan-boys, it’s too old;

c3
image

USB Hi-Pro:
Ah progress; The serial cable/separate power cord was replaced by a single USB cable, much easier to use!

c3
c2a

Chinese counterfeit USB Hi-Pro:
The supply-chain counterfeiters in China brought this device to the masses. It looked the same as the real McCoy/USB Hi-Pro. I think this is a picture of one;

c2

NOAHlink:
Lets do away with the hearing aid wearer being tethered to a computer by long cables. NOAHlink uses Bluetooth wireless to connect from the PC to NOAHlink and uses special short versions of programming cables to connect to the hearing aids. This allowed your Hearing Aid wearers to not be tethered by cables attached to your computer. OMG, what a frigging nightmare. It quickly became obsolete. Try to be careful with names of programming devices otherwise newbies may end up buying this old junk on EBay.

c3

Whoops, Hold Everything:
GN ReSound put the kibosh on Chinese Counterfeits!! What followed was a persistent takedown of these products from EBay, AliExpress, and other trading platforms for Trademark Infringement involved with use of the name Hi-Pro. This was not an easy (or cheap) endeavor! Each individual listing had to be reported to the platform on which it was posted so that the platform could delete the listing. If you were fast and you offered a great price, then you could list and sell quickly before the minions could complete their flagging procedure. :wink: Around this same time period, a paid/professional shill showed up here in these forums (before the forums were migrated to this current form). He/she was on my case like a chicken on a bug. Check out some of the posts directed against me at that time.

c1

Mini Pro:
Not to be suppressed, the supply-chain counterfeiters in China manufactured a new device (the mini Pro). I am assuming this was to to get around GN ReSound’s Trademark infringement takedown. It works same as a USB Hi-Pro. Currently/2020; these next two devices (mini Pro and Counterfeit USB Hi-Pro) is your wired programming device sweet spot for price/performance.
c5b

Modified versions of the Counterfeit USB Hi-Pro reappear:
The other/older Chinese Counterfeit USB Hi-Pros reappeared on EBay with the HI-Pro words on the front blacked out (or whited out). Noteworthy is they could not call it a Hi-Pro at the time so they named it mini Pro or some other Hearing Aid Programmer name. Currently/2020; this Counterfeit USB Hi-Pro and the previous mini Pro device is your wired programming device sweet spot for price/performance.

c6a

Hi-Pro2:
The black Hi-Pro2 is faster/USB 3. But the speed has dependencies on your fitting software to optimize that speed. Very expensive. Meh?

c1

Proprietary Wireless Programming Devices:
Wireless, let’s get rid of cables entirely, Yay! Well not so fast… There was no single wireless protocol. So each manufacturer designed their own proprietary Wireless Programming Device. Proprietary meaning it worked only for that manufacturer’s hearing aids/fitting software and no other hearing aids/fitting software. OMG: What a Zoo! Phonak had iCube, Oticon had FittingLink, Gn RESound had AirLink, etc, etc. You had to wear the wireless device around your neck. Worse yet, the initial wireless devices were replaced by newer/better/faster versions (iCube vs iCube II seems to be most talked about versions). Phonak’s iCube was bricking some hearing aids until they added a factory reset to the fitting software. Also some manufacturers/Oticon still requires a wired programming device for Hearing Aid Firmware updates, so there’s that. Here’s a couple of images from Phonak and Oticon as examples;

c4
c3

Standardized Wireless Programming Device:
GN ReSound’s AirLink 2, aka Noahlink Wireless was selected as a standard wireless programming device. Don’t ask whether to use Airlink 2 or Noahlink Wireless. You can use both, or either. They are the same device, that is, a readily available firmware update will cause a proprietary Airlink 2 device to become an industry standard Noahlink Wireless device. You use a USB cable to connect Noahlink Wireless to your PC and set it on your desktop. Nothing to wear around your neck.

How To Choose:
So how do you choose a programming device for your hearing aids? READ!! The manufacturer will have documentation stating which programming device/s will work for a specific model hearing aid. Find it. Read it. Heed It. Don’t assume that a newer fitting device is better. For Example, Noahlink Wireless is a new programming device that is based on new technology, namely Bluetooth Low Energy ( BLE ) so you can’t expect it to work for older hearing aids.

FAQs/Frequently Asked questions:

  1. Do I need a Hearing Aid Programming Device to Program my hearing aids? Yes you do. There is no other method to DIY program your hearing aids.
  2. Can I connect my Bluetooth Wireless hearing aids directly to my computer/PC/SmartPhone without using a Hearing Aid Programming Device? Yes, but only for simple things like volume up/down or similar. You cannot change the settings that match your hearing loss and you cannot apply hearing aid firmware updates.
  3. Can I use the Remote Fitting options that my audiologist uses to create new settings that can then be applied to my hearing aids using a smartphone App? No, you cannot use this feature. It requires an account with the manufacturer in order to enable remote features such as cloud storage, etc.
2 Likes

Why do you turn a good informative thread into a pot stirring problem? You can say things without being hateful.

My opinion on recommending a Serial Hi Pro to newbies has always been the same and has never wavered! Don’t do it! You may be unnecessarily saddling some hapless newbie with unnecessary cable conversion problems, because it is likely that the serial Hi-Pro will be sold without the necessary serial-to-USB converter. Obtaining the correct adapters/cables is not a straight-forward endeavor.

Serial Hi-Pros used to be cheaper when many audiologists were upgrading to USB Hi-Pros. I don’t see that big of a price savings in today’s market. So why set yourself up for unnecessary problems. Just get a USB device instead. It’s much simpler.

Look at this picture; Go read this thread. There are many other similar threads/horror stories. You can run your own obsolete old-junk Serial Hi-Pro if you want. Just don’t recommend it to newbies because it is terrible advice. I don’t consider this Hateful! I consider it the opposite of terrible advice.

2 Likes

I added a new section (FAQs/Frequently Asked questions) to the OP/Original Post and did some cleanup/image improvement.

Great read. As a newbie I’m still a little confused. You suggest Noahlink Wireless but it appears to me for Phonak Audeo V90 I can use icube ii which is less expensive?

As PVC states, you cannot expect the Noahlink to program your older V90 models, so yes you need to use the iCube ll for the Venture platform.

Until recently the manufacturer’s Remote Apps were limited to simple things like volume up/down sliders or similar. That may be changing?? See this discussion about Remote Apps performing firmware updates.

Or the HiPro and cables.
I have used both the iCubes and the HiPro. I actually like the HiPro better. Much more versatile.

OK, so newbie question here. I have a pair of Phonak Audeo M30-13T.

So to program these myself I would need the Airlink 2 AKA Noah Wireless? I think this is the case, just making sure.

Next option is to try and find some in Australia, the listings seem to be in the US, exchange rate and shipping… grrrr

So as an example, this would be what I’m after?

1 Like

The GN Resound Airlink 2 and the Noahlink Wireless are one in the same.

Yes that is correct for Wireless Programming. Though you should attemp to avoid name confusion by using the correct device name, (Noahlink Wireless).

Also, some Phonak Marvel models can be programmed with a wired programming device, namely the Hi Pro or mini Pro plus cs44a cables. Your model (Audéo M-13T) should have a (tiny-tiny) four-pin male connection usually hidden in the battery compartment or underneath a surprise flip-up panel on the hearing aid. I don’t know the location because I don’t have any Phonak Marvels to look at.

Thanks for the reply, and yes, costly mistakes can be made with such simple errors.

Thanks again :+1: