Programming Your Hearing Aids - Tools
To program a hearing aid, you would need to connect your hearing aid to a hearing aid programmer via a programming cable and then to a PC using an USB or serial cable. Then install the appropriate software and driver to interface with the hearing aid. The process of installation and tuning is not complicate. Some manufacturers have made the tools available to their customers; otherwise some effort is required to find these tools.
Hearing aid programmer. The USB Hi-PRO from GN Otometrics is the most commonly used programmer used by hearing care professionals. HI-PRO is de facto industry standard for hearing instrument programming and is supported by all major hearing instrument manufacturers. HI-PRO hearing aid programmer has a universal hardware interface for programming both digital and analog hearing aids. Some programmers are designed for certain hearing aids only, e.g. iCube is for Phonak hearing aids only and NS-PRO is for NewSound hearing aids. Some companies only sell the programmers to hearing aid professionals only.
Fitting software and driver. The best place to obtain the software is directly from your hearing aid manufacturer; however not all of them are nice enough to make the software available to their customers. We play with a couple fitting software and they are all easy to use. After watching the introductory videos, we were able to do some basic tuning within 15 minutes.
Juergen in hearingaidforums.com has published a list of links to various fitting software and we reproduced the list here for your convenience.
- Himsa Update NoahLink
- Widex compass
- Phonak IPFG 2.6
- Resound aventa
- Oticon otiset
- Oticon Genie 2009.1 with SP1 (password needed)
Note: We have problems accessing some of these links and we are not sure if the problem is temporary or not. Starting 2010, hearing instrument fitting software is registered as a medical device. Therefore, software downloads are much harder to obtain.
Programming cable. This is the cable connecting your hearing aid to the programmer. Hi-Pro cables use CS43, CS44 and CS45. CS44 is the most commonly used. CS44A, used by Phonak, is really a variation of CS44 (pin 3 & 4 are reversed). One end of the CS44 cable is a standard mini-DIN connector and you can build a CS44/CS44A adapter simply by using a Mini-DIN 6-pin extension cable (PC keyboard cable extension). See this posting for more details.
Some hearing aids have their own programming cables; consult your manufacturer before getting one.