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Thread: mini Pro/Hi Pro/cables/etc VS convenient Wireless Programming Device

  1. Default mini Pro/Hi Pro/cables/etc VS convenient Wireless Programming Device

    As hearing aids/HAs become more complicated there are two trends that make me go Hmmmmm. One trend is the move to those convenient wireless programming devices instead of using a mini pro/Hi Pro/cables/etc. The other trend is the need for firmware updates for the more-complicated HA firmware.

    Okay, hereís the dealioÖ

    In the past is was an easy decision for me to recommend a mini pro/Hi Pro with cables etc for self programming your hearing aids/HAs. Today, that decision is not so easy because Wireless Programming Devices, letís call them WPDs (such as multiple versions of FittingLINK, iCube, ConnexxLink, Airlink, SurfLink, USB LINK) are becoming very convenient to use. Buy just one item (a WPD) and you are ready to program your wireless HAs using the fitting software.

    There are some downsides with wireless programming devices:
    1) WPDs are limited to a single platform from a single manufacturer (evidenced by multiple versions of each manufacturer's WPD). Thus, WPDs will become obsolete when a manufacturer designs a newer platform of HAs. Note that even though the newer WPDs claim to be backwards compatible with older wireless HAs, you will likely get best results by sticking with the WPD that is designed for your HA platform.
    2) Most WPDs donít seem to be capable of updating the HA Firmware. You will need mini Pro/Hi Pro/cables/etc for that. Or specifically for Oticon manufactured instruments, the Sonic ExpressLink Programmer.

    There are also downsides with mini Pro/Hi Pro/cables/etc:
    1) For older/legacy HAs, the Cables/FlexStrips/Programming-Pills/Boots are difficult to determine what is needed for your specific older/legacy HAs. Even after you determine what is needed, some items (such as boots) are still difficult to obtain.
    2) Tinkering with the fitting settings while your HAs are in your ears with FlexStrips and cables dangling out of your ears is a cumbersome setup, and sometimes a FlexStrip may get tugged-on hard enough to temporarily break the connection.

    So my new recommendation is to get whatever works best for your situation. Hereís some guidelines grouped into what kind of self-programmer you are:

    Fully independent self-programmer for all model HAs:
    You want to program all (or most) models of HAs (both new HAs and legacy HAs) and you are not paying fees to an Audiologist for support. It should be clear to you that you will want to use mini Pro/Hi Pro/cables/etc in order to gain the ability for programming a large variety of HAs.

    Fully independent self-programmer (only one model HA):
    Maybe you bought HAs online and you donít have Audiologist support. Be careful about firmware updates. If you choose a WPD and then you need a firmware update to fix a glitch with your iPhone connection (or whatever) then you may be stuck. Here's a link to >>Oticon Firmware Updater<<. It has a warning that says "Note that updated instruments will be returned to factory settings". Therefore, if a self programmer using Fittinglink only (no mini Pro/Hi Pro) has to take his/her hearing aids to an Audiologist for firmware updates then the Audi would have to save the current programming first, apply the firmware updates, and then re-apply the original programming. Your Audi is not likely to be doing that for free unless you purchased your hearing aids from that Audi.

    Semi independent self-adjuster:
    Maybe you bought new model wireless HAs from an Audiologist and you also want the ability to adjust these HAs yourself. You still have support from your Audiologist so firmware updates, if any, may not be a problem to be concerned about. Maybe a WPS would work best for this situation for a single model HA.

    Legacy HA self-programmer:
    Hmmmmm; I would say either method would work well for older legacy HAs. Look at all the legacy iCubes (currently replaced by the iCube II) that are currently for sale cheap on Ebay. Maybe you could snag one of those for programming your legacy model wireless Phonak.

    Wild Card = Wireless-Only-Hearing-Aids: These have no cable connections whatsoever. You cannot program them with a mini Pro/Hi Pro because there is no cable connection built into the HA. A manufacturer may have special parts, such as a replacement battery door with a cable connection. But this special part may not be available to you. I think we will have to wait-and-see how this works??

    Firmware Update Necessity? Devices (including hearing aid devices) tend not to need firmware updates after the device becomes mature. So if you are not on the leading/bleeding edge of new technology then maybe you can do without firmware updates. Note that Firmware updates are destructive and you will need to save your current programming first, and restore the programming after the Firmware updates.

    So you choose your own poison. Remember, itís an easy choice for an Audiologist to use both methods. But most self-programmers will want to choose one method or the other (wired vs wireless) programming.

    WAIT!!!
    Before you buy a specific manufacturerís wireless programming device you may want to consider getting the new industry-standard programming device for Bluetooth low energy (BLE) enabled hearing instruments. Namely, >>Noahlink Wireless<< or ReSound's >>Airlink 2<<, (same device). 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. Note that this is new and not all manufacturers support this standard yet. Note that Airlink 2/NoahLink Wireless will not work for legacy hearing aids. Only for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) enabled hearing instruments. In other words, it will only work with the newer hearing instruments. Note that this is not likely to provide you with the capability to update your hearing instrument Firmware. You will need mini Pro/Hi Pro/cables/etc for that.

    Last edited by pvc; Today at 05:23 AM.
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    Note that I intend to update the Original Post/OP as the environment changes.
    Last edited by pvc; 07-17-2017 at 11:26 AM.
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    Thank you for sharing

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    That's a nice analysis. By the time I bought a Hipro and got the cables and adapters needed to connect my hearing aids, it would have cost more than the wireless programmer. Yeah, I'm locked in to that one brand for a while, but who knows what the technology will be by the time I am replacing the current set.
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    Resound Linx 3D 9 (June 2017)
    Airllink2 Programmer/Smart Fit Software
    Multimic
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    Some think we will standardize wireless programmers under one standard, >>Noahlink Wireless<<

    But there are some loose ends, such as Oticon OPN FirmWare updates being done only with a wired programming device.
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    The Noahlink s what I have (well Resound calls it an Airlink2i. It's really just a BLE box as far as I can tell.
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    iPhone 6

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    Quote Originally Posted by rnatalie View Post
    The Noahlink s what I have (well Resound calls it an Airlink2i. It's really just a BLE box as far as I can tell.
    I think you mean that you have this NoahLink (see picture below).
    Which is quite different from the not-yet-released >>Noahlink Wireless<<.

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    Nope it looks just like the one in your article other than it says "Airlink 2" on it rather than "NoahLink." My audi has the same unit. My understanding is that these are the same unit one with GN's branding and one with HIMSA's. Don't know who really makes the device (mine has nothing but GN markings on the bottom).



    Phoneclip next to it for size. I got it off eBay from the UK for 200 pounds plus another 40 to have it shipped DHL to the US (About $315 total in US money).
    Last edited by rnatalie; 07-16-2017 at 06:27 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rnatalie View Post
    Nope it looks just like the one in your article other than it says "Airlink 2" on it rather than "NoahLink." My audi has the same unit. My understanding is that these are the same unit one with GN's branding and one with HIMSA's. Don't know who really makes the device (mine has nothing but GN markings on the bottom).



    Phoneclip next to it for size. I got it off eBay from the UK for 200 pounds plus another 40 to have it shipped DHL to the US (About $315 total in US money).
    Yep, that's the same device (see picture below).

    NoahLink Wireless Website says, Companies Supporting Noahlink Wireless
    Beltone Available
    Oticon Under Development
    Phonak Under Development
    ReSound Available
    Sivantos Available
    Starkey Under Development
    Unitron Under Development
    Widex Under Development

    Last edited by pvc; 07-16-2017 at 09:28 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pvc View Post
    Some think we will standardize wireless programmers under one standard, >>Noahlink Wireless<<

    But there are some loose ends, such as Oticon OPN FirmWare updates being done only with a wired programming device.
    Dang!! I guess the standard wireless programming device is finally here! Or at least the early stages of roll-out.

    But, will this make wired programming devices (mini Pro/Hi Pro) obsolete? What will Oticon do about Firmware updates? Currently Oticon OPN Firmware updates require a wired programming device (mini Pro/Hi Pro,ExpressLink 3). What will they do about Firmware updates?

    It's akin to rewriting you brain while your brain is communicating wirelessly about what to write on itself.
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