Mark Ward (markward) wrote in hearingaidhacks,
Mark Ward

How have you hacked a hearing aid?

Hello all and apologies if I'm barging in slightly.
I'm a BBC journalist writing about the work folks are doing to hack hearing aids. I've chatted to Helga (hello!) and some other folks who are on this list and got lots of help with my story. Thanks to everyone who has let me ask daft questions about what they are doing.
I'm posting this message to find out what else folks have done to hack hearing aids and how they have got on. Is it about solving specific problems (such as connecting to Bluetooth headsets) or a more general dis-satisfaction with the help a hearing aid can give? Thanks to Helga and others I'm getting the sense that people are generally unhappy with their hearing aids and it can take a long time for them to be tuned/tailored and customised to improve hearing or cope with a specific hearing impairment.
I'm keen to find out what folks have discovered about how hearing aids work, what they have built to make things better and the success they have had.
I can be reached via the discussion board, PM or on
I'm new to Livejournal so can only apologise again if I've outraged etiquette by posting this.
Many thanks
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Welcome to the group. I'd love to see your article, when you are finished. Please do post a link.
I second that. Would like to read it when it's done.
I would not agree on the statement of being disappointed about the fitting process or my HAs in general. Disappointed is not the right word. Its more that I want to get the most out of them. And for me, its a huge help to get the sound from the TV/computer/music feed directly into my HAs. That means I can relax watching most shows on TV or listening to radio. Without it, its a burden and not a relax. (but I also enjoy the increased number of TV shows in Sweden that recently got a sign language version on the on-demand site so I get also that option)

However, if I go to the place where they dispense hearing aids in Sweden (which hugely differs between the different counties btw), they tend to only know how to fit hearing aids. They barely know about FM systems and other additional devices that can be critical in some situations. Usually they know about FM systems and of course the T-loop, but they rarely know how a FM shoe interacts with the hearing aids that they fit. There is also other instances of the public health care where they deal with additional asistive listening devices like eg. FM, but they are separate and don't really work together. So if you want to guarantee that you can use the DAI port and/or FM as you wish, you have to look that up yourself.

Thus this community is a good alternative source of information that allows getting into detail technical level.

For the record even if I know lots of hard of hearing or deaf people IRL, still this community has its place for getting into nerdy stuff and also providing an international perspective. :-) (lthough I get the feeling that most people here is from the US or UK and only a few from other countries)

What you are asking about has already been commercially made available from a company in the U.S. called They have a full line of hearing aids that allow the user / wearer to do all the sound adjustments themselves with their own home P.C. The software has not been dummied down and is full featured. This type of product isn't for everybody as it does require a basic knowledge of computer competency. But to most on this furum it would be simple to use.
Hi u s chuck:

I have looked at the Hearsource site. Until they come up with bluetooth (which I use every day listening to podcasts, music and take phone calls ) AND they have an aid that brags of binaural algorithms - I won't be a customer. Much as I would like to be. Or did I miss that in one of their web site's pages?
I'm not disappointed with my hearing aids, and indeed, they have come a long way since my grandfather wore them when I was a child, to the amazing digital devices I wear today. In that vein, though, I would say what is somewhat frustrating is that hearing aid companies seem to have only realized in the last few years that their markets are not solely senior citizens. This means that younger people (I'm in my late 30s) who wear HAs today want full on connection to all the technology they use - phones, ipods, computers, cars - and that isn't quite available to us today, despite living in a rapidly evolving technological culture; hearing aid manufacturers haven't quite caught up with us yet. It's coming, but it's not coming fast enough. There are some devices that will do some of what we need.. but there should be so much more that does so much more.

I've actually been having a successful conversation with Phonak over this very issue with one of their HA -> Bluetooth peripherals on Facebook this week and it's been heartening; even if things don't entirely work the way I would like them to yet, they are actually listening to my request and talking to me about what I need. It's a start!

No etiquette breach here as far as I can see; your request was polite and you left contact info. Ask away, I say. Good luck with your article and let us know when it's up!


August 23 2012, 19:36:18 UTC 4 years ago

I've worked developing hearing aid software for a while and all I can say is Good Luck. Of course I can't go into any detail but I don't think that very many people understand the complexity of a modern digital aid and every manufacturer has their own propritary design. Some buy a chip off the shelf and customize it considerably. Communicating with the hearing instrument to control the micro code running on the instrument would be almost impossible unless you know a whole lot about the DSP design and the algorithms that produce different effects.
I don't know where else to post this info: I suspect my bluetooth streamer for my Oticon Epoqs is getting hacked by my Droid4 Motorola smart phone.


Because it is acting wrong. Sometimes I look down at the device and the phone button is lit up. It is ONLY supposed to look like that when I am having a phone conversation. What the heck? Is my microphone on and someone is listening thru my device?

Also, the buttons are NOT supposed to work when the top switch is OFF. The Droid4 (my old phone didn't do this and STILL doesn't do this) makes it so the volume buttons keep working even when it is shut off.

I know. I could be paranoid and it is just incompatibility issues. Maybe I have watched too many "Person of Interest" TV shows.