Hearing instruments today are high performance, complex, sound processors. They have their own embedded software (firmware) which performs the signal processing and steers a lot of functions and features. Hearing instruments are also able to network and communicate with a variety of connectivity devices (wireless programmers, iPhone®, SoundClip-A, etc.). In this blog, I would like to explain why these systems regularly require updates and what update services we are offering from Bernafon to keep systems performing at their best. Also, you will find some useful recommendations for keeping your PC system in shape.
Why do we need updates?
Today’s software world is constantly striving for improvement and it is common best practice to update complex software systems regularly – not only in the hearing instrument business. Updates are necessary to make sure that all components of a digital system (such as our hearing instruments, fitting PC, and accessories) work together safely, are stable, and have the best performance for you as a professional and for your end users.
We develop updates to our system to improve the performance and sometimes to introduce new features or functionality. Sometimes we also deliver updates to keep our system compatible with connected devices, such as smartphones, if their manufacturers decide to release updates which affect their connectivity to our system.
Our customer services all over the world always work on up-to-date PC and programming systems and the products we deliver to you are, at all times, working with the latest updates. If the fitting software on your PC is not updated to these standards, you might not be able to fit a product we delivered to you.
Update Oasisnxt and the hearing instrument firmware regularly.
We are using software updater tools to deliver firmware updates and fitting software through the cloud conveniently and safely, provided that your PC is connected to the internet through a fast and stable connection.
Basically, we are offering two update services from Bernafon: the Firmware Updater and the Oasisnxt Updater. If you have installed Oasisnxt with the standard installation process, these two services are automatically installed and available on your PC.
The Firmware Updater is part of the Oasisnxt flow.
It checks the firmware status of the connected hearing instrument, and notifies the user if an update is available. My colleague Sonja has described the Firmware Updater in her recent blog and explained how it works and how it is used.
The Oasisnxt Updater is found as a small icon, usually under the “hidden icons” tab in the toolbar at the bottom of your Windows screen.
It is automatically started with Windows, and checks for Oasisnxt updates while the PC is connected to the internet. In the updater menu (right click on the icon), you can see a couple of options. For example, you can select the time period in which the system shall check for updates (you can chose daily or weekly). If an update is found, it will be automatically downloaded. This happens in the background, and you do not have to bother about it. When the download is completed, you will be notified in a dialog box and asked to start updating Oasisnxt. You should then have administrator rights on the PC and allow the update to install.
Usually updates are not sent as complete Oasisnxt installations – the updates only replace the parts of Oasisnxt that need to be updated. This keeps the amount of data low and allows for short download times. Therefore, an update via the Oasisnxt Updater is faster than downloading the entire software from the Bernafon website.
We recommend that you don’t disable the updater and allow updates whenever your system offers them. Of course you can postpone an update if you need to, but you should allow it as soon as possible. Please note that after the update, your Oasisnxt will have a different version number in the Help/About dialog box, and it might have a new feature or support new products. You can find information about our updates here or call your local sales rep or Oasis support in your country.
Keep your PC system clean!
Your fitting PC is a professional instrument which, in connection with external devices and software, is used to perform professional healthcare services! Sensitive patient data is stored on it and it runs software modules from various manufacturers on a common Noah (or compatible) office system. All the software installed relies on an updated and well maintained PC system, which must be stable and comply with the system requirements specified and published by the manufacturers. Although these requirements are usually lower than today’s average standard requirements, your fitting PC deserves a bit more care than your PC at home.
Please make sure your Windows system is updated at least to the minimum required for your Noah system and fitting modules. Also, always have the latest service pack installed, if there are any for your version of Windows.
From time to time, HIMSA stops support for their older Noah versions. Usually this is announced by newsletter or by your responsible Noah supplier. Make sure you update your Noah system regularly.
Old stuff works slowly…
Frequently, we are getting complaints about “programming speed” or unstable operation, and sometimes we find old hardware is the reason.
Your PC gets older and our software gets smarter and therefore needs more computing power; that’s the way it is. Think about replacing your hardware from time to time, to always maintain the performance you need and expect. It’s a good investment in your business and saves us all the hassle of unnecessary support cases.
Old HI-PRO/NOAHlink systems are meanwhile replaced by NOAHlink wireless and HI-PRO 2, which are much faster than the old devices. For proper operation of your system, you also should not use hardware which isn’t supported any longer by the manufacturer.
Ideally, from time to time, get your hardware checked and maintained by an IT specialist who is familiar with our business (e.g., your local Noah supplier). It might save you unnecessary support calls.
The performance of your internet connection is important for the length of time needed for an update. Oasisnxt updates are downloaded ”behind the scenes”, while you are working with the PC, so you do not have to wait for an update. Downloads of any marketing material from the Bernafon download site, however, can take more time when acquired through a slow and unstable internet connection. The faster and more stable the internet connection is, the better all your networked services will work and the safer it will be.
Are you in doubt about the safety of your PC and client data? Our updater service is using standard Microsoft cloud services which are certified for data safety. Oasisnxt fulfills all known data safety standards (HIPAA) and is of course HIMSA certified. However, the given safety measures apply, the same as for all internet-connected devices.
Use state-of-the-art virus protection software and keep control of who has access to it, to make sure that no one manipulates it and the data it hosts. If multiple people work with the PC, then one of them should hold the administrator rights.
Do not use your fitting PC for other purposes other than your professional work!
More safety and PC system information can be found in my colleague Peter’s blog about software installation.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your local support team.