Today on our blog, we continue our Audiologist Spotlight series by highlighting Luis Camacho, Au.D. Luis joined Starkey in 2000. In his current position as an Education and Training audiologist, he assists with training classes for Starkey staff and customers, development of training materials and overseeing Starkey's online and e-learning initiatives.
What is your background (education, training, etc.)? I graduated from Indiana University with a master's in audiology in 1991. I started my clinical career for a neuro-otology practice in Indianapolis. My duties consisted of clinical testing including ENG/ABR/EcOG/OAE, hearing aid dispensing, marketing and public relations. I fit an average of 30-40 hearing aids per month. A corporate recruiter contacted me about a Starkey sales representative position. I started at Starkey in 2000 as a field sales representative for Indiana. Over the next eight years I covered Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. Six years ago I transferred into the Education and Training Department.
How did you get started in audiology? I got into audiology on a whim. I graduated in 1987 with a BA in audio engineering and radio production. I found it very hard to get work in that field. After a few years working various jobs, my wife decided to go back to school to study speech pathology and English as a second language. During her application process, she suggested I look into audiology. With my audio and acoustic background, audiology seemed like an ideal transition. I applied, got accepted to the program and the rest is history.
What are your main job duties? I am responsible for the management of Starkey's presence on Audiology Online. I schedule all of the online sessions, create and present many of them myself and coordinate with other Starkey staff to help them create and present courses. I travel throughout the country, and sometimes overseas, training hearing professionals to work with Starkey technology and assisting in patient fittings. I also present courses to groups of hearing professionals throughout the U.S. and at Starkey headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minn. As part of Education and Training, I also help test upcoming products and software.
What has been your most memorable moment at Starkey? I am lucky to have memorable experiences regularly at Starkey. I have made some lifelong friends. Of course, these friends include coworkers, but many of my "customers" I consider not just Starkey customers but friends. The Hearing Innovation Expos have been very rewarding and I feel privileged to have been a part of them. The Expo is a lot of work but the result is amazing. Also, I cannot count how many times I have helped fit someone with hearing aids and they hug me afterwards and tell me I have changed their life!
What is the most interesting part of your job? The most interesting part of my work is the ability to travel around the country and meet many different people, both hearing professionals and patients. This makes every day different. Also, my work allows me to work with the latest hearing aid technology before anyone else knows about it. Being a technology geek, I love this part of my job.
How do you address the challenges you face on the job? A challenge of any job is the balance between work and home life. I am blessed with a wonderful family: my wife of 25 years and three children ages 18, 16 and 12. They help ground me and when I need to relax they are always there for me. Another challenge is staying organized. With so many things going on, it can be easy to lose track of everything that needs to be done. Thank goodness for online calendars and iPhones!
What are some of the most exciting hearing technology trends you see on the horizon? Wireless, wireless, wireless! I find the introduction of wireless into hearing aids to be the most exciting technology in my audiology career, and I think this trend will only get more interesting. Use of Apple technology for patient control and the merging of apps with hearing improvement is incredible. Also, with 900 MHz technology, the ability to fit full wireless technology down to a true CIC is exciting. As great as BTEs and RICs are, I think we will see a resurgence of custom devices in the industry because will can build them smaller, more comfortable and with the best wireless technology.
Do you have any advice for students who are interested in getting into the industry? I would recommend that all students in audiology try and experience as many different environments as possible while in school. This will open up many different areas of interest. Also, work with as many different hearing aid manufacturers as possible. During school is the time when you can experiment and see what's out there, different approaches, software, etc. Also, talk to representatives from the hearing aid companies; I never considered working for a manufacturer when I was in school and I am so thankful that the opportunity came about.
What do you like to do outside of work? When not working, I spend as much time with my family as I can. I also enjoy cooking; in fact I cooked the entire Thanksgiving meal this year! I am an amateur bartender and enjoy mixing up new cocktails. I love to travel and have had the pleasure of traveling throughout Europe, Asia, North and South America. Lastly, I am a big fan of European soccer and watch as much as I can.
Anything else to add? I am lucky to be working in an industry that is not only exciting from a technology point of view, but we really help people. Hearing is something most people take for granted, until you can't hear as well as you would like. The work I do with my colleagues, fellow hearing professionals and Starkey really does make a difference.