Phonak Faces of Audiology: Five minutes with Rachel Bishop, Manager of Custom Products at Phonak HQ
AudiologyOnline: Rachel, through the Faces of Audiology campaign, we have learned that audiology is all about relationships for you. Can you explain this a bit more?
Rachel Bishop, AuD: For me, the meaning in life comes from the relationships we develop with our family and friends. The foundation of these relationships is verbal communication and when a hearing loss exists, verbal communication breaks down and consequently, the relationship suffers. I love helping people hear better and seeing how the improvement in their communication positively impacts their personal relationships.
AudiologyOnline: You are working as the Manager of Custom Products at Phonak HQ. What’s so special about ITE products to you?
Rachel Bishop, AuD: My passion for custom products started when I was still working in clinical practice in the US. I fit more in-the-ear products than average, mostly because my patients used to come in and ask for them. They were looking for something that would help them communicate better, but they were afraid of the stigma associated with wearing a traditional behind-the-ear hearing aid. For me, custom products and those smaller in-the-ear products are the door opener to better communication. People are less afraid of the impact to their personal image, so deeply fitted hearing aids can offer them a nice way to stick their feet in the water and adjust to amplification.
AudiologyOnline: Can you tell us a bit more about your daily work routine and/or a current project that you are working on right now?
Rachel Bishop, AuD: I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you. At the moment, we are working on the next generation of custom products…but shhh don’t tell. In truth, we’re quite busy! In addition to the ongoing innovation projects, I am also currently organizing two clinical studies on future products, creating new custom product training materials and looking after custom product business topics.
AudiologyOnline: Shifting from the product perspective to a broader view of the industry: Which major future trends do you see in audiology?
Rachel Bishop, AuD: I am excited about the combination of connectivity and telemedicine that is picking up speed. When I was in clinical practice, I received requests nearly every week to make a “house call” for a hearing aid adjustment for a patient with limited mobility. There were also patients who decided not to move forward with amplification due to transportation and scheduling challenges. I am curious to see if eAudiology makes any measurable impact on the market penetration rates and also how this new service delivery model will impact our daily work routines. My hope would be that this new accessibility to care will facilitate more people getting help with their hearing loss.
AudiologyOnline: Being familiar with both the clinical and the industry perspective, what do you appreciate working on the manufacturer side?
Rachel Bishop, AuD: The feeling that I have broadened my impact is very rewarding. In the clinic, it’s about helping one patient and their family at a time, whereas in a larger manufacturer setting you feel like you can make a difference for many people at once. Additionally, at HQ we work on projects for months at a time before we release them to the market and see their impact whereas in the clinic you get that immediate gratification that you’ve helped someone on a daily basis. I’ve had to work on my patience and shift from immediate to delayed gratification.
AudiologyOnline: Last but not least a question on culture. When adopting your current role with Phonak, you moved from Texas to the Zurich area. How is working and living in Switzerland?
Rachel Bishop, AuD: This has really been an exciting career move for me! Even though I was born and raised in Texas, my colleagues at Phonak have done a fantastic job helping ease the transition and make me feel at home from the beginning. While the BBQ and Tex-Mex can’t hold a candle to the offering at home, what I love about working in Switzerland is the work/life balance. I work very hard when I’m working, but then I take a break from it and have more leisure time and holidays than in the US. While the working cultures between the US and Europe are different, there is one thing that remains the same: in the end, all we want is to help people hear better.
Learn more about what drives Rachel in her daily work and her current projects: https://audiologyblog.phonakpro.com/faces-of-audiology/rachel-bishop