A WINSFORD audiologist is transforming the lives of patients with hearing problems.

Mum-of-three Wendy Pilkington says people with blocked ears can feel very lonely and isolated.

After working as an NHS audiologist for 17 years, she retired last Christmas and opened her own business at her home in Winsford.

Cheshire Ear Wax Removal has been treating patients since March, 2019, and is remaining open throughout the current lockdown.

"I closed during the last lockdown and there were a lot of desperate people," said Wendy. "If you can't hear properly it can be very isolating. People tend to stop socialising and going out for meals because they can't join in.

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"They take themselves away from situations and this makes them become even more isolated.

"Mask wearing is affecting a lot of patients with hearing loss because they lip read. It is very difficult for them to communicate."

People of all ages can suffer from blocked ears.

Wendy said: "I have seen little ones aged six and seven and teenagers as they tend to wear a lot of ear plugs to listen to music and this can cause wax to build up pushing it into the ear.

"I see people in their 40s and 50s and the elderly. I've seen policemen who wear things in their ears all day to communicate, a vast range of people. It is an individual thing. Some people never suffer from it yet it is common in others."

Patients with dementia can struggle and their mental health can deteriorate, she said, if they develop hearing problems.

"One man said after I had done his dad's ears that he was a different person on the drive home," said Wendy, who has four grandchildren. "He was so relieved that he could hear again."

This ear specialist has amassed a wealth of skills, knowledge and expertise during her career.

"I used to do tinnitus counselling and run medication classes," said Wendy. "I used to fit hearing aids, work in diagnostics and all sorts of stuff.

"I now use microsuction which is a kinder and gentler way of removing wax as there is no water involved. This means there is no pressure applied to the eardrum from a jet of water as there is with syringing.

"You just need to apply some olive oil or almond oil to the ears for a couple of days and we are good to go."

Every effort has been made to ensure the clinic is Covid safe.

"I am very conscious about my patients' safety at these difficult times," said Wendy. "I wear PPE and I ask patients to wear a mask. The room is sanitised between each patient. All my equipment is single use. I take everyone's temperature before we begin and there is plenty of hand sanitiser."

Patients relieved to suddenly be able to hear again have described Wendy as 'amazing'.

"It is very rewarding," she said. "Especially when people say such lovely things. I've had patients in tears because they can hear. I'm really pleased that I have made a difference to them."