Delivering specialist hearing care for more than 50 years, House of Hearing’s clinics across Scotland have changed the lives of  countless patients, writes Nan Spowart

REALISING she was missing out on family conversations finally made grandmother Christine Swales go for a hearing test.

A former physiotherapist and keen quilter, she had also become aware she was withdrawing from conversations at her sewing group because she couldn’t hear what the others were saying.

“I began to feel left out, a bit isolated, because I kept on saying I couldn’t hear what they said and kept asking them to say it again – it eventually got to the point where I wouldn’t bother,” said the 75-year-old.

Hearing the television was also a problem so, after around 18 months of trying to get by, Christine went for a hearing test which confirmed she had reduced hearing.

Through the NHS, she was given hearing aids which worked well for several years until her hearing deteriorated further.

Finding out that there was now a long waiting list for a test in her area, Christine did some research on alternatives and found House of Hearing was highly recommended for hearing tests, hearing aids and wax removal services.


Established in 1969, House of Hearing now has clinics across Scotland, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, offering free hearing tests and an ENT nurse-led wax removal team.

Not wanting to wait any longer, Christine decided to give House of Hearing a try.

“I had the feeling I was being an irritant,” she said. “That people were having to repeat themselves or that I hadn’t picked up on something, so I wouldn’t do what they had asked me to do. I didn’t want to be a bother to them.”

As her grandchildren are still young, she said they didn’t necessarily understand that she hadn’t heard or hadn’t understood.

“It is a social thing too. You tend to withdraw as you tend to think ‘well, if I didn’t catch it, I didn’t catch it’ and you don’t pursue the point.”

While Christine had been happy with the NHS aids and the service she received when she was first diagnosed at the age of 68, she was very impressed with the service and equipment offered at House of Hearing.

“Instead of being in a small room this was a clear booth, where you could see what was going on and the advice, the explanations and everything were great.”

Christine also found a difference in the hearing aids.

“You can’t compare them really,” she said. “Apart from the odd thing like somebody talking behind you where you can’t pick up quite as much, it is more like normal hearing without you having to make any effort at all.

“I’ve got the app on my mobile which helps with being able to turn the volume up and down if I want and I can use it for the television as well. I can turn the volume up without my husband being annoyed about it being too loud.”

Now Christine is enjoying not having to concentrate hard to find out what people are saying and being able to hear and join in with group conversation.

Her advice to others who think they may have reduced hearing is to seek help.

“I think some people are very conscious of having hearing aids but to be perfectly honest most people don’t even know I have them,” said Christine. “So don’t be put off by that at all but go, get your hearing checked because it makes life a lot easier.”


House of Hearing Senior Audiologist Stuart Lyness agreed, pointing out that untreated hearing loss is linked to social isolation, depression and even dementia.

“Most peoples’ hearing will deteriorate gradually over time and sometimes it is others who will notice first,” he said.

“Classic symptoms include turning the TV up louder and difficulty following conversations in noisy or busy situations.”

There is increasing evidence that untreated hearing loss can contribute to poor mental health.

“This can happen when hearing loss goes unaddressed because there is an increased risk of social isolation when someone finds it difficult to hear,” said Stuart.

“Withdrawing from conversation with friends and family in extreme cases can lead to bouts of depression and possibly even lead to dementia. 

“Fortunately, the reverse is also true so where patients can improve their hearing, they can lead more active and fulfilled lives.”

With Christmas parties and family gatherings in the offing, it’s important to make sure you can enjoy them to the full, and so the House of Hearing Team is encouraging people to be proactive and get their hearing checked with a free comprehensive hearing test at one of their clinics.

Find out more at or call 0141 363 0287