We caught up with Marina and Coco for a walk around the dockside in Barry, and shared a coffee together at Academy Expresso Bar.
You’re originally from Russia, when you did you first arrive in Wales, and why did you move here?
I lived in Moscow. I grew up there. I was born in 1966 and moved to Wales in June 1998. I met my second husband in an airport in Istanbul. He was Welsh – hence the move to Wales.
Do you consider Wales, and the Vale, your home?
Yes. I really love the people. It’s safe and the people are lovely. The Welsh are not an aggressive people. It’s a very proud culture. The Vale is a beautiful county – it is very special.
Where do you live and what do you love about it?
I live in Barry, overlooking the water. Barry has changed a lot since 1998. It is a big town. It’s very modern and quite cosmopolitan. It’s great for commuting. I think people don’t realise how good it is here. There are a lot of hardworking people in Barry. We really need to take care of it. Everything we need is on our doorstep. Cardiff is twenty minutes away and London a mere two hours further. We are so lucky. We do need to look after where we live more though. We all need to pick up our litter!
You worked for the NHS; can you tell us a little more about that?
I worked in the NHS for sixteen years as a Senior Audiologist. It’s a very stressful environment but a great place to learn your craft. It is a good school. Had I not worked there, I would not be so confident in my abilities.
However, I do think it needs to look at how it spends its money. If you ran a business like the NHS, you would be bankrupt. There is a lot of waste and it’s simply not cost-effective, I think it has enough funding, but it doesn’t manage it well. After all, it is public money. There is so much waste and too many layers of management. It’s just my opinion. The people in charge are not businesspeople. There’s too much talk and not enough walk.
Why the change from NHS to your private practice?
During Covid, it was very hard to do what I love. The procedures became unbearable, and I just thought I should get out and do it for myself. I really liked the team I worked with, but it was time to go my own way.
Can you describe briefly what Clear Hearing Solution offers?
I offer a range of treatments including micro-suction for infections and blockages, hearing aids, balance rehabilitation, tinnitus as well as specialist glue ear treatment for children.
Helping patients accept hearing loss is an important part of the relationship between audiologist and patient. A pleasing aspect of the work at the clinic is the number of extremely positive comments from patients praising the care and attention they received during their consultations and procedures.
What age range do you work with?
From children to 100 years old of both sexes. Three is about the youngest. I have several clients in their nineties. Quite a mix really.
What do you love about what you do?
Finding solutions to hearing problems. That’s why I called the business Clear Hearing Solution. It’s about understanding the issues that affect people and their hearing. I like to explain why clients have issues and how to prevent further issues. No one likes to feel ill. I enjoy teaching people how to help themselves. I’m not a nurse. I believe in enabling people.
What do most patients present with? What brings them to you?
Ear infections, wax build up, tinnitus, poor hearing, and balance problems. Also, assistance with hearing aids.
What do you think patients like about working with you?
I don’t like to blow my own trumpet. I do have reviews on the site which anyone is free to visit. I hope it’s because of my knowledge and because I improve the daily lives of my patients. It might sound strange, but I have to be a little detached. I have to be professional to be objective and give them the correct treatment.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever found in an ear?
I’m not sure about strange, but ear plugs are a huge problem. They get stuck in the ear canal. Some people have had them stuck in there for years! Cotton buds too. One guy had two stuck in there!
We’ve talked about your professional life. What about your personal life? Are you in a relationship?
I am, but I prefer to keep my private life private. Although if you read my new book, you’ll find out more about my life.
We love Coco, please tell us more about her?
She’s a Pomeranian. She’s a star. She also makes an appearance in the book. She’s my constant, beautiful companion. People ask if she suffers separation anxiety when I go to work. I always reply, no, but I do!
You’ve mentioned your new book, what is its title?
It’s called From Russia to Wales with Love.
What motivated you to write it?
I was motivated to write the book by the death of my parents. I couldn’t go to their funerals. It is a message to them and also to people to explain my life and why I live it the way I do. Hopefully there will be some wisdom that may help others with their lives. We all have fears, but if we work with them, gently, we can win through.
In a nutshell, what’s it about?
Life is interesting, we all have a story. And the book is about my story. It tells the story of my life. How I chose not to be a victim but a winner. Hopefully, it will help others to face their fears and succeed. If I can come from Moscow and create a good life, everyone can!
Did you enjoy the writing process?
Yes, very much. It was emotional. I dug up a lot of skeletons.
How can readers get hold of a copy?
It will be available widely from November, but some copies will be available at the clinic sooner. Anyone interested in buying the book and find out more information on my website or be contacting me in the clinic.
What do you love about your Vale life?
The Vale is a very beautiful place to live. From Cowbridge to Penarth, the coastline is beautiful. There is so much heritage. Personally, and spiritually, I have a good balance.
Do have a favourite eating place?
I really like The Bear in Cowbridge. And Mr Villa’s on The Knap in Barry. Simple, good food.
Where do you shop?
I really like Cowbridge and Barry High Street. I do like John Lewis in Cardiff. I would rather buy fewer, quality items, than lots of cheap things.
What do like about being based at Goodsheds?
It’s local to me. It’s good place to start a business but I do want to expand into a larger place.
Describe yourself in three words…
Professional, warm-hearted, strong-minded.
What do you do to relax?
When I have the time, I like to go to the St David’s Spa. I enjoy a swim, sauna, and massage. I like to walk on the beach. I switch off my phone. I enjoy holidays with my boyfriend – it’s a time when we can both can switch off.
What does the future hold?
I am concentrating on developing the business and am also working on providing courses on hearing and hearing aids which I can then share across several platforms for people to buy. I’d like to get the message out not just the Vale but across the planet. I’d like to share my eighteen years of experience across the world. I would also like to write another book focused on audiology. I would also like to spend more time on charity work to provide free hearing care for children. It’s a huge passion of mine. And, of course, I would like to spend more quality time with my boyfriend and Coco.
What clients say…
“Marina demonstrated excellent knowledge and understanding of my issues, which made me feel relaxed and confident I was in safe hands.”
“I took my 13-year-old son to Marina for micro-suction. She was amazing with him and made him feel at ease.”
“Best £65 I’ve ever spent. I would definitely recommend her.”
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday
9am – 6pm by appointment only
Saturdays and Sundays closed
Thursday no appointments
If you have a story to tell and you think you’d like to publish a book, talk to the team at Vale Life! We have all the skills to help you get your story out there. Email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org