Neel Raithatha was born in London after his parents migrated to the UK from East Africa in the 1970s. He grew up in Leicestershire and harboured early ambitions of becoming a professional cricketer, representing his local county youth team during his teenage years. He qualified as an Audiologist from Aston University in 2008 and initially worked within the NHS. During this time, he was also awarded a prestigious Medical Research Council (MRC) PhD scholarship to conduct clinical research in Audiology at the University of Manchester.
In 2011, he decided to take a sabbatical and worked as a self-trained Pastry Chef at some top restaurants, which included a secondment at Gordon Ramsey’s flagship 3 Michelin Star restaurant in Chelsea. He later returned and founded The Hear Clinic, which is an international multi-award-winning Audiology Clinic based in Leicester. He also later co-founded Clearwax and successfully pioneered endoscopic ear wax removal in the UK.
Which place, or city or country do you most feel at home in?
This has to be without a shadow of a doubt Leicester! Although I was born in London, I moved to Leicester when I very young and all my earliest memories are from growing up here. It’s a wonderfully culturally diverse city to live in and we of course have a decent football team!
What are your proudest achievements?
I would say graduating as an Audiologist with First Class Honours. Whilst studying at University, I was also sole carer for my terminally ill father who sadly passed away during my second year. It was an extremely difficult time and I hope he is looking down proudly upon me today.
What inspires you?
I am very fortunate in that I have the privileged opportunity through my profession to make a significant difference to someone’s quality of life on a daily basis by improving their hearing and reconnecting them with their friends and family. This is my inspiration and what get’s me out of bed every morning.
What has been biggest obstacle in your career?
Self-doubt. Coming from a very humble upbringing and not being born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I’ve had to work extremely hard for everything I have achieved and accomplished. As is life, there are always naysayers who don’t enjoy seeing other’s relative success and try to destroy their inner belief and confidence.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date?
Mr Stephen Darius Rejali. He is a Consultant ENT Surgeon whom I trained under whilst studying as an Audiologist. We later worked together and became co-founders of Clearwax. Not only is he an extremely talented and skilled surgeon, but he is also a very humble and genuine human being.
What is the best aspect about your current role?
In recent years, I’ve been privileged to receive media requests to appear on radio, national and international online newspapers and even make TV appearances, which has all been great fun! In addition, I’ve also been invited to give guest lectures to local GPs, national charities, as well as international Audiology conferences which I’ve also really enjoyed doing!
And the worst?
Running a business can be stressful at times. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes and quite simply not enough hours in the day sometimes! However, it’s all worth it at the end of the day!
What are your long-term goals?
I would like to set up an initiative where I can help and mentor aspiring young people from less privileged backgrounds like myself to achieve their dreams and ambitions. Additionally, being an avid wildlife fan, I would love to get involved in some wildlife conservation projects in the future.
If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change?
I would like to put an end to all forms of animal cruelty once and for all. This would mean introducing the harshest of prison sentences and fines for anyone found guilty of animal cruelty. It truly breaks my heart when I see or hear stories of people deliberately trying to hurt and harm animals.
If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why?
Leonardo da Vinci. Was there anything this man couldn’t turn his hand too? A painter, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor and architect. He was to put it mildly way ahead of his time. I’m also sure he would have been able to hatch an escape plan off the desert island for us too!