Teenager Cindy Redford's life has been changed a year after her friend's stepfather blew an air horn to her ears. The auditory trauma she incurred from the incident caused her to constantly experience a knife-stabbing pain in her ears.
Air Horn Trauma
Cindy Redford's life changed a year ago, when she was staying at her friend's house. She was chatting on the phone at the table when her friend's stepfather, annoyed that he'd asked her twice to get off the phone, blasted her with an air horn.
She felt a sharp pain in her ears, and soon after, her ordeal began. Within days, Cindy was no longer able to attend school because every small sound had become amplified, loud, and painful to hear. Even at home, small noises would induce pain on Cindy.
After going for checkups, a doctor finally told Cindy and her mom, Laurie, of a condition called hyperacusis, or noise-induced pain. A year after the incident, Cindy has yet to return to school and often just stays in her quiet home. Recently, Cindy attempted to hang out with friends but suffered when one of them squealed. According to her mother, Cindy began sobbing from the pain, and some of her friends thought that she was faking.
Hyperacusis is indeed a very real condition. It is often a result of acoustic trauma or a noise injury as a result of an exposure to loud noise such as a gunshot, a loud concert, or, as in Cindy's case, an air horn. It could also be a result of head or neck injuries, diseases such as Lyme disease, and constant exposure to loud sounds over time such as loud power tools .
In many cases, constant exposure to loud sounds can cause hearing loss, but in cases of hyperacusis, the sounds become loud and magnified, making them painful to hear. It also causes ringing in the ears, burning ear pain, and pressure. In Cindy's case, she constantly experiences burning ear pain, and every sound, apart from the mildest noises, gives her a knife-stabbing pain.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for hyperacusis, which is why Cindy is asking for donations for hyperacusis research.
Hyperacusis is a life-altering condition. As shown by Cindy's experience, people with the condition often stay at home to avoid noises that could induce pain. She is unable to go to school, go to stores, and hang out with her friends. In order to cope, Cindy wears ear plugs and earmuffs to reduce everyday noise, but that affects the way she communicates with the people around her.
"Everything sounds louder and is painful in my ears. We need a cure for hyperacusis so that people like me can live a normal life," said Cindy.