When 14-year-old Cindy Redmond accepted an invitation to have dinner at her friend’s house, she was excited. It was a chance for her to play at being an adult and have dinner somewhere besides at her parents’ table. However when Cindy decided to use her cellphone during her friend’s family dinner, she learned that some people find this disrespectful – now she may be permanently damaged.
When Cindy picked up her phone for an incoming call at the family dinner at the North Wilmington, Delaware home, her friend’s stepfather was outraged. Although Cindy was not in the middle of her meal – the food had yet to be served – the man decided he needed to punish her immediately.
Without hesitating, the stepfather of Cindy’s friend removed an airhorn from his possession and stuck in Cindy’s face. Then he decided to pull the trigger and blast the teenage girl with the massive sound. Not only was Cindy shocked by the unnecessary punishment – a simple reprimand would have worked for the teen – she started experiencing severe pain. Soon it became excruciating, and she was shouting and grabbing at her face.
Because the pain continued for days, Cindy finally told her parents what happened. That’s when they rushed the teen to the emergency room. However, it was very late when the doctors were able to determine the cause of her pain and diagnose her. She was found to be suffering from Hyperacusis, which is a rare disorder.
Unfortunately, Hyperacusis is not curable. It consists of neurological and inner ear damage. When someone suffers from this condition, everyday sounds can be painful. Such things as a dog’s bark or a baby’s cry could result in stabbing pain in the ear or a burning sensation, and it could take days to recover.
Because of the air horn, Cindy has been forced to change her life. She no longer goes to school. She was pulled out and is being homeschooled instead. She no longer can go to parties and probably will not be able to get a job when she gets older – everyday sounds are just too painful for her now.
When Cindy first learned about her condition, she was angry. But that soon gave way to sadness as she realized that the blast from the air horn had ruined her life forever. Cindy now wears noise-canceling headphones at all hours of the day. She cannot afford to have an accidental sound debilitating her for hours or days at a time.
Although Cindy’s friend’s stepfather ruined her life forever, Cindy’s mom Laurine refused to take legal action. Her mom’s failure to do anything has caused Cindy to lose many friends because they think she is faking.
Laurine simply hopes that her daughter’s story will inspire other parents to relax when children misbehave. The air horn was completely out of line, and she hopes the stepfather won’t resort to it anymore. The man could have simply told Cindy to put her phone away at the dinner table. Instead, he decided to abuse her do something that destroyed her future.