One of the friends you invited on the weekend trip to the shore has tinnitus, so don’t turn the volume up too high.
Jake Miller, 24, was diagnosed with tinnitus two years ago. Tinnitus is an underlying condition of many ear issues, that results in a constant ringing or buzzing in the ear.
“Some days it’s not as bad as other days,” Miller explained. “It just sucks that I’m only 24 and already have these problems.”
Miller and three of his friends had a free weekend, so they decided to take a trip to Rhode Island, which includes close to six total hours of driving, round-trip.
Ryan Johnson, 23, made a playlist specifically for the trip. It featured a mix of popular hits throughout the years, mixed in with relaxing “beach-vibes”. The first few miles were spent talking, so no one really paid attention to the music.
The opening guitar riff of “Mr. Brightside” by American rock band, The Killers, broke through the conversation, and Johnson turned up the volume without hesitation. As all four belted out the lyrics, Miller winced slightly, but joined in.
As that song ended, the conversation picked back up again, but no one turned the music back down. This is something only Miller noticed.
“I tried to ignore it for as long as I could, but now everyone was talking louder to talk over the loud music, and the ringing was really starting to bug me,” Miller said.
Miller requested that they turn down the music slightly, claiming the speakers in the back seat where he was sitting were louder than the speakers up front.
Miller’s friends granted his request, and began their quiet resentment of him for the rest of the trip.
“I was like, ‘this is classic,’” Johnson said to Adam Leporio, 24, while stopped at a gas station. “It really wasn’t even that loud.”
A few more songs like Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September”, and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”, caused the same scene to play out several more times until the friends arrived at their destination.
Miller rushed inside to use the bathroom. His friends openly complained about him just outside the bathroom door, but he could not hear them for the consistent ringing that has plagued his mind for every waking moment these past two unbearable years, and, as it continued to grow louder, he wondered if there would be any respite from this form of living hell that will only grow worse as the years slowly roll on.
“We’re definitely not bringing him next time,” Leporio said.