Local radio DJ Lloyd Crowther's life is 'sheer misery' since he started to notice that everything he says is accompanied by tinny drumbeats in the background.
"I could hear this low-volume percussion in my headphones when I presented on-air, and I thought the sound was being added by the studio engineer to add excitement to my traffic and travel announcements. But now I can hear it all the time."
No-one is sure where the sound is coming from. "I thought I simply had a bad case of tinnitus so I went to the doctor, but the first thing he said was, 'Could you speak up a bit? I can't hear you over that tickity-tick drumming noise.' It turns out everyone can hear it."
A trip to the local library is out of the question now for Crowther. "I have to stand outside and send my wife in to get my graphic novels. I'm not popular in there, no Siree."
Crowther fares no better on the tube or bus. "Everyone shouts at me to turn my iPod down. I don't know why, they can clearly see there's nothing in my ears."
Being a medical mystery is clearly no fun, but help is at hand, at least in the form of an explanation. Top pseudo-scientist Joey Flume believes that Crowther's body could be the first to have evolved and adapted to cope with modern life. "He's the first of a new generation of a new species of people who will communicate not through 'difficult', hard-to-understand words and phrases but through iconic sounds and simple gestures. What his body is saying through the drumming is, 'listen to me, listen to what I am saying. I am important.'
"Which is ironic considering he isn't."