No one else could hear the loud, piercing sounds that drove Debbie Bowe to panic attacks for the first time in her life in late 2011. The high-pitched screeching sound, which she described as “18 tea kettles screaming at once,” was all in her head. But it was real. It was the roaring scream of tinnitus.
Bowe’s condition caused extreme anxiety. Unable to sleep, Bowe often paced all night or tried falling asleep in the bathroom with the shower running to mask the noise. She took a leave of absence from her IT job at a hospital.
“Tinnitus is a life changer,” said Bowe of Hertford, NC. “I just can’t express how insidious it is. I didn’t know how long I could go on and live with this torment.”