Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a big deal in the US, with more than 2.5 million ER visits, hospitalizations or deaths per year (CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.html). The duration of effects from TBI ranges from minimal to permanent.
What we don’t know is the number of “walking wounded” TBI survivors in the population. That’s due to the uncertainty over how long effects last. Potentially the walking wounded are in the millions and include children and adults of all ages. After all, the leading causes of TBI are falls and auto accidents, and those can happen to anyone. And there there are injured veterans. TBI is not just about football players. In fact, it’s mostly not about them.
My wife has TBI from a fall, and the concussion resulted in permanent damage to vision and hearing. She’s classified by Social Security as permanently disabled, and there wasn’t even a discussion about it.
In fact, damage to vision and hearing is rather common. One of the effects is extreme sensitivity to sound. Loud noise becomes very difficult to process and results in severe headaches. By severe, imagine someone probing your brain with an ice pick.
This affects what we can do. Concerts and sporting events that we used to attend are off limits now. Even movies can be a challenge. If we know a movie has a loud soundtrack, we defer to watching the show on DVD at home. We tried a minor league baseball game, and she lasted 3 innings before we had to leave.
TBI is another category of disability, but this one requires the management of sound/noise volumes.
There are several categories of business on which TBI can have an obvious impact on sales/receipts:
- Sporting events
- Restaurants and coffee shops
- Theaters (live and cinema)
- Retailers (loud background music, “door buster” sales events”)
If you think a noisy venue adds to atmosphere, its time to rethink. Certainly, that’s not true for everyone.
If you have long time patrons who are no longer showing up, this may be a key reason.
We need better data to understand how big a problem TBI is, but it has the potential to be huge.