Do Something!

Steve Kerr’s statement took the words and the emotions right out of my mouth and heart.

Steve Kerr

14 (19) Children were killed

“14 children were killed 400 miles from here. And a teacher. And in the last 10 days, we’ve had elderly black people killed in a supermarket in Buffalo. We’ve had Asian churchgoers killed in Southern California. And now we have children murdered at school.”

(At the time of the press conference, there were 14 children dead. It has risen to 22.)

50 GOP Senators

“There’s 50 senators right now who refuse to vote on H.R. 8, which is a background check rule that the House passed a couple years ago. It’s been sitting there for two years. There’s a reason they won’t vote on it: to hold onto power.

So I ask you, Mitch McConnell, ask all of you senators who refuse to do anything about the violence in school shootings and supermarket shootings, I ask you — are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of our children and our elderly and our churchgoers?

90% of Americans want universal background checks

“You realize that 90% of Americans, regardless of political party, want background checks, universal background checks. Ninety percent of us. We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even put it to a vote. Despite what we the American people want. They won’t vote on it because they want to hold on to their own power.”

Gun control policy support:
1) Universal background checks: 90%
2) Red flag laws: 86%
3) High capacity magazine ban: 60%
4) Gun license requirement: 74%
5) Mandatory waiting period: 83%
6) Assault weapon ban: 67% (imagine that)
Pew Research, ABC, Quinnipiac, APM Research Lab, NPR

Condolences and moments of silence

“When are we going to do something? I’m tired. I’m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences, to the devastated families that are out there. I’m so tired of the excuse, but I’m sorry, I’m tired of the moments of silence. Enough.”

1) Both the supermarket in Buffalo and the school in Uvalde had armed guards.
2) People with mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violent crime than the cause.
3) Research in 1993 showed that owning a gun makes you less safe at home.
4) Research on gun violence has been blocked since 1996.
5) Policy needs to be based on facts not opinions.

It’s Personal

“I want every person here every person listening to this to think about your own child or grandchild or mother or father, sister or brother — how would you feel if this happened to you today?”

(His father was a victim of gun violence. So was my brother in law.)

Do Something

“We can’t get numb to this. We can’t sit here and just read about it and go, ‘Well, let’s have a moment of silence. Yeah, go Dubs.’ You know? ‘Come on, Mavs, let’s go.'”

1) Speak out.   Research shows that more people express their support for gun control in public when they find out how much support there is.
2) If someone tells you to "Stop being so political", tell them they wouldn't be calling it 'political' if it was their child.
3) Read the paper, not social media.
4) Get educated and get involved:
5) Vote

Never Throw Out an Old Hearing Aid.

Old hearing aids should never be thrown out. Here are my suggestions on what to do with old aids:

  1. Use them as spare hearing aids
  2. Give them to family members or friends who can’t afford hearing aids. (Most hearing aids can be reprogrammed to almost anyone’s hearing loss. We reprogram hearing aids all the time.)
  3. Donate them to an organization that will reprogram them for people in the community or the world. (Contact us for details).
  4. Donate dead aids to organizations like Starkey. They can use the functioning parts to repair other hearing aids.

Rechargeable Hearing Aids: what to do when the power goes out.

A patient came in for an appointment today and said her neighborhood is scheduled for a blackout today. Her charger doesn’t have a built in battery pack.

Most new cars have a USB charging port. If you have an old car, you can always get solar charger. REI has at least two dozen different solar chargers. They’re typically about $50.

All that being said, I have had a number of patients chosen non-rechargeable batteries lately. It made sense for my back packers and touring cyclists. But for anyone with dexterity issues, rechargeable batteries are ideal.

Don’t Put Anything Smaller Than Your Elbow in Your Ear!

I actually have worked with one doctor who said it’s ok to use Q-tips, as long as you dip it in alcohol. They’re abrasive and the skin in your ear is delicate. On the other hand, I have a friend who ruptured her eardrum with a Q-tip because someone opened the bathroom door and it hit her elbow.

I told my son this rule when he was about four and he looked down at his elbow for a moment before deciding it wasn’t possible. Anyway, your call. But, officially, nothing smaller than your elbow.

There’s a lot going on right now, so I thought we could use some humor. It’s my favorite coping mechanism. Enjoy

Over the Counter Hearing Aids

NPR covered over-the-counter hearing aids back in 2017. Since then, politicians have passed legislation that provides access to these new amplifiers. NPR, like the politicians, dismissed the audiology profession without talking to an unbiased expert in the field – not a doctor and not someone who sells hearing aids. Ruth Bentler at University of Iowa would have been a good choice. Todd Rickets at Vanterbilt would have been another.

The only way I’ve thought of to concisely explain what audiologists do is to compare them to orthodontists. You might ask why a bunch of wires cost $6,000. They’re just wires. It’s because they don’t help much if you don’t have an expert, with 6-8 years of education, custom fit them and fine tune them over time. Audiologists require at least 8 years of education.

I’m glad these amplifiers are out there, but they’re only appropriate for a limited group of people. I tell patients to try it out, but keep your receipt. I guess you could compare them to something like Invisalign knockoffs that you get on Amazon or at the drug store. They’ll work for a few people with slightly crooked teeth.

One last thing. The NPR podcast inferred that you have to spend $5000 on a pair of hearing aids. The $5000 ones can have a lot of benefits, but the quality of the fitting is at least as important as which hearing aid you get.

What really needs to happen is for legislators to come up with policies that help enforce competence and ethics. There are problems with both of those in this field. How you legislate something like that, I don’t know. That’s their expertise.