Sam Bauman: Sitting in on an exercise in futility at Legislature



As a dutiful senior with an interest in hiking and skiing on federal lands around Nevada, I decided to sit in on the hearings on the land-grab bill last Tuesday by the Legislature. Sort of, because by the time I got to the building the hearing room was standing room only and I was ushered by a friendly guard to an overflow site. It was packed as well, but I found a seat.

The meeting started with a rehash of the bill which took about 15 minutes, followed by statements by politicians and others for the bill, which was designed to acquire the 84 percent of Nevada land owned by the United States, the Feds. The land has been owned by the Feds ever since statehood.

It got rather boring with good old boys extolling the acquisition. Then the opposed speakers had a similar chance and did so, again boring.

I finally gave up and wound my way back to the parking garage.

I am interested in the measure because of my enjoyment of hiking and skiing and just plain wandering Nevada, from the Great Basin National Park back east to the shores of Lake Tahoe to Red Rocks down south, mostly on Federal lands.

But it turns out my fears were unjustified. No matter how the bill proceeds, it is a moot point as the Legislation’s legal adviser noted that it is unconstitutional. Been tried before, but the courts have rejected it.

So I guess the Heavenly ski runs in Nevada are safe — that is if we get better snow next season.

Hearing better these days

As one who has suffered from hearing loss for many years I follow what’s new in the hearing aid world for seniors. My current aids are about 10 years old and were “loaned’ to me by the VA (they keep ownership to make repairs).

This puts them in the less effective class of today’s aids; how much less effective I don’t know. But I checked the Internet side WebMD for updates.

Summary: I should get newer models, but that’s costly. Costco offers the latest models, ranging in cost from $1,200 to $3,000 for the best. There are dozens of hearing aids on the Internet, they work, I’ve tired them. But they use outmoded technology and are limited in scope.

“It was very difficult to get those old hearing aids adjusted just right,” says Earl Bowie, MD, an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Ochsner Clinic Foundation in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, told WebMD.

No wonder that only one in five people who need a hearing aid actually wear one, according to the National Institutes of Health. But times have changed.

Where the hearing aid is worn — behind or inside the ear — is determined by its size. People with more severe hearing loss often need a larger size to accommodate the added circuitry and wires, WebMD said.

Types of aids: In-the-Ear (ITE): These fit completely in the outer ear and are used for mild to severe hearing loss. The case, which holds the circuitry, is made of hard plastic. ITE aids can be damaged by earwax and ear drainage, and their small size can cause adjustment problems and feedback.

Behind-the-Ear (BTE): These are worn behind the ear and are connected to a plastic earmold that fits inside the outer ear. Sound travels through the earmold (which holds the circuitry) and into the ear. BTE aids are used by people for mild to profound hearing loss. If the earmold is not properly fitted, there can be feedback — a whistling sound caused by either the fit or by buildup of earwax or fluid.

Canal Aids: The in-the-canal (ITC) aid is customized to fit the size and shape of the ear canal. It is used for mild to moderately severe hearing loss. A completely-in-canal (CIC) aid is nearly hidden in the canal and is used for mild-to-moderately severe hearing loss. Because of their small size, canal aids may be difficult for the user to adjust and remove. These aids may be damaged by earwax and ear draining.

The in-canal hearing aids are the most popular, says WedMD. “They’re small-sized and fit into the ear canal — but not so deep that reception is impeded by ear wax.”

More on hearing aids next week.

Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.


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