LUBBOCK, Texas — On Tuesday, the FDA finalized the decision of enabling over-the-counter hearing aids.

Dr. Arica Black, Audiologist at the Hearing Doctor in Lubbock, said the FDA has determined that a hearing aid is a medical device, therefore should include some regulations on what is not acceptable to be sold over the counter.

“Hearing aids that you get from a doctor or an audiologist have a prescription, very similar to when you go to the eye doctor and you get prescription eyeglasses. So those hearing devices are still coming from a provider from an audiologist, the devices that are being sold over the counter are kind of a one size fits all,” Dr. Black said.

Dr. Black told that she didn’t know what this would mean for low income patients since hearing aids would be more accessible.

“When something becomes over-the-counter, insurance companies stop paying for that prescription,” Dr. Black said. “So in terms of Medicaid, Medicaid covers hearing aids. Or if somebody has an insurance plan through their company that they work for, those hearing aid benefits, I believe probably will start to go away or be diminished, because they’ll say the devices are over-the-counter.”

The Biden Administration said the decision would make the devices more accessible and affordable.

Dr. Black, however, expressed the concern over the quality.

“There’s just, there’s not a lot of players in the hearing aid field right now in being able to regulate that and how much the FDA will able to be able to control what’s coming out on the market,” Dr. Black said.