When it comes to making life a bit easier for the hearing impaired, many corporations are accommodating. There are a few that exceed expectations. Sprint is known as one of the best places to work for disability inclusion policies and practices. Making airplanes is not the only thing Boeing does well, it also recognizes that deaf employees are an essential part of their aircraft manufacturing process. There are several other notable examples and here are three that are taking a unique approach to assisting the hearing impaired.
Drivers for Lyft are now using a Bluetooth-powered device known as Amp. This smart tool flashes neon colors personalized for each passenger which match a color given to them by an app. It is an excellent way for passengers at night to recognize their ride. Now, Lyft is using Amp to help its hearing-impaired drivers. Usually, an audible ringing via an app is sent to a Lyft driver to notify them of a ride. Missing this notification is a common complaint among the deaf and hard-of-hearing drivers at Lyft. Fixed on the dashboard much like a GPS device, Amp displays the words “New Ride” so drivers with a hearing loss will not miss a fare. Furthermore, passengers will receive notifications if their driver has impaired hearing and for them to text the driver instead of calling them. The National Association for the Deaf is teaming up with Lyft to seek ways to improve communication with all of their employees.
Uber just completed updating its partner app with features to accommodate its deaf and hard-of-hearing drivers better. A driver flips a switch inside the app to activate these unique features. These features include:
- A light will flash in addition to the usual audio cue to indicate a new trip
- Blocking the option for passengers to call the driver
- Any rider who wants to give special pickup instructions will be able to via text only
- An extra screen is available for passengers to enter their destination while notifying them in advance that their Uber driver is deaf or hearing impaired
Yes, we know that the coffee giant is a cool place to work, but it is now a better work option for the deaf and hard-of-hearing as well. Starting with one store in Malaysia, the global coffee chain is focusing on providing employment opportunity for the hearing impaired. The store allows customers to place their orders by filling out a menu ticket and then handing it to the baristas who key the orders on a dual-screen system which will enable customers the ability to see if their order is correct. The order number is then displayed on a large screen above the pickup counter when it is ready. Starbucks hopes to incorporate this system into stores beyond the one in Malaysia.
These companies appreciate the tremendous contributions their deaf and hard-of-hearing employees make on a daily basis. Some are doing it with technology, while others are just giving the hearing-impaired a fair chance. Let us hope that this trend of finding ways for employers to assist their hearing-impaired employees continues to grow.