Today, we’d like to put a spotlight on a few companies that put an emphasis on improving experiences for their hearing impaired customers and employees. While we believe this should be the norm, these businesses offering technology and take into account considerations that many others are not.
Uber Offers Equality in Work Opportunities
The first such company is Uber, the technology startup that has disrupted the taxi industry. Uber offers customers a Smartphone App to call for car rides. At the same time, it offers work opportunities for many who otherwise may never be able to work as a cab driver. With their App, a hearing impaired driver has the chance to choose the communication method they’d prefer which will keep them from missing the work that Uber brings. Steve Claridge, who’s hearing impaired himself, praised Uber’s efforts in a recent post here.
Starbucks App, A ‘Game Changer’ for Orders for the Hearing Impaired
Also in the world of Smartphone Apps, the Starbucks App has given hearing impaired customers a way to avoid long lines and frustrations from ordering in a loud and crowded environment, which can lead to even more frustration with inaccurate orders. According to Business Wire’s report last September, the hearing community has “hailed the App as a ‘game changer’.”
Wegmans Installs Induction Hearing Loop Stations at 17 Stores
Wegmans, a major Northeast grocery chain, announced its plans to install induction hearing loop stations at its stores. A loop station amplifies voice transmission and eliminates competing noise for the customer with the hearing aid or implant. Hearing devices typically use FM systems to improve sound quality for the user. You can read more about how FM systems work with the Ponto system here and on the Oticon Medical website. Wegmans plans to have the stations located at the pharmacy counters, customer service areas and designated cashier lanes. Some 17 stores have already had them installed and more are in the plans. You can read more about in the Metrowest Daily News here.
Kinney Drugs Equipped 77 Stores With Portable Hearing Devices and iPads for Sign Interpretation
Kinney Drugs is another chain equipped with hearing devices for customers. According to Watertown Daily Times, they are the Geemarc LoopHear Portable Amplified Loop Systems. Kinney Drugs have these portable hearing devices in 77 stores for their customers. In addition, IPads will also be available for these customers. Customers can access Facetime or Skype with these IPads and use sign language interpreter services available online.
Pizza Bar, Local Restaurant Steps Up with Video Interpreter for Hearing Impaired Customers
It’s one thing when a global company or a franchise includes services for a group of customers, but it’s really worth noticing when a small local business does the same. This is the case with a local restaurant in Newport Beach, CA. ABC7 News reported that Pizza Bar in Newport Beach has installed a video interpreter aimed to help its hearing impaired customers place orders for their favorite pizzas. ABC7 News said, “it’s the very first restaurant in the country to install the translation service. It allows people who are deaf or who have hearing loss to communicate with restaurant staff using sign language.” The interpreter uses a translator service from Language People. You can read the report from ABC7 News here.
Do you know of any other companies that should make this list? Let us know in the comments below. We’ll add it to this post and share with the rest of our community!