In April of 2018, ridesharing app Lyft announced a partnership with the National Association of the Deaf and instituted new protocols to improve the working environment for their drivers. Lyft is a transportation network company that operates through a mobile app and a collection of independent drivers in over 300 cities. Lyft has been hiring deaf and hard of hearing drivers for years, but some of those drivers expressed concerns over missing fares due to the auditory nature of ride requests via texts or calls.
Through advancements made due to the relationship with the National Association of the Deaf, drivers can opt for a “New Ride” emblem that will flash on their phone when a new ride request is initiated. Lyft is also planning to roll out a visual indicator that will cause the driver’s phone screen and flashlight to light up when a new fare comes in. On the other side of the transaction, when passengers accept a ride with a deaf or hard of hearing Lyft driver, they receive a text message advising them to communicate with the driver via text. Lyft is currently improving the passenger text feature by linking to an American Sign Language (ASL) tutorial on how to sign words like “Thank You” and “GoodBye”.
Lyft has taken these steps to make the work environment fair for their drivers. Here are a few other places taking appropriate steps to improve the quality of life for those with hearing impairments:
AMC offers movie fans three ways to enjoy their favorite movies. All devices are available in all AMC theaters. (Please note that not all movies are closed caption compliant.)
- They will connect a receiver with amplified sound to an auditorium.
- Their Fidelio system connects wirelessly to provide narration to a seat.
- Their CaptiView closed captioning system fits into the cup holder and the user can adjust the screen to the appropriate level to read the captions.
Museums and Tourist Attractions
Many museums, art galleries and tourist attractions offer hearing accommodations. From the website of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York:
“The Museum offers a variety of programs in American Sign Language, with Sign Language interpretation, and with real-time captioning. Gallery talks are presented in Sign Language or are Sign Language–interpreted on a regular basis. We regret that gallery talks cannot accommodate groups. Sign Language interpreters may be requested for Museum programs. At least two weeks’ notice is required. Email [email protected]”
Finding a restaurant that provides a truly hearing-friendly environment can be challenging, but there are many local establishments that go beyond the standard by including kiosks, assistive listening devices, interactive menus and servers fluent in ASL (American Sign Language).
One stellar example is San Francisco’s Mozzeria, specializing in artisan pizzas, pasta and small dishes with locally sourced ingredients. The owners are deaf, and they hire deaf employees. Everyone carries a pen and paper to communicate with patrons who do not sign.
With a little research, you can find amazing hearing-friendly businesses to support. If you’re having difficulties as an employee or consumer, please schedule an appointment with us to discuss your options.