Living in a hearing world with hearing impairment isn’t always easy. It has been designed down to the smallest details for those with full hearing ability, and that often leaves those with hearing impairment to adjust as they can to manage daily life. The good news is that as society becomes more inclusive and more and more individuals face hearing loss, advances in technology, more in-tune architecture and infrastructure and even more aware business policies and practices are making navigating the world easier every day.
While the actual number may be more, it is estimated that over 37 million American adults are affected by hearing loss. These individuals are becoming more vocal about their needs and more discerning about the companies they choose to do business with. Many companies are now recognizing that inclusivity in business practices, technology and marketing is not only a no-brainer for reputation but also simply good business.
In some cases, companies that have been slow to make changes have born the brunt of unhappy consumers in the media, online and in the courts. In other cases, forward-thinking companies have recognized the overwhelming need and taken steps to make their services and products more accessible to consumers. These days there are even examples of companies going out of their way to assist not just consumers, but also employees and potential employees with hearing loss.
Here are three examples of companies making the hearing world easier to navigate for those with hearing impairment:
Last spring, the ride-sharing company Lyft made big news with a technology release aimed at helping their hearing impaired drivers. According to the announcement, several new devices and features would now be available including:
- Amp, a new in-car communication device, would alert deaf and hearing impaired drivers visually of a new ride rather than through sound.
- Passengers would now receive a notification through their app alerting them to the fact that their driver is hearing impaired and communication should happen via text rather than phone.
That’s not all though. Lyft also announced a new partnership with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) giving them the opportunity to “work together to develop further app improvements, grow awareness of economic opportunities for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, and engage policymakers on the importance of ridesharing access.”
After a lawsuit by deaf investors in 2016, TD Ameritrade took a close look at their business practices and technology. Like Lyft, the investing giant recently announced a partnership with he National Association of the Deaf (NAD). TD Ameritrade’s goal, with the help of NAD, is to make its content more accessible to those of all hearing abilities. The company plans to “make significant modifications to its websites, desktop trading platforms, and mobile applications.”
Proctor and Gamble (P&G)
While some companies are facing backlash over their advertising, P&G is hoping to set the standard for inclusive advertising. They have been captioning for approximately ten years but are now going above and beyond with a “special consultant of inclusive design” who began working on inclusivity in the company two years ago.
These are just a few examples of companies recognizing the need and going out of their way to assist the hearing impaired. In the coming years, there are sure to be more and more as businesses invest in accessibility and inclusivity for stronger and more profitable brands.