Hearing loss may cause difficulties for people who experience it. The international ride-hailing service, Uber, is now creating new opportunities for the deaf and hard of hearing communities around the world.
Starting in Chicago, Uber now operates in 400 cities around the world. One city that uses Uber is Singapore. Launched in Singapore in 2015, Project Beethoven aims to close the discrimination gap by hiring from a new pool of potential talents in the deaf and hard of hearing communities.
Safe Driving with Project Beethoven
Project Beethoven has taken measures to ensure safety for both the driver and the rider. Mixed reactions from customers often come back to questioning their driver’s safety. While this fear is reasonable, this project has resulted the dissolving of the apprehension towards people with visible or invisible disabilities. So far, Project Beethoven has been a successful, interesting and mind opening venture.
How Uber and Project Beethoven Work
Uber is an app-based company, which means it uses technology as a tool to assist those who are deaf or hard of hearing. By modifying its technology, Uber created options that are catered to their needs.
For example, the app will alert an Uber driver with flashing lights instead of beeps and the option for the customer to “call driver” is switched to “message driver.” The app will also alert customers of their driver’s hearing needs so that there is a reduced risk of miscommunication.
How Project Beethoven Has Employed the Hard of Hearing in Singapore
Project Beethoven operates under the local laws of each city when it comes to hiring new drivers. Because the laws for a deaf or hard of hearing person to obtain a driver’s changes from city to city, there is no universal potential employee description. For example, fully deaf drivers are able to acquire driver’s licences in Washington D.C. so Project Beethoven’s operations in that city allows them to hire anyone on the hearing spectrum.
But some cities may require drivers to be able to hear at a certain range. Singapore indicates that it requires hearing-impaired drivers to be able to hear at 50 decibels in order to get a license.
Uber also works with local associations and non-profit organizations to help find new employees. Not only do these partnerships help Uber hire new drivers, but they also provided the company with the valuable feedback they needed to modify their technology to suit their new hires’ needs in order to work safely in their new environments.
Project Beethoven Around the World
After its first launch in Chicago in 2015, Project Beethoven is now in operation in 400 cities globally. Its success resulted in Project Beethoven being launched in huge cities like Washington D.C., Singapore, Manila and Toronto. Since it’s a joint project with other hearing societies, non-profit groups and with the cooperation of the government, it has been well received.
The Washington Post stated that, “Deaf and hearing-impaired people face staggering unemployment: 7 of 10 hard-of hearing people in the United States are without work or underemployed, according to the Communication Service for the Deaf.” For many in this demographic, Uber’s new project allows for them to make a reliable and flexible income.
While there are those who will still find it difficult to find employment, Project Beethoven brings attention to this need and is helping shatter the glass ceiling of discrimination for so many capable and eligible candidates. Chris Soukup, chief executive of the Communication Service for the Deaf states that this is, “an opportunity to build bridges between people and influence a new perception of the abilities and humanity of deaf people.”
Beyond Project Beethoven
With the launch of such a successful project, Uber also launched another project meeting the demands for wheelchair accessible vehicles. Their notable work is also helping remove the stigma against whole communities. At this point it looks like Uber has no intention of slowing its pace as it consciously works to change the playing field by meeting unmet and overlooked demands and needs.
Don’t let hearing loss stand in the way of employment! Contact us at Preferred Hearing Solutions today for a consultation.
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