Student hopes to help people with hearing loss through legislation

CLEVELAND, Tenn. (WDEF) – Amanda Forbes is a student Cleveland State Community College and mother of two.

She’s also hearing impaired in her right ear.

So she knows that simple tasks like getting a bite to eat can be difficult.

“I struggled going through the drive-thru and I thought how much more is he going to struggle when he goes through the the drive thru, there’s nothing really available for people that are hard of hearing or even deaf. There’s nothing available for people like that,” Forbes said.

It was after Forbes’ 7-year-old son John suddenly went deaf that she wrote an argumentative paper for a class that drive-thrus should have technology for the hearing impaired.

That paper was adopted by a mock student legislature and could go to the state level.

“She had just the passion for those with the, for the hearing impaired and so she was just wanting to make good things happen so I agreed to sponsor the legislation and so those that suffer with hearing impairment they’re not neglected, bypassed, or overlooked,” State Rep. Mark Hall, (R) Cleveland said.

Forbes explained that her bill would give people who are hard of hearing another way to order.

“Ultimately it would require all Tennessee restaurants that have drive-thru’s that also have 25 or more employees to have technology in their drive-thru’s for hearing impaired,” she said.

Forbes said it’s feasible for restaurants and said there is technology that restaurants could use that she said costs under 1,000 dollars and last 15 to 20 years.

“It’s really about inclusion and that’s something that our federal government ultimately protects with the ADA,” Forbes said.

The plan is to have the bill at the Tennessee legislature next session.

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