Approximately 48 million people in the United States are deaf or hard of hearing in one or both ears. In order to better serve these individuals, private industries are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide reasonable accommodations. Though ranges of assistive technologies exist, the provisions at theme parks vary tremendously. This study explored the variety of Hearing Assistive Technologies (HAT) provided by the two most visited theme parks in the US. To qualitatively assess the quality and usability of these accommodations, the researcher completed ethnographic observations at these parks; additionally, the researcher conducted interviews with park personnel to discuss the utilization of their services and probed for guest feedback. Finally, a quantitative analysis of the parks’ websites was conducted to assess their individual usability and service provisions from a vacation planning perspective.

The researcher found that the accommodations made by these theme parks were generally acceptable, but a range of challenges and issues were found in the acquisition and full utilization of the services offered. The researcher concluded that the experiences for individuals who are Deaf and hard of hearing may differ in each park. Website content for both websites was generally poor, and information from the written materials was inconsistent with the actual park services and provisions. Further research is encouraged to keep this information up-to-date, to explore the perspective of non-English speaking park visitors, and further exploration of these experiences from the perspective of the guest should be conducted.


Goldberg, Donald


Communication Studies


hearing assistive technology, theme parks, Americans with Disabilities Act

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2016 Logan L. Honea