Are you hungry for a way to support auditory development for your student with hearing loss? Try an auditory sandwich! This can be an effective way to help develop auditory skills for a child with hearing loss. To share information while developing listening skills, it’s important to give children opportunities to listen without visual cues, or facial expressions and gestures. Visual cues are not always available in everyday listening environments, and children will often have to rely on auditory-only cues, or cues that are heard from talking or other environmental sounds. They may also need auditory-visual cues, or cues they can hear and see.
Because visual cues aren’t always available, we want a child to develop his auditory skills to learn new information by listening alone. Start by giving auditory-only information, or talking without using visual cues. Sometimes, however, a child doesn’t understand an auditory-only cue. Even with hearing devices, he may not hear perfectly – especially depending on the level of background noise in the environment. Because of this, he might learn to fill in some missing information with visual information. This includes gestures you use, reading lips and watching the speaker’s face.
If you find the child doesn’t understand an auditory-only cue, repeat what you said while adding a visual cue (pointing to print, showing an object, etc.). When you see that he understands, repeat what you said once more without the visual cue so the child can practice listening. Always begin and end with auditory-only information to challenge your student and really boost those listening skills. This is the auditory sandwich.
Over time, you’ll want to see the child is gradually able to understand more without the use of visual cues, particularly when you’re talking about something you talk about every day. So next time when you’re talking about what’s for lunch, try the auditory sandwich!
Jennifer Manley served as a classroom teacher for students ages 3 to 12 at CID – Central Institute for the Deaf. She currently works in professional development giving presentations on auditory development and is co-author of CID SPICE for Life, an auditory learning curriculum and author of the 2nd edition of CID SPICE.