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Auditory Learning Strategies: The Auditory Sandwich

​​​​Children who are deaf or hard of hearing need the same foundation of listening experiences as their peers, regardless of the age of intervention. When you use an auditory sandwich, your child has at least three opportunities for exposure to the sound, word or message you are communicating. When the information is presented first through listening alone, the child has the opportunity to focus on listening. Pause after this first auditory presentation to check for comprehension. As your child becomes more familiar with the messages you use at home, he may begin to understand through listening. If he doesn’t yet understand, repetition of the information using supports can clarify the meaning. The third repetition, using listening alone, gives the child another opportunity to focus on listening.

Order of Presentation:

  1. Listening Alone: Present your message without any visual cues
  2. Listening with Support: Present your message with verbal or visual supports (see below)
  3. Listening Alone: Repeat your original message without any visual cues

Visual Supports Can Include:

  • Show a picture
  • Point or gesture
  • Give speechreading cues
  • Show a toy or object
  • Sign your message
  • Write your message

Verbal Supports Can Include:

  • Repeat with acoustic highlighting/emphasize key words
  • Use a sound association (“moo”)
  • Say a shorter phrase
  • Give a clue or example


Try the auditory sandwich at home! Select a familiar, fun routine and give your child a chance to use his listening skills. You may want to try this at bedtime. Your message might be, “Time to brush your teeth.” Here’s what your auditory sandwich might look like:

  1. Listening Alone: Say, “Time to brush your teeth.”
  2. Listening with Support:
    1. Say, “Time to brush your teeth.” while pointing to the bathroom.
    2. Say and Sign “Time to brush your teeth.”
    3. Get his toothbrush and say, “Time to brush your teeth.”
  3. Listening Alone: Say, “Time to brush your teeth.”

Using the auditory sandwich will provide necessary repetition and reinforcement of language your child needs for learning.