World Hearing Day | Hearing Development of a Baby

01 March 2017 - By GENWORKS

Babies use their ears to take in massive amounts of information about the world around them. Hearing also enables them to learn language and stimulates brain development. That’s why it’s so important to identify and address hearing problems as soon as possible.

Your baby should receive a hearing screening test shortly after birth. This is what at GENWORKS we call #GoldenHour.

When hearing develops

The inner ear is fully developed by about 20 weeks of pregnancy, and babies are born with fully developed hearing – so your baby is ready to listen and learn from the get-go.

How hearing develops

From birth, babies pay close attention to voices, especially high-pitched ones. Your baby will respond to familiar sounds (like you or your partner talking) and probably startle at loud or unexpected noises.

How your baby responds to sounds depends in part on temperament. A more sensitive baby may jump at every little noise, for example, while a calmer baby may take more sounds in stride.

By around 2 months, most babies get quiet when they hear familiar voices and make vowel sounds like ohh. Don’t worry if your little one sometimes looks away while you’re talking or reading to her, but do tell her doctor if she doesn’t seem to respond to your voice at all or doesn’t startle at sounds in the environment.

At about 4 months, babies start to look for the source of a sound, and by 6 months they try to imitate sounds. By 8 months, they babble and respond to changes in tone of voice. By your baby’s first birthday, she’ll probably say single words like “ma-ma” and “da-da” and respond to her own name.

What’s next

Your baby will continue to use hearing to make sense of the world and to learn to communicate.

Even though the sense of hearing is up and running at birth, the portions of the brain that respond to complex sounds and attach meaning to what is heard continue to develop until about age 12.