Hearing is the first sense babies develop while they are still in the womb. They can hear sounds and their mother’s voice is most clear to them. After birth, babies gradually pick up sounds around them and by the time they are one month old, their hearing is fully developed. At this point, they hear and respond to their parent’s sounds because they are comfortable and familiar with them. They may take time to respond to other sounds. Since the hearing ability keeps developing as they grow, babies hear and respond to repeated sounds promptly by the time they are one year old.
Development of Babies Hearing Ability After Birth
1. Newborn to Two Months
Babies learn to distinguish their mother's voice from that of others while in the womb and respond to them before others. So, newborns respond perfectly to their mother’s voice, especially when comforting them or singing lullabies to them. Gradually, they pay attention to sounds around them and respond to highly pitched sounds. Sudden and loud sounds startle babies.
2. At Three Months
At 3 months, the hearing ability should be fully developed and babies are more alert and receptive. For instance, your baby may look at you or look for you upon hearing your voice. Sometimes they respond by making gurgling noises; their way of trying to speak to you and develop speech patterns.
3. From Four to Six Months
Within this age bracket, babies respond to sounds excitedly. They may even smile when called out by parents or their caregivers. They copy the sounds they hear or mimic people as they speak. By the seventh month, babies will listen and respond perfectly to unfamiliar sounds.
4. At Twelve Months
The final hearing milestone happens at one year. Your baby can recognize and react to understated and subtle voices and sounds too. For instance, the baby can recognize and react to their favourite cartoon voices or sounds of their favourite songs.
What You Can Do to Develop Your Baby’s Hearing Ability
As a parent, you have a duty to propel your baby to achieve his/her hearing milestones. Here are ways you can help your baby develop their hearing ability.
- Converse with your baby constantly and have them around when having a conversation with your partner.
- Sing lullabies and nursery rhymes to your baby daily to help them develop hearing and concentration skills.
- Because babies relax and become comfortable when they hear a parent’s voice, read to them at varying intensity to monitor whether they can hear and respond to low and high pitched sounds or voices.
Hearing Screening for Infants
It is advisable to monitor your baby’s hearing ability by studying their reaction to different sounds and comparing the results with the aforementioned hearing development milestones. If you notice any delayed developments or possible hearing problems, consult a paediatric doctor for a checkup. The hearing checkup allows early detection of hearing problems and parents are provided with support and beneficial information on how to assist their baby.