Babys Hearing

Your babys hearing sense is the most developed of all the senses, at birth. And, it continues to develop through the first year. Learn the important hearing developmental milestones and how to watch for the red flags in your babys hearing development.

Last Updated: 22 October 2020

Babys Hearing
Babys Hearing

Your baby’s first cooing is not a random event. It is the result of her listening to your sounds over a period of few weeks and trying to imitate your words. In other words, your baby’s hearing development is closely related to her speech development. Learn more about how babies perceive sounds and the development delays in hearing to watch for.


Believe it or not, your baby has been hearing you even in the womb. If you spoke to your baby bump during pregnancy or read a good night book or sang a lullaby, she has been hearing it all the time. Yes, baby’s hearing development begins in the womb and by birth your baby can in fact recognize your voice.

Newborn Hearing Screening Test

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly recommends screening tests for hearing for all newborns. At birth, your baby’s hearing screening test is likely to proceed in one of the two following ways:

·         By measuring the brain response to gentle auditory stimulus

·         By measuring the sound waves produced in the inner ear in response to gentle stimulus

Both the tests are non-invasive, safe, and painless and take around 5 to 10 minutes. If expected results of the tests are not obtained soon after birth, you might be asked to come after a few days for a re-test. The purpose of the newborn hearing screening test is to detect early any hearing loss so that timely medical support can be provided.

How is your baby’s hearing at birth?

1.       At birth, your baby will be able to hear sounds though her ears might be still covered in the fluid for a while. Your baby can recognize familiar voices like the mom’s and dad’s. She will respond to the voices too.

2.       Loud noises can startle the baby and it is good to keep them away from constant, discordant noises like the sounds in a noisy industry.

3.       Your baby may not turn towards the direction from where the sound is coming which can take a little while.

Between 0 to 3 months

From birth to 3 months of age, your baby must check mark the following developmental milestones for hearing:

·         Within the first month, your baby must turn towards you when you are talking to her, at least most of the times. If you keep talking to her for long, her brain might become too tired of stimulation to hold her attention to you. It is alright if her focus shifts elsewhere after sometime of you beginning to talk to her.  

·         Loud sounds must startle your baby. Babies can perceive differences in sound frequencies and can also respond to it. If a sudden loud noise makes no reaction in your baby by three months (except while sleeping), you must report to your doctor.

·         When you are feeding your baby and there is a sudden noise or someone talking, your baby must stop feeding and turn towards the sound.

·         Most babies begin to make cooing sounds by three months. It is your baby’s way of trying to verbally respond to what you are talking to her.

Between 4 and 6 months

Your baby’s hearing is more advanced now. She can now recognize the different tones of your voice. When you sing to her, she might respond excitedly. When you recite a story, she might keenly listen and observe your lip movements.  By six months, your baby must reach the following hearing milestones:

·         Begin to utter simple sounds like ma, ba, or pa

·         Show excitement and curiosity towards toys that make sounds and music

·         Begin to coordinate between hearing and vision, that is, moving the eyes towrds the direction of sound

Between 6 and 12 months

By her first birthday, your baby can understand short instructions like sit, drink, etc. Your baby can identify objects with their respective words, like plate, doll, etc. When pointed to an object using its word, such as, ball, she will turn towards the object. She is already babbling a lot of sounds which at first might make no meaning to you, but that is her way of communicating to you and is actually trying to imitate the sounds that you make.


Your baby’s hearing ability continues to expand to greater depth in the next few years, at least up to the age of five. Hearing loss can be a birth defect but know that it is not the only reason. Ear infections or some types of fever can cause hearing loss at any age. If at any time you find a change in your baby’s hearing ability, you must consult your doctor. 

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