Your newborn's hearing in the first month

Thinking & Learning   |   Age: 21 days

Your newborn's hearing in the first month

Unlike your baby’s vision, which takes some time to develop once she is born, her hearing is almost fully developed after birth. Newborns can hear well, but not perfectly because their inner ears are often filled with fluid and are generally underdeveloped. This is why your baby responds so well to exaggerated and high-pitched sounds, and may startle at other unfamiliar sounds. your baby was probably born with the ability to distinguish her mother's voice and respond to it above all others because of her time in the womb. Other voices that are familiar from her time in the womb may also ring a bell for her early on, including sounds like music that she heard often before she was born. Sounds that are new to her at birth may take a little longer to become familiar, but the more your family talks and sings to her, the better she will know the sound of your voices, so make sure to communicate with her early and often.


Chances are that your baby’s hearing was tested at birth, as most states mandate newborn hearing screenings — if not, have it tested within the next 2 months. The two types of newborn screenings are automated auditory brainstem response, and otoacoustic emissions. Both are very quick and painless, and monitor how your baby's ears and brain respond to clicking sounds. You should talk to the doctor if you have any questions about when and how to test your baby's hearing.

Early identification of hearing loss

Identifying hearing loss early is important because babies learn so much, both about how to speak, and about the world around her from sound. Some newborn hearing tests can miss smaller hearing loss, so pay attention to your baby’s development and how things seem to be progressing, and not just the tests. If she does not respond to loud sounds or react to your voice, talk to the doctor. Many factors can influence hearing problems, including genetics, infections, trauma, and damaging noise levels. As your baby ages, have her hearing checked regularly by the doctor.


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