When Can Babies Hear?

When Can Babies Hear?

Around 18 weeks, an unborn baby can start to hear noises inside the carrier’s body, such as their heartbeat, and shortly after, they can start to hear voices and things outside the body. While babies are born with all five senses, not all are fully developed. However, hearing is. Therefore, they may crave comforting sounds such as the liquid flowing around the womb, the heartbeat, and or their mom or dad's voice. Babies are constantly growing and developing, and it’s never too soon to start aiding their development. Keep reading to learn more about when babies can start to hear and what you can do to comfort them while promoting healthy development. 

Can a fetus hear?

Hearing is one of the senses babies are born with that is fully developed. At about 18 weeks, a fetus or unborn baby can start to hear sounds inside the body, and around 27-29 weeks, they can hear outside sounds too. An example of a sound inside the body is the mother’s heartbeat, and an example outside the body is people’s voices. Full-term babies hear about the same as adults. This could explain why we use sound machines shushing noises and other sound mechanisms to calm a newborn baby. We are trying to mimic the noisy womb they’ve grown accustomed to. 

When can newborns fully hear?

By about 7 months, an unborn baby can hear sounds and voices outside the body. While you can’t teach your baby anything until after they are born, you may be able to read them books or sing them songs to help them gain familiarity. 

How do you check if a newborn can hear?

Ensuring your baby’s senses are working properly is important. Most doctors should check the newborn's hearing at or before the one-month milestone following delivery. Post-delivery can be a chaotic time, from coping with the side effects of labor to being blinded by the overwhelming feeling of joy and love. The excitement is only beginning. Most hospitals will screen the baby's hearing before you go home. Before checking out, ask the hospital if hearing has been checked or if you need to return for another visit to check hearing. Hearing tests for babies often just take a few minutes, and the baby doesn’t even need to be awake. If your baby does not pass their initial screening, they may need to be re-tested. If a second test is failed, a full hearing test prior to three months of age may be required. 

What To Expect for Babies Developing Hearing

You don’t have to be a licensed doctor, though, to look for signs of healthy hearing. As you observe your baby at home, use the following developmental milestones to monitor their hearing.

  • 0-3 months: 
    • React to loud sounds 
    • Smile or show relief when spoken to (especially by a familiar voice)
  • 4-6 months: 
    • Music starts to capture attention
    • Follows sounds with eyes
    • Loud noises can upset the baby
    • Interest in rattles and other noisy toys peaks
  • 7-12 months: 
    • Responds to their own name 
    • Responds to basic requests such as come here
    • Look at objects you are talking about

What if my newborn doesn't react to loud noises?

Full-term babies have the same level of hearing as an adult, or they should. If you feel your baby has hearing loss or abnormalities, contact your pediatrician as soon as possible. 1 in 6 babies have early childhood hearing loss. The sooner you can identify hearing loss, the sooner you can start working to correct it. 

How can I stimulate my baby's hearing?

Some simple ways to stimulate a baby’s hearing are rattles, mobiles with sound, audio books with sounds, and toys. Babies may also enjoy music. Naturally, babies have a sense of curiosity for the sounds of life, too.

When do babies start to respond to sound?

The day your baby starts to look at you when you talk to them or smile back is a day you won’t forget. As you eagerly anticipate these milestones, you might be wondering when they are coming. Your baby may recognize your voice before you realize it, though. Around three months, babies can recognize a parent’s voice, and it may even calm them. This means as you lay them down to sleep, talking to them may help them calm down, but they may need physical comfort as well. Our Dream Weighted Swaddle features a gentle weight and CoverCalm® Technology. As your baby is snuggly swaddled the gentle works to naturally reduce stress and increase relaxation. With three ways to wear the swaddle and an easy-to-use swaddle band that simply wraps around the torso, our Dream Weighted Swaddle can make one of your dreams come true - sleep!

Our Dream Weighted Swaddle is designed for babies 0-6 months. When it’s time to transition to a sleep sack, try our Dream Weighted Transition Swaddle or our Dream Weighted Sleep Sack. If you love our designs and quality, but prefer no weight, try our collection of non-weighted sleep solution products for babies. Soon enough, your baby will be able to give you more cues as to what their preferences are. Around six months your baby may react to familiar or new sounds by turning their head or smiling. Around 12 months, your baby should start responding to their name and may even call you by yours. Remember, good sleep promotes healthy development. Prioritize it. 

Conclusion - The Importance of  Sonic Stimulation

While we hope for a healthy baby, hearing issues are not rare. If your family has a genetic history of hearing issues, you may want to bring this forward at birth. Your pediatrician can connect you with an audiologist or hearing specialist. Some babies experience hearing loss but with proper support, they can develop normal speech and language on a normal timeline. In some cases, babies born with hearing loss do not have any known risk factors. About 1 in 6 babies is born with hearing loss.

Nothing is more important than your baby’s health and safety. Being aware of milestones to pay attention to and things to ask your doctor about, can help you ensure you do everything you can as a parent. 

One of our primary jobs as parents is to promote healthy development and care for our babies. Discovering senses and capabilities builds confidence - a rewarding experience to witness. While you may worry about hurting your baby’s delicate little ears, they are more durable than you think. Providing your baby with sonic stimulation can help with auditory development, and potentially even speech later on. Babies come from a rather noisy womb filled with unusual sounds, and they may long for those sounds. By using a Dream Sound Machine and Swaddle you can help your baby find comfort as they transition into this great big world they will grow to love.

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