Hearing is that one skill which the child is born with. The development of hearing starts right when the child is in the womb and the child is born with fully developed hearing capability. The rest is learnt with the experiences over time.
Tracking the developmental milestone:
- Development of inner ear- as mentioned above the hearing ability is developed when the baby is in the womb. The inner ear of the baby, which is the most important part, is fully developed by the time the mother is around 20 weeks pregnant. When in the womb, the baby can hear the mother’s voice and any other sound that goes on around. This paves the way for complete development of the hearing ability of the child by the time it is born.
- The initial reactions post birth- post birth the baby can detect any kind of sound. While in the womb, the child gets acquainted with the sound pattern of its parents’ voices. Hence, post birth, they recognize the parent’s voices and respond to them. The child who is sensitive may often get startled on hearing some sudden or loud noise. On the other hand, a child who is of a calmer composure doesn’t react that strongly.
- Responding to sounds- when the child gets a little older, around 2-3 months, it begins responding positively to sounds which are familiar and soothing. During this time the baby characteristically calms down on hearing the parent’s voice.
- Imitating sounds- by the time the child reaches 4 to 6 months, it learns to find out the source of any sound. During this stage they would make different sounds or cooing. During this time baby’s are more alert towards various noises.
- Babbling responses- once a child learns to look for sources of a sound,they would try to respond back to it. At 8 months the baby gains the ability to distinguish one tone of voice from another and also has the ability to respond accordingly to the changes of tones. In other words, during this time the child can identify the subtleties of tones.
By the time the child reaches one year , its ability to hear a sound and respond to it will be a lot strong. They will learn to recognize their name when called. Gradually the child will get used to hearing new things and responding accordingly.
Parents can encourage a child’s learning and hearing abilities by reading to them, exposing them to different sounds and talking to them. All these will help the child to respond to varied sound stimuli. It is important to protect the child from any kind of ear infection as well as exposure to too loud noises.
In case the child constantly doesn’t respond to noises in the environment or the parents’ voices it is important to get them checked for hearing loss.