Every minute that they’re awake awake, babies take in the sights, sounds, smells, and feel of the world around them. Although it may take a while to grasp what all this information means, your baby can still find joy and comfort in the familiar faces, voices, and sensations of everyday life.
What Can My Baby Hear?
Your baby has been hearing sounds since way back in the womb. Mother’s heartbeat, the gurgles of her digestive system, and even the sounds of her voice and the voices of other family members are part of a baby’s world before birth. Once your baby is born, the sounds of the outside world come in loud and clear.
Your baby loves to hear your voice, so talk, babble, sing, and coo away. Take special advantage of your baby’s own “talking” to have a “conversation.” If you hear your baby make a sound, repeat it and wait for him or her to make another. You are teaching your baby valuable lessons about tone, pacing, and taking turns when talking to someone else.
Babies this age seem to respond best to a higher-pitched voice, which is why most people naturally raise the pitch of their voices and exaggerate their speech when talking to a baby. This is fine — studies have shown that “baby talk” doesn’t delay speech development. In fact, responding to your baby encourages speech. Feel free to mix in some regular adult words and tone with the baby talk. It may seem early, but you’re setting the stage for your baby’s first words.
Besides voices, your baby will probably enjoy listening to music (play a variety of styles) and may be fascinated by the routine sounds of life as well. Keep your baby nearby as you rattle pans while making dinner, and let him or her sit in a baby seat within earshot of older siblings laughing and playing. Baby rattles and musical mobiles are other good ways to stimulate your baby’s hearing.
Your baby probably had a hearing screening before being released from the hospital (most states require this). If not, or if your baby was born at home or a birthing center, it’s important to have a hearing screening as soon as possible. Most children who are born with a hearing loss can be diagnosed through a hearing screening.