Hearing is critical for developing speech and language. Even before a child begins to talk they are hearing speech around them and starting to learn to understand what the people around them are saying. What children hear affects their babbling. Research has shown that infants initially babble sounds used in many different languages but after a few months, their babbling changes so they are only using sounds that they hear. Children who hear Chinese make different sounds than children who hear English. This makes it clear that children are using the sound around them as soon as they are born. It is critical that children hear from birth. Parents know their children best and are in the best position to observe development.
• By 2-3 months a child should be comforted by mother's voice
• By 3 months a child should smile when spoken to
• By 6 months a child should be beginning to babble
• By 12 months a child should be saying his first word
If you have any question about your child's ability to hear, arrange to have your child's hearing tested.
Hearing should be screened at birth and 2-3 times a year during the first few years of life and yearly throughout school years. This may be done in the pediatrician's office or at school. If there is a real question about hearing, a child should have a diagnostic evaluation and not a screen.