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Keeping An Eye On Baby’s Hearing

The life of a parent is a busy one. With everything that is going on, it can be easy to miss the early signs of hearing loss. Here are some listening and language development milestones you can use to estimate your baby’s progress. Keep in mind, however, that children develop language at different rates. If you suspect that your child has a hearing loss, contact your pediatrician as soon as possible to set up an appointment.

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0-6 months

Hearing and Listening
  • Can identify the presence of sounds including:
    • Environmental sounds like a ringing cell phone, a running vacuum cleaner, or a barking dog
    • Toys that make sound
    • Music
  • Startled by loud sounds
  • Smiles when spoken to
Speech and Language Development
  • Babbles and coos, making sounds, like “ba ba,” “la la,” and “da da”
  • Cries differently for different needs
  • Laughs
  • Expresses excitement and displeasure differently

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6-12 months

Hearing and Listening
  • Enjoys playing peek-a-boo or pat-a-cake
  • Turns to look in the direction of sounds and noises
  • Listens when spoken to
  • Understands simple words, like “mommy,” “daddy,” “no,” “bye-bye.”
  • Recognizes words for familiar objects, like “cup,” “milk,” “book”
  • Responds to simple phrases, like “wave bye-bye,” “all gone,” “where’s daddy?”
  • Starts responding to requests, like “come here” or “want more?”
  • Associates sounds with objects like the doorbell or telephone
Speech and Language Development
  • Babbling should sound “speech-like” with both long and short groups of sounds strung together like “tatata,” “bababa”
  • Uses non-crying sounds to get and keep your attention
  • Gestures to communicate, like waving goodbye or raising arms to be picked up
  • Begins using first few recognizable words like “mama,” “hi,” and “no”

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1-2 years

Hearing and Listening
  • Responds to simple commands, like “kick the ball” or “get your book”
  • Follows easy sentences, like “all gone,” and “where’s the ____?”
  • Can point to some body parts when asked
  • Enjoys stories, songs and rhymes and can point at pictures in books when asked
  • Continues to build vocabulary
Speech and Language Development
  • Uses the word “no”
  • Strings together two-word sentences, like “go bye-bye,” and “where’s mommy?”
  • Uses a variety of consonants at the beginning of words.
  • Adds three to four new words each month
  • Uses true words:
    • 12 − 18 months: 3 − 10 words
    • 18 − 24 months: 10 − 100 words

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2-3 years

Hearing and Listening
  • Can follow and understand sentences about a picture during reading time
  • Understands “where” questions
  • Recognizes 200 or more words
Speech and Language Development
  • Combines two words and sometimes three words, like “mommy read book” or “daddy sleep”
  • Makes animal sounds Uses his or her own name
  • Has a word for almost everything
  • Uses 200 or more words, and adds one to two words each week

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3-4 years

Hearing and Listening
  • Responds when called from another room
  • Listens to the television, radio or computer at the same sound level as others
  • Can remember what’s been said and repeat it back when prompted by a picture
Speech and Language Development
  • Speaks in sentences using 3-5 words.
  • Answers “who,” “what,” “where,” and “why” questions
  • Tells stories about activities that happened at play dates, pre-school or daycare
  • Uses 500 or more words

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Author Details
The HearingLikeMe editorial team includes Jill von Bueren, Kirsten Brackett and Lisa Goldstein.
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The HearingLikeMe editorial team includes Jill von Bueren, Kirsten Brackett and Lisa Goldstein.