Back to fact sheets
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Fact sheet header Fact sheet header

Hearing milestones for your baby fact sheet

Your baby’s hearing milestones

Your baby’s ability to hear can affect how their speech, language and communication skills develop in their first few years of life. There are many things that can be done if hearing loss is found, but it is important that it is identified as early as possible.

Parents and carers play an important role in helping babies to use their hearing and to learn to speak. Your observations are vital in helping to identify hearing loss.

What are hearing milestones?

Babies react to sounds at different ages. If you are concerned that your baby is not meeting these hearing milestones, please talk to your doctor or child health nurse.  It could mean that your baby needs a hearing assessment by an audiologist.

What are the milestones to look out for?

By four months, your baby should:

  • Startle when there is a sudden loud sound, e.g., a door slamming.
  • Settle down, if upset, when they hear your voice.
  • Begin to babble, by making vowel sounds like ‘oohh’ and ‘aahh’.
  • Use a variety of voice sounds, e.g., squeal, coo and laugh.

By seven months, your baby should:

  • Turn towards a sound, or when their name is called.
  • Startle when there is a sudden, loud sound.
  • Smile when they hear your voice.
  • Begin to enjoy noisy toys.
  • Start babbling, e.g., ‘ba-ba’, ‘ma-ma’ and ‘ga-ga’.

By nine months, your baby should:

  • Look around, when called from behind.
  • Startle to loud, sudden sounds.
  • Be babbling, e.g., ‘ma-ma’ or ‘da-da’.
  • Begin to understand common words like ‘no’ and ‘bye bye’.
  • Imitate the speech sounds of others

By 12 months, your baby should:

  • Turn their head in any direction to find an interesting sound or towards the person speaking.
  • Be able to repeat some of the sounds you make.
  • Begin to use single words like ‘mum’ and ‘dad’.
  • Begin to follow simple instructions, e.g., point to body parts when asked.

How do I get more help?

If you are concerned that your baby is not meeting some of these milestones, please talk to your doctor or child health nurse.  It could mean that your baby needs a hearing assessment by an audiologist.

Contact us

Audiology department (3a)
Queensland Children’s Hospital
501 Stanley Street, South Brisbane
t: 07 3068 3710
e: lcch-audio@health.qld.gov.au

In an emergency, always contact 000 for immediate assistance.

Resource No: FS228. Developed by the Audiology Department, Queensland Children’s Hospital. Updated: March 2017. All information contained in this sheet has been supplied by qualified professionals as a guideline for care only. Seek medical advice, as appropriate, for concerns regarding your child’s health.

Fact sheet footer