Checking a child’s hearing development is done with hearing tests. These tests are commonly performed after a child is born, but what should you do after the hearing tests?
This is a common question parents often ask me: What their child should be doing, and how they should be listening at a certain age? I’ve put together this brief guide that you can use as a comparative reference for the first years of your child’s hearing development. It’s always better to get help early on, so if you have any questions about your child’s specific hearing, the most important thing you can do is speak with his or her doctor right away.
A Hearing Development Checklist
At 3 months, your child will begin their understanding of sound. He or she should react to loud sounds and be able to recognize the voices of his or her parents.
At 6 months, your child should start understanding the nuances in sounds. He or she should be able to distinguish between happy or angry tones in voices, look around to see where sounds come from, and enjoy playing with noisy toys.
At 9 months, your child will begin to understand the sounds of language. He or she should be able to tell the direction from which a sound comes, react to his or her name as well as simple requests like “clap your hands”, and make babbling noises.
At 12 months, your child should be understanding some language. He or she should understand a variety of words and requests, and say his or her first word.
At 18 months, your child should show further understanding of language. He or she should be able to follow simple directions, like “Get your shoes”, point to body parts when asked, like “Where’s your nose?”;, and have a vocabulary of at least 6 words.
At 2 years, your child should be able to understand and use language. He or she should be able to respond to yes or no questions; point to the right object in a picture, like “Show me the dog” in a picture with different animals; and start combining words into non-grammatical phrases.
At 3 years, your child should be speaking lots. He or she should be able to recognize familiar sounds and songs, and speak clearly enough for the whole family to understand.
At 4 years, your child should be enjoying speaking to lots of people. He or she should be able to respond to questions fully, speak clearly enough for anyone to understand most of what is said, and create sentences of four or five words.
At 5 years, your child’s speaking and sentence construction should be improved. He or she should be able to sing children’s songs, create complex sentences, and answer a variety of questions. Again, if your have any questions about your child’s hearing development, it is important to talk with a doctor or hearing professional. They can help evaluate your child’s hearing and give advice as to what, if anything, you should do.