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Hearing and speech development milestones – a guideline(Birth-1year)

Hearing and speech development milestones – a guideline(Birth-1year)

By Talia Aronowitz

Please note the following is a rough guideline of the different early hearing and speech milestones and cannot be used as a replacement for an assessment by a professional speech and language therapist or audiologist. This guideline represents the average age by which most children who are learning one language will reach the listed milestones. Children typically do not master all items in a category until they reach the upper age limit in each age range. If your child has not developed one skill within an age range it does not necessarily mean that your child is delayed. However, if your child is not doing the majority of items in an age range please consult a speech-language therapist or an audiologist. Please consult an audiologist if your child does not seem to be reaching the hearing milestones on time or consult a speech therapist if your child does not seem to be reaching the speech milestones on time.

Birth-3 Months

Hearing and Understanding

  • Startles to loud sounds
  • Smiles or quiets when spoken to
  • Seems to recognize your voice and quiets if crying
  • Increases or decreases sucking behaviour in response to sound

Speech

  • Makes pleasure sounds (cooing)
  • Cries differently for different needs
  • Smiles when sees you

4-6 months

Hearing

  • Moves eyes in direction of sounds
  • Responds to changes in tone of your voice
  • Notices toys that make sounds
  • Pays attention to music

4-6 months

Speech

  • Vocalizes excitement and displeasure
  • Babbling sounds more speech-like with many different sounds, including p, b and m
  • Laughs
  • Makes gurgling sounds when left alone and when playing with you

7 months – 1 year

Hearing and Understanding

  • Enjoys games like peek-a-boo
  • Turns and looks in direction of sounds
  • Listens when spoken to
  • Recognizes words for common items like “cup”, “shoe”, “book”, or “juice”
  • Begins to respond to requests (e.g. “Come here” or “Want more?”)

Speech

  • Babbling has both long and short groups of sounds such as “tata upup bibibibi”
  • Uses speech or non-crying sounds to get and keep attention
  • Uses gestures to communication (waving, holding arms to be picked up)
  • Imitates different speech sounds
  • Says one or two words (hi, dog,dada, mama) around first birthday, although sounds may not be clear

Additional tips:

  • Check your child’s ability to hear, and pay attention to ear problems and infections, especially when they keep occurring. Children are prone to middle ear infections.
  • Reinforce your baby’s communication attempts by looking at him or her, speaking, and imitating his or her vocalizations. Repeat his or her laughter and facial expressions.
  • Teach your baby to imitate actions, such as peekaboo, clapping, blowing kisses and waving bye-bye. These games teach turn taking that is needed for conversation.
  • Talk while you are doing things, such as dressing, bathing, and feeding .Talk about where you are going, what you will do once you get there, and who and what you’ll see.
  • Count toes and fingers.
  • Name colours.

(adapted from www.asha.org)