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A guideline to hearing and speech milestones (1 year-2 years)

A guideline to hearing and speech milestones (1 year-2 years)

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.

What should my child be able to do?

Hearing and Understanding:

  • Points to a few body parts when asked.
  • Follows simple commands and understands simple questions (“Roll the ball,” “Kiss the baby,” “Where’s your shoe?”).
  • Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymes.
  • Points to pictures in a book when named.


  • Says more words every month.
  • Uses some one- or two- word questions (“Where kitty?” “Go bye-bye?” “What’s that?”).
  • Puts two words together (“more cookie,” “no juice,” “mommy book”).
  • Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words.


The Role of the Parent:

While some types of hearing loss are unavoidable, there are things you can do to protect your baby’s hearing:

  • Keep things out of your child’s ears , including earbuds.
  • Help your child stay as healthy as possible – to prevent ear infections.
  • Protect your child’s ears from loud, prolonged noises. (A good rule of thumb is that the noise level should be low enough that you’re comfortable talking over it.)

To help your child’s development, look for ways to expose her to a variety of sounds. Here are some things you might do in the course of your day together:

  • Talk while doing things and going places. When taking a walk in the stroller, for example, point to familiar objects (e.g., cars, trees, and birds) and say their names. “I see a dog. The dog says ‘woof.’ This is a big dog. This dog is brown.”
  • Read to your child, no matter how young she is. Try to find books with large pictures and one or two words or a simple phrase or sentence on each page. When reading to your child, take time to name and describe the pictures on each page.
  • Have your child point to pictures that you name. Ask your child to name pictures. He or she may not respond to your naming requests at first. Just name the pictures for him or her. One day, he or she will surprise you by coming out with the picture’s name. Explore music.
  • You don’t need to bombard your baby with words, but if she seems interested, tell her what you’re doing. For example, if you’re packing her diaper bag, give her a play-by-play description of what goes where.
  • Tune in to what your baby hears and comment on it. Whether it’s the hum of an airplane engine or the purr of a cat, identifying what your baby hears will help her understand her environment.




  1. Hi Tali

    I am looking at the milestones in the article and wondering when within the year they should achieve these milestones as 1-2 years is a big difference so for example when should they say words when should they point to body parts etc