When Will My Baby...?

When Will My Baby Respond To Noises?

Whilst your baby has been able to hear since they were in the womb, their ability to respond clearly to sound does not come until later. The first twelve months of their life will see a huge change in how they react to noises.


Your newborn will be aware of the different sounds that are around them, particularly those that are high pitched. They may be startled at loud and unexpected noises (like adult sneezing) and also respond to ones that they know such as the sound of your voice. Their hearing is more sensitive than yours, so be careful to protect their ears and avoid very noisy places such as sports arenas or concerts.

You will be offered a hearing test shortly after they are born. This might take place in a hospital or at home. Don't worry if this test doesn't show a clear result as there are several reasons why this could happen, such as baby being unsettled or them having temporary fluid in their ears. If the first test is inconclusive you will be offered a follow up assessment at a later date.

One Month

By the time your baby is one month old their hearing is fully developed. It will take them a little longer to be able to consistently respond to sound though, though.

It is never too early to start helping your baby to get used to and enjoying lots of different noises and sounds. Try reading to them, singing nursery rhymes or playing music for them.

Three Months

By now your baby's temporal lobe has become more active. This part of the brain helps to process things that your baby hears, smells and sees and, as a result, they will become more aware of what is going on around them. Learning so much and having so many new experiences is tiring for your baby. They may seem to lose interest in new things quickly. However, this is probably because they have had enough stimulation and need a rest.

Four Months

By four months your baby will probably recognise a number of noises, such as the sound of your voice and may show pleasure in hearing them. They will be interested in watching you speak and may even try to copy you. The consonants, "b" and "m" are among the first sounds that a baby makes.

Seven Months

By the time your baby has reached seven months they will be able to recognise the direction that sounds are coming from and be able to turn accordingly. Their ability to listen to quiet noises has also developed and, if there are no other distractions, they can hear a whisper. Between now and ten months they should respond to their name.

Twelve Months

When your baby has reached a year their ability to respond to noises should be excellent. They will be able to recognise their favourite rhymes and songs and may even want to join in.

Even babies with perfect hearing can be unfazed by noises around them and can happily sleep through a range of sounds such as doors slamming and dogs barking. So there isn't any need to 'silence' your house when they sleep or be worried that they aren't waking when their siblings are making lots of noise.

Whilst hearing issues are uncommon, factors such as time spent in neo-natal care, low Apgar scores at birth and exposure to rubella during pregnancy can increase the risk of problems. If you have any concerns, speak to your GP or health visitor.

All babies develop at very different rates and if your baby hasn't reached the same milestones as other people's babies the chances are there is nothing to worry about. However, if you are concerned that your child is very late in reaching one or a number of milestones then it is sensible to seek further professional advice from either your health visitor or GP. We have more information on the variable rates of development in babies here.

Site Links

This internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult a doctor or other healthcare professional.