How Listening StartsAuditory development begins in utero and after birth the intricate process continues. While in utero, a baby can hear their mom talk and learns to recognize their native language. After birth, a baby has a preference for their native language but can still distinguish sounds in other languages until their 6-7 months old. After this age, a baby begins to focus in on the sounds of their native language and loses the ability to distinguish between sounds in non-native languages by their first birthday.
While it may seems devastating that the prime time to learn other languages ends by 12 months old, this is just the brain being efficient and specialized. It's "use it or lose it" in action as synaptic pruning. Because of our brain's design for efficiency, we've gotta develop the auditory system and language as much as possible during this critical time period. That's why children who are deaf or hard of hearing need hearing amplification (hearing aids, cochlear implants) and to receive early intervention services asap.
Stages of Listening
- Recognizing that there is a sound.
- Example: Turning your head & opening/widening your eyes.
- Finding where a sound is coming from.
- Example: Turning your head immediately to a sound. You can point to where the sound came from.
- Recognizing whether sounds are the same or different.
- Example: Hearing "meow" and "woof" and knowing that they are different.
- Know what a sound is.
- Example: Hearing "meow" and knowing it's coming from a cat.
- Hearing something, knowing what it means and thinking about it.
- Example: You hear your mom call your name and you know that it means you need to go in the house.
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