Listening and Speech In the First Two Years

By the time a baby is born, it already has a fully-developed inner ear.  Basically, most babies are born with the full ability to hear.  While dexterity, speech, and even sense of sight are still developing, babies can hear very well. As a matter of fact, this is how they learn to identify people and voices, which helps them learn to speak, of course.


Most babies are already born with the ability to recognize familiar sounds. This is one reason why a newborn might quiet down when held by their parents.  By the third month, though, they should have already learned to make some very basic sounds and will make different crying sounds based upon different needs.

By month number four a baby will respond to tonal shifts in your voice and will look in the direction of sounds.  Also, they might follow along with music and understand that certain toys make certain sounds.  It is imperative during this time that you continue to introduce Audiologie Centre-Ouest sounds to their audible library by reading to them and speaking to them in real, actual words (not baby talk).


By the sixth month, babies are typically babbling in a form of primitive speech.  They will vocalize joy and pain in ways that you could identify as the beginning of a vocabulary.

Within the next six months, a baby will appear recognize more complex words. And they might even respond to certain yes or no requests (often with gestures).  In addition, now a toddler, they will start to use “speech” to get attention (instead of crying) and use more gestures, imitating sounds until they form full words.


Over the course of the second year of life, a baby will still not really have many words in their speech but they will definitely be able to understand them. For example, they will respond to their name and will understand the names or titles of other people (mama, dada, sister, brother, Uncle Joe, Aunt Marie, etc).  They might also understand certain commands and can respond to simple questions in a way that is similar to how an animal learns commands. Basically, they learn to communicate even if words are not fully formed; but can typically answer in one- or two- word phrases.  Or they can make one- or two- word requests (like “more juice” or “play dog”).

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