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Infant Hearing

McLaren Northern Michigan Sound Beginnings

Congratulations on the birth of your baby! We know that you are looking forward to a life with a happy, healthy child. That's why we would like to share some important information about the program at McLaren Northern Michigan to make sure your baby has the best start in learning and speaking. The program name is Sound Beginnings and our goal is to identify hearing problems in babies as early as possible so that we can give them the best opportunity to learn to communicate through speaking.

Hearing loss is the most common birth defect in America. Babies must be able to hear in order to learn to speak. This process starts long before your baby makes his/her first sound. In fact, babies as young as 6 months old are able to tell the difference between their own language and another language. We know that the critical period for learning speech and language is all but over by the time a child is three years old. Without testing, it can be difficult to detect hearing loss. The behavior of babies with hearing loss can be very similar to those with normal hearing. Even babies with hearing loss make babbling sounds and may react to a loud noise, but this does not prove normal hearing for the soft sounds of speech. This is why it is important to identify hearing problems and begin treatment as early as possible.

Follow-Up Testing

To schedule follow-up testing, please call 866.487.3100.

The McLaren Northern Michigan Neurophysiology Department (EEG) is located on the Main Level of the Burns Professional Building. Get Directions.

Please email

Checklist for Hearing and Speech Development

Birth - 3 Months
- Startled by loud noises
- Calmed by familiar voices
- Makes vowel sounds like "ooh" and "aah"
- Squeals, coos, laughs, gurgles

4 - 6 Months
- Makes sounds like "ba," "ga," and "ma"
- Turns eyes and head to sounds
- Uses different voice pitches
- Likes toys that make sounds

7 - 9 Months
- Responds to his or her own name
- Listens to music or singing
- Plays with repeating sounds like "la-la-la"
- Says "da-da" and "ma-ma"
- Understands "no" and "bye-bye"

10 - 12 Months
- Responds differently to happy and angry voices
- Follows simple directions
- Uses 2-3 words in addition to "ma-ma" and "da-da"

13 - 18 Months
- Identifies people, body parts, and toys
- Locates sound in all directions
- Names what he or she wants
- Can say 3-20 words
- Follows one-step simple directions

19 - 24 Months
- Speaks in two-word phrases
- Follows simple commands
- Recognizes sounds - car, dog, doorbell
- Understands approximately 300 words