Promoting and protecting the health and safety of all Idahoans

Your Baby's Hearing Checklist

Birth to 3 Months 

  • Reacts to loud sounds
  • Is soothed by your voice
  • Turns head to you when you speak
  • Is awakened by loud voices and sounds
  • Smiles when spoken to
  • Seems to know your voice, and quiets down if crying

3 to 6 Months

  • Looks up or turns toward a new sound
  • Responds to "no" and changes in your tone of voice
  • Imitates his/her own voice
  • Enjoys rattles and other toys that make sounds
  • Begins to repeat sounds (such as "ooh", "aah", and "ba-ba")
  • Becomes scared by loud voices

6 to 10 Months 

  • Responds to his/her own name, a telephone ringing, or someone's voice (even when these sounds are not loud)
  • Knows the words for common things (cup, shoe) and sayings ("bye-bye")
  • Makes babbling sounds, even when alone
  • Starts to respond to requests such as "Come here"
  • Looks at things or pictures when someone talks about them

10 to 15 Months

  • Plays with own voice, enjoying the sound and feel of it
  • Points to or looks at familiar objects or people when asked to do so
  • Imitates simple words and sounds; may use a few single words meaningfully
  • Enjoys games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake

15 to 18 Months

  • Follows simple directions, such as "Give me the ball"
  • Uses words he/she has learned often
  • Uses 2-3 word sentences to talk about and ask for things
  • Knows 10-20 words

18 to 24 Months

  • Understands simple yes/no questions ("Are you hungry?")
  • Understands simple phrases ("in the cup", "on the table")
  • Enjoys being read to
  • Points to pictures when asked

24 to 36 months

  • Understands "not now" and "no more"
  • Chooses things by size (big, little)
  • Follows simple directions such as "Get your shoes" or "Drink your milk"
  • Understands many action words (run, jump)

Talk to your doctor if you think your child has a hearing problem.  The following are some common risk factors:

  • Do others in your family, including brothers and sisters, have a hearing problem?
  • Did the child's mother have medical problems in pregnancy or delivery (serious illness or injury, drugs or medications)?
  • Was the baby born early (premature)?
  • Did the baby have physical problems at birth?
  • Does the child rub or pull on his/her ear(s) often?
  • Has the child had scarlet fever?
  • Has the child had meningitis?
  • Has the child had multiple ear infections in the past year?
  • Does the child have cold, allergies, and ear infections often?

For more information about hearing and hearing loss, or speech and language problems, check out our Idaho Sound Beginnings website, call Idaho CareLine at 2-1-1, or write to:

Idaho Sound Beginnings
450 W. State St., 5th floor
Boise, ID 83720-0036

Sound Beginnings Logo and link to site Idaho Sounds Beginnings duck logo with link to their home page.Idaho Sound Beginnings Hearing Screening