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While still inside the mother, the infant could hear many internal noises, such as the mother’s heartbeat, as well as many external noises including human voices, music and most other sounds. Therefore, although a newborn’s ears may have some mucous and fluid, he or she can hear sound from birth.

For unknown reason, newborns usually respond to a female’s voice over a male’s. This may explain why people will unknowingly raise the pitch of their voice when talking to newborns. The sound of other human voices, especially the mother’s, can have a calming or soothing effect on the newborn. Conversely, loud or sudden noises will startle and scare a newborn.

Otoacoustic emissions are the basis of a simple, non-invasive, test for hearing defects in newborn babies and in children who are too young to cooperate in conventional hearing tests. Many western countries now have national programmes for the universal hearing screening of newborn babies. The primary screening tool is a test for the presence of a click-evoked OAE.

See alsoEdit

See alsoEdit

References & BibliographyEdit

Key textsEdit


  • S. Trehub & B. Schneider (1985)(Eds.), Auditory development in infancy (p. 101-114). New York, NY: Plenum.


Colombo, J. (1985). Recent studies in early auditory development. In G. Whitehurst (Ed.), Annals of child development (Vol. 3, pp. 53-98). New York, NY: JAI Press. (Note: Read only pages 53-73).

Muir, D., & Clifton, R. K. (1985). Infants' orientation to the location of sound sources. In G. Gottlieb & N. Krasnegor (Eds.), Measurement of vision and audition in the first year of postnatal life (pp. 171-194). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Olsho, L. W. (1984). Infant frequency discrimination. Infant Behavior and Development, 7, 27-35.

Olsho, L. W., Schoon, C., Sakai, R., Turpin, R., & Sperduto, V. (1982). Auditory frequency discrimination in infancy. Developmental Psychology, 18, 721-726.

Schneider, B., & Trehub, S. (1985). Behavioral assessment of basic auditory abilities. In S. Trehub & B. Schneider (Eds.), Auditory development in infancy (p. 101-114). New York, NY: Plenum.

Schneider, B., Trehub, S., & Bull, D. (1980). High frequency sensitivity in infants. Science, 207, 1003-1004

Additional materialEdit



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