Your baby can hear at birth, and even before she is born. She is especially sensitive to the voices of her mother and father, possibly because she has often heard them while she was in the womb. She may turn her head toward your voices. Familiar sounds reassure your baby. Calling her in a soft voice can often calm her. Loud or sudden noises, however, will make her jump and may upset her.

Most babies born in Québec have normal hearing. At birth, about six babies in 1,000 may have hearing problems. However, it’s difficult for even the most attentive parents to evaluate a baby’s hearing during the first few months of life. Some hospitals are beginning to offer screening for deafness at birth through a simple, quick and safe test. The test is normally given while the mother and baby are still in hospital.

If your baby doesn’t have this test, you should make sure she reacts to the sound of voices and noises without seeing what is making the noise; for example, the sound of a dog barking behind her head or the doorbell ringing. Normally around the age of 6 to 9 months, she will turn towards the sound of the noise. If this doesn’t happen, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor who can direct you to resource people that can help (audiologist, ORL or ear, nose and throat doctor).

The ears of newborns can stick out somewhat. Nothing can be done to correct it at this age. You can talk to your doctor about it before your child starts school.