What and when can a fetus hear?

Questions regarding the auditory capacities of a fetus are not new as expecting parents are often in doubt about the various features and characteristics of the fetus. There have been studies in the past which prove the beginning of the development of the auditory system at the 18th week of pregnancy and the process continuing till the child is 5 to 6 months of age.Everything that the fetus hears will contribute to this process. Following is the description on what the fetus can hear at different stages of development.

  • At the second month of pregnancy, ears start to develop as tiny folds of skin on the sides of the head of the embryo. After the 8th week, the embryo becomes a fetus.
  • The ears begin to stick out from the head at 18 weeks, and subsequently, the fetus might become able to hear, as by this time, the brain would start designating separate areas for various senses.
  • 22 to 24 weeks: the fetus start hearing low-frequency noises from outside of the womb. In the course of growth, the fetus would be able to distinguish an increasing number of different sounds.
  • 25 weeks of pregnancy to 5-6 months of age: This is the most vital period in the auditory development and by the end of this period, a normal child would be able to locate where the sound comes from and start responding to it.

Studies have proved that fetus can benefit from hearing speech and music.Specific parts of the auditory system require these noises for their proper development. But prolonged exposure to extremely loud noises could be detrimental to the auditory health of the fetus