Babies' Babbles Linked to Hearing Ability

You know those precious gaa gaa goo goo sounds your baby makes can melt your heart. But it turns out your little one loves to hear those sounds as much as you do!

A study conducted by the University of Missouri found that "infant vocalizations are primarily motivated by infants' ability to hear their own babbling."

The researchers examined a mix of babies, some with normal hearing and others that were candidates for cochlear implants, and found that the babies who had suffered hearing loss were less likely to babble as much as their peers (though "non-speech" sounds like crying and laughing were not affected by this either way).

The good news is after the babies with hearing loss received their cochlear implants, their levels of babbling reached the same as those who could hearand in a span of just four months!

"Babies learn so much through sound in the first year of their lives," Mary Fagan, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders in the MU School of Health Professions, said in a news release. "We know learning from others is important to infants' development, but hearing allows infants to explore their own vocalizations and learn through their own capacity to produce sounds."

The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that up to 3 out of every 1,000 infants are born with some sort of hearing impairment. Is your child one of them? Read on to learn more about caring for a baby with hearing loss. 

Photo of baby courtesy of Shutterstock.

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