When you're pregnant, when does the baby start to hear you?
Hearing develops quite early in fetal life. The latest work suggests that the fetus responds to sounds at about 16 weeks of gestation or even as early as 12 weeks. The response to speech sounds seems to be closer to 24 weeks. However, these assessments seem to be pushed earlier with each new research report, so stay tuned -- new information may be coming. Clearly by the third trimester, the fetus is learning a lot through the sound environment. He's listening particularly to the familiar voices and language to which he is exposed. The fetus hears his mother's voice better than others as it is transmitted directly by vibrations through her body as well as through the fetal ear catching sounds from outside the womb. These sounds are not masked by mom's heartbeat or stomach gurgles, as these body sounds are much lower in pitch than voice sounds. He can become acquainted with the people in his environment and will selectively listen to familiar sounds. So talk to your baby
and share your favorite tunes with him. He's already getting to know you.