Vision and hearing development in babies

Vision and hearing development in babies

Newborns don’t all develop at the same pace. But one thing that they all have in common is that their hearing and vision develops slowly but surely. So how can you tell whether or not your baby’s development is on track? Here’s some insight as to what’s normal and what should be seen as “just not right” when it comes to your baby’s vision and hearing development.


Vision and hearing development in babies

What newborns see

At birth, newborns can’t see clearly. Their vision is roughly 20/400. Meaning that their first few days are literally a haze. Within a week of being born, babies can see objects that are 20-25 centimeters away from their faces. And as far as colors go, babies can see them right from the day they’re born, as long as the colors are very bright.


What’s normal in newborn vision?

Babies that are four to six weeks old should be gazing into the eyes of their mothers. And they should start mimicking their mother’s facial expressions as well. When babies are around three months old, they have 20/40 vision. Meaning that they can see almost everything within their field of vision. By three months old, babies should be able to see colors in different hues. And they also have improved depth perception, which is why they’re fascinated by their cot mobiles at this point. It is around the time when your baby turns six months old that he or she would have developed 20/20 vision.


When to worry

Babies that are around six months old should start using their eyes together to focus on an object. Although it’s not uncommon to see them ‘cross’ their eyes when focusing. Check with your pediatrician if you notice one of your baby’s eyes drifting to the side, as this may be a sign of vision problems. Other warning signs include baby tilting his or her head to focus on an object, sensitivity to light, chronic redness of the eyes, and tearing.


What newborns hear

At birth, a baby’s hearing is fully developed. But they’ll still be startled by loud noises and soothed by white noise or soothing sounds. Babies can recognize the voice of their mother within a few days of being born. But before they turn three or four months old, babies aren’t able to localize sounds or turn their heads towards the direction of a sound.  If you notice that your baby doesn’t respond to sounds, it might be a good idea to have a chat with your pediatrician to get your baby’s hearing checked out.


By Jess Green

Jess is a happy father and avid supporter of kiddles, writing occasionally and keeping the website afloat. His favourite kids activity is hiking and teaching kids about nature.

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