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  • Watch Those Ears: Newborn Baby Auditory Development

    We set the record straight on myths about baby's hearing.
    by Rachel Perez . Published Aug 14, 2009
  • Myth 1: Babies inside the womb are oblivious to sound.

    FACT: Rina Quintos, M.D., pediatric otolaryngologist, shares that a baby inside the womb can already recognize his mother’s voice and be calmed by it.

    Myth 2: Only extremely loud sounds or noises can damage hearing.

    FACT: A child’s normal hearing is more sensitive than an adult’s. Exposing kids to loud noises may harm and greatly reduce the acuteness of their hearing.

    Myth 3: A child can only undergo a hearing test by age 2.

    FACT: Ideally, the first and best opportunity to test a child’s hearing is shortly after birth or within the first month of life. It’s safe for your kids to undergo hearing tests such as an Oto Acoustic Emissions (OAE) or an Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR).

    Myth 4: My baby passed his hearing test, so there is nothing for me to worry about.

    Passing a hearing test in infancy does not assure anyone of good hearing health up to adulthood.

    Myth 5: Babies cannot really hear anything at birth and in the first few weeks of life. You can only begin stimulating their sense of hearing by the second month after birth.

    FACT: According to ear, nose, and throat specialist Dr. Rina Quintos, newborns’ auditory acuity is much better than their visual acuity. “After a few months, they are able to hear well the full frequency spectrum an adult hears,” she says.

    Myth 6: Ear wax cannot cause hearing loss.

    FACT: Impacted wax or cerumen can cause hearing loss. That is why bringing your kids for regular visits to an ear specialist is best advised. Never remove earwax using cotton swabs; this practice has caused more damage than good to eardrums and the ear canal.

    Myth 7: Hearing aids help bring hearing back to normal.

    FACT: Hearing aids can only “aid” hearing, not cure the impairment. Even the most expensive hearing device can’t restore hearing or delay the progression of nerve deafness.


    Myth 8: Most hearing losses can be medically treated with antibiotics and/or surgery.

    FACT: Ninety to 95% of all hearing losses cannot be treated medically. The most practicable intervention and solution to hearing impairment is the use of hearing aids.




    • Rina Quintos, M.D., pediatric otolaryngologist, The Medical City
    • Lourdes Sumpaico-Tanchanco, M.D., developmental pediatrician, The Medical City
    • Francoise Nicoloff, psychologist, president, International Association of Registered and Certified Tomatis Consultants; trainor, ECOUTE Center for Auditory Training, Alabang
    • While You’re Expecting: Your Own Prenatal Classroom by obstetrician Rene Van de Carr, M.D.
    • “Development of Fetal Hearing” by Peter Hepper and Sara Shahidullah, published in the Archives of Disease and Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition, 1994
    • “Tips for Bonding with Your Unborn Child” by Dr. Gayle Peterson, askdrgayle.com
    • “Brain-Boosting Activities for Your Baby: Stimulate Your Baby’s Learning Power By Experimenting With His Five Senses” By Kate Brophy, kindermusik.com

    l Websites: nidcd.nih.gov ; entnet.org

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