Developing your Baby’s Auditory Discernment

by OurYoungWonders

The sense of sound and auditory discernment starts to develop before your baby is even born. While they are still in the womb their sense of sound is starting to develop. That is why many people play music to their bellies and talk to their babies whilst they are in there. My youngest daughter was in my tummy when I taught music classes for 0-5 years… and I can tell you she has a keen ear for music and sounds!

Once your baby is here and starting to develop their senses more, there are different ways that you can help the development and give them the best start at learning new sounds. One such way is by introducing singular sounds to them. By introducing singular sounds to babies you can help to build auditory discernment. This helps them distinguish a blur of noise into logical hearing sense, and in turn can help avoid being overwhelmed in noisy locations.

What is auditory discernment?

Auditory discernment is the ability to judge sounds and noises. This is a skill that develops as a child grows and starts hearing different sounds and noises around them. It is the ability to recognise the different sounds and places them. Being able to discern the sounds will help them to not only understand what is being said to them, or what they are hearing. But it also helps them to develop their language skills when they are learning to talk and communicate back with you.

Why is it important to introduce singular sounds?

The reason that it is important to introduce singular sounds is to give your baby a chance to learn to recognise the different sounds one at a time. If you are trying to introduce too many different sounds at once it can confuse them and they may not be able to recognise and register them.

By doing singular sounds, they are able to adapt to the sounds, recognise them and remember them. It then is added to their brain’s ‘sound library’ and helps transform the noise they hear into clear sounds they recognize.

What are singular sounds?

Singular sounds come in different varieties. The easiest way to recognise and understand a singular sound is that they are a simple, single plural word. This is why babies first words are normally words such as mum, dad, no, ta. These are singular sounds that are easy for them to understand and recognise.

If you are trying to teach them larger, more complex words and sounds it can effect their development and not give them the best learning experience as a baby. Same with hearing a busy city of sounds before being introduced to singular sounds like a car, bike, bird, walking, running.

What is the benefit of starting with sounds like this?

The benefits of singular sounds include being able to give your baby a kick start at their development from a young age. As babies they are already starting to listen to and take in everything you say (except maybe when you say no to them haha)

These sounds are all registering with them and furthering their senses and development.

Starting with singular sounds give them a good base of words and sounds that they can build on and develop. Before you know it, they will have a vocabulary so large, that you won’t even recognise them. Babies generally absorb and retain information about 6 months before they themselves attempt the task vocally.

How do I start?

Development of their hearing and language is easy to start. Starting with reading to them during the day and at bedtime. Find books that are simple, use singular sounds and lots of fun pictures to keep them excited and engaged. Listen out for singular sounds in your environment and rub your ear indicating to ‘listen’ and identify that sound. For example, a plane flying overhead or watching cars pass on a road, or the dog next door. After your child gets confident in identifying singular sounds around their own environment, either take them on day trips or play sounds off your phone / YouTube to broaden their brain’s ‘sound library.’

Between the 6 month and 12-month range, your child will start noticing the words more and putting the name to a face or picture. They may begin trying to say the words as well. Point to the different pictures when you say the word and see if they copy you.

An important thing to remember is that all babies and children develop in their own time. There are things you can do to assist such as reading to them. However, each child is different. One might start talking fluently at 12 months and another may not. Don’t stress out if things are happening as per the ‘book’

Take the time to enjoy the younger years with your children. Watch and help them develop in their own time and nurture their growth as it comes. They will follow their passion and interests in developing certain skills before other skills just as us adults have different interests we pursue.

If you do feel concerned though, there are health care workers that you can express your concerns to and see if any further action needs to be taken. If you have a parent connection group and feel comfortable enough to ask, then you may find that quite a lot of babies and toddlers aren’t ‘by the book.’

Don’t be too hard on yourself or your babies. Learn and grow together whilst enjoying the experience. The love and bond you have with your child is the most precious thing in setting them up in life.

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