Babies utter babbling, cooing sounds to gauge hearing capacity

Washington: A new research has revealed that infants’ babbling and cooing is linked to their hearing ability.

The research at University of Missouri showed that infant vocalizations are primarily motivated by infants’ ability to hear their own babbling and infants with profound hearing loss who received cochlear implants to help correct their hearing soon reached the vocalization levels of their hearing peers, putting them on track for language development.

Researcher Mary Fagan said that hearing is a critical aspect of infants’ motivation to make early sounds and this study shows babies are interested in speech-like sounds and that they increase their babbling when they can hear.

Fagan added that these findings support the importance of early hearing screenings and early cochlear implantation.

Fagan found that non-speech-like sounds such as crying, laughing and raspberry sounds were not affected by infants’ hearing ability, suggesting that babies are more interested in speech-like sounds since they increase their production of those sounds such as babbling when they can hear.

Fagan continued that 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 study is published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology

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