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pregnancy

When can my baby hear me?

How to know when your baby can hear you from the womb

When can my baby hear in the womb?

Understanding when your baby can hear you from the womb

Baby in womb

It often comes as a surprise for mums-to-be, but your baby’s hearing develops enough by around 23 weeks of pregnancy

Their hearing actually starts developing a lot earlier this around the 6-week mark along with other tissues that will form part of the face.

By week 9 of pregnancy, the beginnings of ears will be forming, with small indents appearing either side of their heads, which by week 16 of pregnancy have formed structures connecting the ears to the beginnings of their brain, which allows them to start processing sound. It’ll take a few more weeks, but they’ll then be developed enough to make out different sounds from within your body and outside the womb.

What can my baby hear in the womb?

Your baby will be floating in fluid whilst in the womb, and they’re still developing every day, so sound won’t be particularly clear to them and quite muffled.

However, from around week 23 they will be able to make out your heartbeat and other noises including if you have a rumbling tummy! More excitingly, they will also begin to listen to and react to sounds outside the womb, including music and the sound of yours and your partner’s voices!

Can loud noises damage my babies hearing in the womb?

The simple answer is no. Whilst your baby’s hearing will have developed enough for them to react to noises by around week 27 of pregnancy, the amniotic fluid and your body will provide ample shielding from loud noises. Having a (alcohol-free) night out, a trip to the movies or even a music concert should be fine as the noise isn’t prolonged (over 8 hours) at a sufficiently high volume as to cause any damage.

It’s likely any prolonged sound that could cause damage would also be a lot too loud for you to handle too!

What can I do with my baby now it can hear me?

Knowing your baby can hear you opens up a whole new world of opportunities to interact and bond with your bump, with the following activities a great way to get things going:

  • Sing and talk to your baby – Singing and talking to your baby is a great way to interact and get them used to the sound of yours and your partner’s voices. They might not be able to understand what you’re saying, but that won’t stop them developing a connection to your voice and a simple nursery rhyme or song can help relax both you and your baby.

Research has shown that babies react differently to different people’s voices, with mums’ voice being the voice your baby can hear best due to it reverberating through your organs and body as you speak.

  • Play music to your bump – If you don’t want to sing, you can also play music to your baby and see if you can get them dancing. You may have heard that playing classical music to your baby will improve their IQ or make them smarter overall. There’s no proof this is true, but feel free to play whatever music you love!

When can my baby hear me?