Check your child's hearing

Check your baby or child's speech and hearing against the milestones. If you are worried, you should talk to your doctor about seeing an audiologist.

This checklist sets out common milestones as a guide only. It is not intended to replace advice from a doctor or other medical professional.

Milestones: the first five years

Six weeks

When there is a sudden loud noise, the baby

•  Jumps or blinks
•  Stirs in his or her sleep
•  Stops sucking for a moment
•  Looks up from sucking
•  Cries

Three months
•  Blinks or cry when there is a sudden noise
•  Stops crying or sucking when you talk
•  Wakes or stirs to loud sounds
•  Coos or smiles when you talk
•  Turns eyes towards voices
•  Seems to respond to a musical toy
•  Stops moving when there is a new sound
•  Seems to know your voice

Six months

•  Turns towards a sound or someone speaking
•  Smiles when you talk
•  Cries when there is a sudden noise
•  Stops moving when there is a new sound
•  Likes music
•  Makes lots of different babbling sounds

Nine months

•  Responds to his or her name
•  Looks around to find new sounds, even quiet sounds
•  Understands ‘no’ and ‘bye-bye’
•  Listens when people talk
•  Likes to copy sounds
•  Uses babbling that sounds like real speech
•  Tries to talk back when you talk

1 year

•  Uses sounds like b, d, g, m and n when ‘talking’
•  Imitates different speech sounds
•  ‘Chatters’ in response to human voices
•  Recognises sounds for common items like cup and juice
•  Starts to respond to requests like ‘come here’ and ‘want more’.

Your child’s first true words will start to appear between 12 and 15 months. Up until then, your child is mainly just making noises.

1 ½ years

•  Gives one word answers to questions
•  Imitates many new words
•  Uses words with more than one syllable correctly, like bottle
•  Speaks about 10-20 words
•  Shows interest in the sounds of radio, TV and stereo

2 years

•  Uses their first name
•  Uses 2-3 word sentences like 'mummy look' and 'more milk'
•  Follows simple requests like 'come here'
•  Listens to simple stories, songs and rhymes
•  Points to a picture when asked e.g. 'show me the dog'

2 ½ years

•  Speaks new words almost daily including plurals
•  Uses negative expressions such as 'it isn’t' or 'I can’t'
•  Uses questions correctly like Who? What? Where?
•  Tells experiences using 4-5 word sentences
•  Answers simple questions such as 'what do you do when you are sleepy?'

3 years

•  Learns rapidly and uses new words in sentences
•  Talks about activities at school or at friends’ homes
•  Enjoys being read to
•  Understands the difference in meaning, for example stop and go, up and down

4 years

•  Uses about 800-1000 words, most of which can be understood by strangers
•  Understands simple questions like Who? What? Where?
•  Responds to whispered speech
•  Hears calls from another room
•  Identifies sounds of household objects, like a vacuum cleaner or washing machine

5 years

•  Speaks sentences with plenty of detail and adult-like grammar
•  Tells stories that stick to a topic
•  Sounds as clear as other children when speaking
•  Communicates easily with other children and adults
•  Pays attention to short stories and answers simple questions about them