Are babies hearing sounds that adults can’t?

Thanks so much for your really interesting question. We now routinely study the hearing of newborns before they leave the hospital and so we know that, unlike dogs and bats, babies cannot hear sounds outside the normal human hearing range (in fact it takes months for their hearing to get as sharp as an adult’s).

You are kind to tell you friends about the book, although most parents find that the Happiest Baby DVD is a much easier way (for women and men) to learn the fine points of the technique…and I recommend using white noise (like our CD of soothing sounds all night for the entire first year to help promote baby sleep…and prevent waking from teething,etc). Finally, FYI, from 9m-5y, The Happiest Toddler can do for older kids what THB does for babies…it is an unconventional approach that can almost immediately improve a toddlers cooperation, patience and dramatically reduce temper tantrums (I recommend watching that DVD a few times, then reading the book).

5 Responses to “Are babies hearing sounds that adults can’t?”

  1. Geordie Says:

    We are new parents with a 3 -week old boy. He suffers from colic and we have been using white noise (the T.V. on a non-tuned station or a CD of rain noises) very loud near our baby’s head to keep him calm. It works but it is very loud and I worry about it damaging his ears or his hearing development. Is this possible? The past few nights we have kept the white noise on all night long. I’ve tried turning the white noise down but he immediately starts to fuss even if I just turn it down a single notch.

  2. Heather B Says:

    My 11 month old daughter fights nap time and bed time. She can’t seem to relax and go to sleep, she just keeps moving constantly and I have to stay with her until she falls asleep or very close to it. Other wise she will cry forever, I’m talking hours and then is so worked up she throws up. I would love to just be able to put my daughter down for bed and her just go to sleep, but I can’t exactly leave her because she refuses to sleep in her crib for a few months now so she is on the spare bed with boxes surrounding her. I always keep an eye in her room until she is asleep for fear of her falling. I am reading the Happiest Toddler on the Block but I can’t read it fast enough and I wasn’t sure if sleep was talked about. What do I do, please help!

  3. Kathy Says:

    They may not hear sounds differently than adults like cats and dogs do, but my (18 month old) son hears lots of things that I have learned to turn out. I did not realize how many trains, airplanes and sirens there were in our neighborhood. Whenever we play outside it’s a constant stream of him telling me that there are choochoos, big big twucks, and ai-planes.

  4. Dr_Karp Says:

    Hi Janet, Well said…thanks! Dr. Karp

  5. Dr_Karp Says:

    Hi Melissa, Two quick tips…it’s best to not put him in bed asleep…so if he falls asleep, just jiggle him a little to wake him up slightly when you place him in the crib…jiggle the crib fast and tiny motions (just 1-2 inches back and forth) to soothe him if he fusses when you wake him…or briefly pick him back up again. Also, make sure you are using the right type of white noise…that is loud enough…see other answers on this site.

    Good luck, Dr. Karp

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