Music to His Ears: Your Young Child and Sound
Sound in the Womb
Scientists once believed that the womb was a quiet, peaceful place, but we now know that the womb is actually awash with sound: the noises from Mom’s own body—the beating of her heart, the hum of blood pumping through her arteries and placenta, the flow of air in and out of her lungs, and her voice; and then there is the outside noise that filters through to Baby though the abdominal wall and the amniotic fluid.
Dr. Robert Abrams, MD, a fetal physiologist in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Florida says, “noises from outside your body are more muffled but they also make it through surprisingly clearly.”
In her book Super Baby: Boost Your Baby’s Potential from Conception to Year 1, Dr. Sarah Brewer, MD, says a baby’s ears “are fully formed around the twentieth week of development, and your baby’s brain will begin to show electrical responses to sounds heard outside the womb before 24 weeks of development.” Deep, low-frequency sounds reach baby better than high-pitched ones—so men’s voices come through clearer than women’s, and music is also more audible.
It is incredible to think that a baby can actually learn stories and music he hears in the womb. Researchers have found that babies will breathe in time to music they enjoy—and they can remember and prefer music heard before birth over a year later! The study, carried out by the University of Leicester in the UK, demonstrated that one-year-olds recognize music they were exposed to up to three months before birth, and the preference was shown by the amount of time spent looking towards the source of the music.
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