How a fetus hear inside the womb

Last update on Nov, 30, 2021

As the first sense to develop in the womb, hearing is fundamental to a baby's first contact with the outside world. In the first few weeks of pregnancy, the baby does not have an auditory system and all sounds are perceived as vibrations (sound waves). By the twentieth week, the baby can begin to recognize its parents' voices. Let's see how the fetus's hearing develops week by week.

When can your baby hear you?

Initially, acoustic and tactile stimuli are perceived through the same nerve pathways, which are not yet differentiated. During the third week of life, the ear begins to develop, and by the sixth week, the cochlea also begins to develop in its classic spiral formation. From this point on, there are four main stages of hearing development in the fetus.

  • after the eighth week, the middle ear begins to develop;
  • in the eleventh week, the tympanic membrane and eardrum develop;
  • the cochlea connects to the cerebral cortex in the twenty-first week. The process of recognizing and memorizing sounds starts;
  • at the twenty-fourth week, the baby begins to hear through the ear. this stage marks the beginning of the first form of brain activity.

What does a fetus hear in the womb?

During the 30th week, the fetus's hearing has developed to the point where it can detect maternal noises, in particular the heartbeat. Only later will it be able to distinguish the voices of its parents. As a result, it is very important to start talking to the baby as soon as possible in order for him to get familiar with the sounds he loves and recognize them after birth.

To avoid excessively disturbing the child, it is a good idea not to expose the fetus's hearing to, particularly intense sounds. Recent studies have shown that loud noises increase the heartbeat and fetal movements, unlike melodious music, which would relax the baby. 


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