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Auditory Development Scale - Birth to Six Years Old

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This list was compiled from a number of sources on the Internet. You should bear in mind that the "milestones" listed are averages - some children will be more advanced and others will lag. It is merely provided as a general guide of goals for your deaf / hard of hearing child. Proper training is essentail!


  • Exhibits startle reflex in response to sudden loud noises; will stiffen, quiver, blink, screw eyes up, fan out fingers and toes, or cry as a response.
  • Sensitive to a wide range of sounds, including prosodic and rhythmic cues
  • Recognizes and prefers mother's voice; quiets if crying.
  • Sounds of different frequencies have different effects on the infant.
  • Low frequency sounds and rhythmic sounds have a calming effect.
  • Higher frequency sounds result in a more violent reaction.
  • Increases or decreases sucking in response to sound.

Three Months

  • Awareness of human speech; attends to voice.
  • Shows excitement at sound of approaching footsteps, running bath water, etc.
  • Awakens or quiets to sound of mother's voice.
  • Vocally responds to mother's voice.
  • Imitates own noises as he hears them - egs., ooh, baba
  • Begins to localize sound by means of turning eyes toward the general sound source.
  • Begins to enjoy sound-making toys; listens to a bell near him.
  • Listens to music.

Four Months

  • Localizes sound by turning head toward general source of sound.
  • Searches for human voice.

Five Months

  • Localizes sound more specifically.
  • Distinguishes between friendly and angry voices, and reacts appropriately.
  • Reacts to music by cooing or stopping his cry.
  • Very interested in human voice.
  • Discriminates between sounds of strangers and familiar people.

Six Months

  • Specifically locates sound anywhere such as the bell that is rung out of sight (downward localization develops before upward localization).
  • Responds to human speech by smiling or vocalizing.
  • Turns immediately to mother's voice across the room.
  • Shows evidence of response to different emotional tones of mother's voice.
  • Responds to baby hearing tests at one and a half feet from each ear by correct visual localization, but may show slightly delayed response.
  • Association of hearing with sound production is now evident, in that he repeats selected heard sounds.

Eight Months

  • Turns head and shoulders toward familiar sounds, even when he cannot see what is happening.
  • Begins to understand words in context.
  • Responds to a telephone ringing, a human voice, his own name, "no-no," "bye-bye".
  • Enjoys games like pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo.
  • Looks at Daddy and other family members when named.
  • Raises arms when mother says, "Come up" and reaches toward child.
  • Responds more discriminatingly to adult verbalizations.
  • Listens with selective interest; an increase of a "listening attitude" to conversation.
  • Understands a few gestures and words for common items.
  • Responds when called to or when gestured to, such as "Come here," "Want more?".

One Year

  • Jabbers in response to human voice.
  • Apt to cry when there is thunder.
  • May frown when scolded.
  • Enjoys listening to sounds and words.
  • His sound imitations indicate that he can hear the sounds and match them with his own sound production.
  • Responds to simple commands (at first, responds only when command is accompanied by gesture), such as giving a toy on request or going some place as directed.
  • Understands an assortment of action words (verbs) such as "drink", "go", "come", "give", as well as some simple directions such as "wave bye bye"
  • No real understanding of questions is shown.
  • Interested in environmental noises beyond his immediate surroundings.
  • Likes jingles and rhymes.
  • Begins to recognize twelve or more objects when he hears the names of them.
  • Understands about 50 words.

One-and-a-Half Years

  • Echoes prominent or last word addressed to him.
  • Understands about 150-200 words.
  • Understands simple sentences.
  • Knows his/her own name.
  • Begins to understand prepositional phrases, but within the total unit, such as putting something in or on something.
  • Begins to follow directions and short series of commands such as "Wipe the doll's nose."
  • Identifies simple pictures from names, e.g., finding a baby in a picture when asked to do so.
  • Points to own nose, ears, mouth, etc on request.
  • Points to objects when named.
  • Looks at correct picture as it is named'.

Two Years

  • Shows interest in the sounds of radio or TV commercials.
  • Listens to reason of language.
  • Listens to simple stories.
  • Responds to command, "Show me the --."
  • Understands and answers simple "wh" questions, e.g., "Where is your --?"
  • Responds to yes/no questions by shaking or nodding head.
  • Waits in response to "just a minute."
  • Identifies five body parts.
  • Understands family names by selecting appropriate pictures.
  • Understands the phrase, "have candy after lunch"
  • Carries out 4 separate directions with a ball, egs., "Give it to me." "Put the ball on the block."
  • Repeats two numbers, letters, or words.
  • Follows a direction with two critical elements.
  • Comprehension of vocabulary increases to an average of 300 words.
  • Responds differentially to directions involving prepositions: in, on, under.
  • Understands some action words by selecting appropriate pictures.
  • Understands the syntactic order of words when context, semantics, and prosody are coherent.

Two-and-a-Half Years

  • Enjoys listening to simple familiar stories read from a picture book.
  • When he hears pleasurable sounds, he reacts to them by running to look or by telling someone what he hears.
  • Responds to descriptive or locative information about things from pictures such as "Show me the one that is up in the sky."
  • Enjoys hearing and listening to songs.
  • Distinguishes between "one" and "many"
  • Identifies object by use: brush is for hair; spoon is for mouth.
  • Understands approximately 500 words.
  • Follows simple directions, egs., "Sit here," "Bring it to me"
  • Follows a series of two related commands, e.g., "Pick up the ball and give it to me."
  • Understands and responds to "what/where" questions, eg, "What do you hear with?"
  • Understands "one" and "all"
  • Understands prepositions: in, on, under, in front of, in back of, around.
  • Understands "just one block" and can respond appropriately when instructed to "give me just one block."
  • Understands differences between sentences varying in syntax: "Show me the car pushing the truck" vs. "The truck is pushing the car."
  • Understands gross size difference: big, little
  • Understands conjunction: and
  • Understands variety of verbs, including concept of polar opposites: come-go, run-stop, give-take, push-pull, up-down
  • Comprehends nearly all sentence structures.

Three Years

  • Carries out commands using two different prepositions.
  • Responds to two unrelated commands, e.g., "Put your cup on the table and turn off the TV"
  • Listens eagerly to stories and demands his favorite ones over and over again.
  • Identifies the use of things in pictures such as "Show me the one you wear."
  • Answers simple questions (who, what, where?) and replies appropriately with a word or gesture.
  • Begins to match simple sound tones.
  • Recognizes several melodies.
  • Understands approximately 900 - 1,200 words.
  • Knows "big/little" and "in front of/behind"
  • Knows third-person pronouns, e.g., he/she.
  • Understands "more", e.g., "more cats"
  • Understands regular past tense forms of verbs.
  • Understands articles: a, the
  • Remembers three items of a story.
  • Recalls three numbers, letters, or words.
  • Follows a direction with three critical elements.
  • Repeats only first, second, or third item of a series.
  • Imitates a 5-7 syllable sentence based on short-term recollection.
  • Understands taking turns.
  • Understands most common adjectives.
  • Shows an interest in explanations of why and how.

Four Years

  • Pays attention to short stories and answers simple questions about them.
  • Listens to long stories.
  • Carries out, in order, a command of three parts such as "Pick up the ball, put it on the table, and bring me the book."
  • Carries out four separate commands using different prepositions: in front of, beside, behind.
  • Knows "between/above/below/top/bottom"
  • Follows a four-step command; a direction with four critical elements.
  • ยท Carries out more complex commands with 2-3 actions.
  • Understands and replies appropriately with a word or gesture to questions such as "What do you do when you are sleepy?" "Which one is bigger?"
  • Comprehends time phrases: all the time, all day, for two weeks.
  • Understands irregular plurals, e.g., child/children.
  • Understands possessives: dog's.
  • Understands approximately 1500 - 2500 words.
  • Understands the number three, e.g., "Give me three"
  • Imitates a 12-syllable, 9-word sentence, based on short-term recollection.
  • Remembers four items of a story.
  • Repeats two numbers backwards.
  • Recalls four numbers, letters, or words.
  • Identifies four colors.
  • Understands dependent clause: if, because, when, why
  • Hears and understands most of what is said at home and school.

Five Years

  • Loves stories.
  • Comprehends more complex time phrases: for a long time, for years, a whole week, in the meantime, two things at once.
  • Knows heavy/light, loud/soft, like/unlike, long/short.
  • Understands comparatives and superlatives: tall/taller/tallest, same/more/less, most/least, several/few, some/many, before/after, now/later.
  • Understands all pronouns and contractions.
  • Understands "the opposite of - is -"
  • Understands "zero" represents nothing.
  • Points to coin when named.
  • Understands 2,800 - 13,000 words
  • Imitates a 14-syllable sentence, based on short-term recollection.
  • Remembers five items of a story.
  • Recalls five numbers, letters, or words.
  • Responds correctly to complicated sentences, but may still be confused by long complex sentences, particularly those contains compound clauses.

Six Years

  • Knows right and left of his own body.
  • Understands approximately 20,000+ words.
  • Understands irregular comparatives, e.g, good/better/best.
  • Responds appropriately to numbers such as "Give me four pennies."
  • Imitates a 16-syllable sentence, based on short-term recollection.
  • Remembers six items of a story.
  • Repeats three numbers backwards.



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