Vision and Hearing Development
> 6/13/2008 11:24:00 AM


Through sensations, young children discover the world around them. While newborns begin life near-sighted and with poor color vision, their ability to see will improve as their eye muscles strengthen and as parts of the brain involved in vision develop more fully. Their hearing will also become more apparent during this time, and they will learn to look in the direction of sounds and begin to imitate what they hear. Undiagnosed problems with vision and hearing can greatly impact a child’s early life, hindering their learning and affecting their language skills. Identifying these problems early on is an important step in helping children reach their full potential. Delays in these milestones may indicate certain health conditions, including vision or hearing impairments, autism spectrum disorders, and Down syndrome.

Parents should be aware of the hearing and vision milestones and watch for signs of delay, but it’s also important to remember that all children develop differently. The milestones listed here should be viewed as guidelines, and one delay may not be a sign of trouble. Parents should speak to a pediatrician if they have any questions or concerns, particularly if their child has missed several milestones in this or other areas of development.

Vision and Hearing Milestones:
3 months - The child watches faces, can follow moving objects with eyes, can recognize familiar people and objects, begins to display hand-eye coordination, smiles at the sound of voices, turns his head toward sounds, starts to babble and imitate sounds.
7 months - The child has developed full color vision, has better distance vision, is better able to track moving objects with his eyes, reaches for objects held in front of him.

Possible Signs of Vision and Hearing Delays:
3 months - The child does not react to loud noises, does not watch moving objects, has difficulty moving one or both eyes in all directions, crosses eyes often (crossing eyes occasionally during the first few months is normal), does not turn head toward sounds by 4 months.
7 months - The child does not respond to close sounds, does not use eyes to follow objects that are near (1 foot) or far (6 feet) away, one or both eyes consistently turns inward or outward, the child’s eyes persistently tear or drain, the child is sensitive to light.

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