Expected Speech-Language-Auditory Milestones

Checklist of selected speech-language-auditory milestones achieved by infants and children who have intact cognition and hearing. Failure to achieve these milestones by expected age ranges might relate to hearing loss that necessitates audiologic testing.
Birth to 3 mo
_ Startles to loud noise
_ Awakens to sounds
_ Blinks or widens eyes in response (reflex) to noises
3 to 4 mo
_ Quiets to mother’s voice
_ Stops playing, listens to new sounds
_ Looks for source of new sounds not in sight
6 to 9 mo
_ Enjoys musical toys
_ Coos and gurgles with inflection
_ Says “mama”
12 to 15 mo
_ Responds to his or her name and “no”
_ Follows simple requests
_ Uses expressive vocabulary of 3 to 5 words
_ Imitates some sounds
18 to 24 mo
_ Knows body parts
_ Uses expressive vocabulary 2-word phrases (minimum of 20 to 50 words)
_ 50% of speech intelligible to strangers
By 36 mo
_ Uses expressive vocabulary of 4- to 5-word sentences (approximately 500 words)
_ Speech is 80% intelligible to strangers
_ Understands some verbs
  • Adapted with permission from Northern J, Downs M. Hearing in Children. 4th ed. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins; 1991.