Pregnancy is one of the most critical phases when yours and your baby’s growth are at stake. Many people wonder whether a fetus can hear to sounds while in the mother’s womb. Many excited parents will play music or speak to a developing fetus. You would be surprised to know that the ears of a fetus begin to develop quite early in pregnancy. As the impact of loud noises does not last for a long time, it can’t cause severe damage to a fetus. Still, it is important to take some precautionary measures to reduce exposure to loud sounds during pregnancy.
Being around loud music on an occasional basis is not very risky for baby’s hearing, but it is still not advised. By the time a woman becomes eighteen weeks pregnant, her baby can develop an auditory system that lets him hear external sounds as you do. Though, the clarity of these sounds will not be the same. There is ample evidence that proves that the hearing system of a baby begins to form at the eighteenth week of pregnancy. This development continues until the baby attains the age of five and six months.
The baby’s hearing is nicely protected by the muscles present around amniotic fluid, the placenta, and the belly region. As not all babies are the same, so it is tough to identify what noise level can cause damage to him. So, it is best not to take any risks. Loud music results in the secretion of stress hormones in the body. This can cause racing of heartbeat. This is not a good thing to happen for you as well as your baby.
Signs that the baby can hear the sounds
Babies start to detect limited sounds around 18th week of pregnancy. At around 24th week, the outer, inner and middle ear of the baby that includes cochlea, the tube of snail-shell-shape located in the inner region of his ear converts the sound vibrations into the nerve impulses. By 24th week of pregnancy, a baby’s ear is quite mature to listen to these noises and voices and respond to them by tilting his head.
The sounds inside the uterus are inaudible. It can be due to the physical barrier between the amniotic fluid and the baby’s body. In this fluid-filled place, his eardrum and middle ear can’t perform the normal task of amplifying sounds. That is the reason, the sounds that you find very loud are not perceived that loud by your baby.
Do loud voices and noises adversely impact the fetus?
Most of the people wonder whether or not it is safe for them to work in a noisy job or attend a loud concert during pregnancy. The answer is an occasional hearing to loud sounds won’t cause any harm to the fetus, yet according to research, prolonged exposure to a noisy environment can result into loss of hearing ability in your baby.
Some of the examples of noisy jobs or environment that needs to be avoided are:
- loud music
What is the safe noise level for the development of fetus?
As per the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, it is recommended that pregnant women should avoid being in very loud situations. Anything noisier than 115 dB can be damaging to the growth of your baby.
Studies have indicated that frequently experiencing such level of high noise increases the chances of your baby to suffer some hearing loss. This becomes riskier, especially at high frequencies. Also, exposure to very loud sounds on a repeated basis has the potential to enhance the chances of low-birth-weight baby and premature delivery of a baby. So, to prevent any of these negative consequences, it is recommended to avoid getting yourself frequently exposed to extremely intense sound, played at 150 decibels or more.
The effects of such sounds at 150+ decibels would be like standing close to a screaming jet engine. Such loid noise can lead to hearing disabilities in fetuses. Thus, it is wise to play it extra safe during your pregnancy and avoid situations and places where loud noise is played.
What adjustments can you make to avoid exposure to loud noises?
If at all, it is necessary to attend any concert where there are chances of getting exposed to such high noise, you can make some arrangements. A few things that can be done is to take a place toward the backside of the hall, that is far from the speakers. By doing this, not just you will enjoy the same quality of music but will also be assured that your baby’s ears are safe. If you are fond of driving a car with loud music or radio, then it is better to reduce the volume a bit to make it safer for you as well as your baby.
Hope this article gives you clarity about pregnancy, loud noises, and fetus health. Being a little more mindful, and making adjustments on your part can go a long way to protect your baby’s health from loud noises.