Following Rihanna’s Super Bowl performance and pregnancy announcement, many have been left wondering what exactly babies can hear in the womb. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, babies are able to detect some sounds inside and outside of the womb as early as 4 months gestation. However, the auditory system does not develop more fully until 6 months. It is believed babies primarily hear, and potentially respond to, the mother’s heartbeat, growling stomach, parents’ voices, and music.
Although no formal research has been completed to determine what noise levels are safe during pregnancy, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends avoiding regular noise exposure greater than 115 dB (think chainsaw).