It is well known that unborn babies can recognize their mothers voices and distinguish music from noise. But exactly what they hear remains unclear.
Now, scientists at the University of Florida have added a piece to the puzzle. In a series of unique experiments on a pregnant ewe designed to record exactly what sounds reach the fetal ear, UF research has bolstered previous findings suggesting that human fetuses likely hear mostly low-frequency rather than high-frequency sounds. That means they hear vowels rather than consonants and are more sensitive to the melodic parts of speech than to pitch, said Ken Gerhardt, a UF professor of communication sciences and disorders and an associate dean of the Graduate School.
As for music, "theyre not going to hear the violins, but they will hear the drums," said Gerhardt, who led the research reported in the November-December issue of the journal Audiology and Neuro Otology.
Aaron Hoover | EurekAlert!
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