Mums-to-be often chat and coo to their babies before birth. But when babies arrive prematurely, they’re whisked off to an incubator where they hear mostly hospital noises. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that hearing a mother’s voice develops the a premature baby’s brain.

“Even three hours a day of exposure [to Mum’s voice and heartbeat] was enough to give the brain a very good boost in terms of development and maturation in the auditory cortex,” says researcher Amir Lahav, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. The auditory cortex aids in hearing and processing sounds.

Read the full article here.