One of Amanda Hutton's neighbours alerted social services to her concerns about the family six months before Hamzah's body was found, the judge has heard.
Paul Greaney QC, prosecuting, said the neighbour contacted social services in March 2011 as she was concerned about things she had observed.
The woman, who cannot be named, said she did this because of children crying and not being comforted, threatening voices towards the youngsters, blinds never being open and children not playing outside.
Following the conviction of Amanda Hutton, questions are raised over two little boys killed by those who were supposed to care for them.
A mother who starved her son to death threatened to kill her other children, a judge who sentenced her to 15 years in prison heard.
For two years the mummified body of four-year-old Hamzah Khan lay hidden in his mother's squalid house.