I’m sorry to let you down, but the “speech banana” isn’t a novel new super fruit; it’s not for eating at all.The thing that the term “speech banana” refers to is a distinct pattern shown in the results of an audiogram, which is a graphical chart used to measure a person’s hearing acuity within a certain range of frequencies and volume levels. Audiograms are graphs of sound frequency (on the x axis) and loudness (on the y axis). In a hearing check, each test sound is characterized by its volume and frequency and can be plotted on a chart.
The expression ‘speech banana‘ stems from the banana-shaped cluster of points on the audiogram that is produced when human speech is analyzed. The spoken sounds of most of the letters of the alphabet together with the letter combinations ng, th, sh and ch all fall within this area.
The speech banana is extremely important because it includes most of the sounds of human language which is essential for our communications with one another. Individuals with normal hearing, can also hear many sounds outside the speech banana such as low frequency fog horns or high frequency mosquitos. Hearing loss often strikes this speech banana region, resulting in people having difficulty hearing the letter combinations ng, ch, sh and th.
This is the reason hearing professionals are most focused on loss of hearing within the spectrum represented by the speech banana. Whether the person is young or old, if they’re having difficulty hearing sounds inside that range, they are almost definitively having difficulty hearing speech, and therefore have issues communicating effectively with others.
This is one of the reasons why hearing checks using audiograms are required in the schools of many states – to identify possible hearing difficulties at an early age, when they can be easily corrected. The significance of this particular region of sounds is also why – if you use hearing aids – you should have them properly adjusted and programmed by a professional hearing specialist or audiologist, to ensure you can hear the sounds of human speech clearly.If you have any concerns about your ability to hear in the speech banana range,whether you wear hearings or not, we encourage you to call and get more information.