The 'Speech Banana' and the Sounds of Human Speech

The 'Speech Banana' and the Sounds of Human Speech

What is the Speech Banana Audiogram? 

Audiograms are graphs that represent the threshold for sounds one can hear. These types of graphs allow audiologists to break down and decipher through someone's hearing troubles. These graphs map each person's sensitivity to frequencies and loudness. The Speech Banana received its name for the way the pattern of data forms in the audiogram. When looking at the Speech Banana audiogram you may see a shape looking similar to a banana, hence the name. The Speech Banana Audiogram allows families and others struggling to visualize hearing loss and paint a better picture of what someone is probably struggling to hear. It is interesting because audiograms will allow for parents or caretakers to see how much a child is actually comprehending spoken language. 

speech banana and human speech


How to read a speech banana

For this part, we know you may not be an audiologist or professional but we want to teach you how one would theoretically read the Speech Banana Audiogram. First let's cover the X and Y axis. On the X axis or the horizontal axis we will be measuring frequency in Hertz (Hz) and on the Y axis or the vertical axis we will be measuring volume level in Decibels. When measuring frequencies or pitch, the Speech Banana Audiogram will begin with lower frequencies or deeper pitches on the left then move up once frequencies are higher. Some examples of what one may hear at low frequency is something like a dog barking but on the other spectrum, something that would be in the high frequency range would be birds chirping outside. On the speech banana, there are all of the letters of the alphabet except for q, w, x, and y plus there are some letter combinations that are usually troublesome for those hard of hearing. These combinations would be like “ch” or “sh”. 

Why is the Speech Banana Important? 

Communication is vital for everyone’s health and safety. It is important for us and our audiologists to constantly seek ways to help serve the community who is not fortunate enough to hear all the many sounds within the speech banana. This tool is so important to us because it allows us to also identify if there is an oral communication difficulty. In most cases, when someone is suffering from some hearing loss that is within the speech banana region they also will have difficulty with their oral communications like pronunciation. Little issues like this can often lead to bigger ones like someone losing confidence because they can no longer say things the way they previously had or isolation where someone will just withdraw totally because of their incapability to communicate well. 

Another reason that the speech banana is so important for us is because of what exactly it tells us about someone's hearing! Yes, it can help identify what sounds someone is having difficulty hearing but let's talk about those sounds within the banana. A normal person with healthy active hearing can hear all the sounds within the speech banana and outside of it. The speech banana was developed because audiologists determined that the sounds within the banana are the most important for humans to communicate effectively with each other.  

High Frequency Hearing Loss 

High-frequency hearing loss is one of the most common types of hearing loss today. If someone is experiencing difficulty hearing sounds that are between 2000 Hertz (Hz) - 8000 Hertz (Hz), this is considered high-frequency hearing loss by professionals. Commonly, people with high frequency hearing loss will have difficulty hearing when people are speaking, especially those with higher pitch voices such as children and women. Some other things that may be challenging for those that suffer from high-frequency hearing loss is: talking on the phone, hearing doorbells or alarms, or even hearing the chirping of birds while they're outside.. 

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I am quite sure I’ll learn plenty of new stuff right here!
Best of luck for tthe next!

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