adly, the “speech banana” isn’t a fruit that enhances hearing or is a reference to that old vaudeville joke that goes, “Speak up…I can’t hear you…I’ve got a banana in my ear.” What the “speech banana” represents is a particular pattern found in the data of an audiogram, which is a graphical chart used to measure someone’s hearing acuity inside a specified range of frequencies and volume levels. In an audiogram, you usually see the frequency (which is measured in Hertz) on the horizontal axis, and the volume level or loudness ( in Decibels) on the y axis.
When the usual sounds of human language are graphed on this kind of audiogram, they have a tendency to all cluster inside an region of the graph that is in the shape of a banana. Nearly the entire alphabet and most letter combinations (such as ng, th, sh and ch) fall into the speech banana range. The main exceptions are the letters q, w, x, and y.
For those who have normal hearing, you can hear sounds within this range, but can also hear higher-frequency sounds such as leaves rustling or birds chirping and lower-frequency sounds such as tubas or machinery. However the sounds that are most important to our ability to communicate with other humans are the sounds we produce when speaking. Hearing impairment often affects this speech banana region, resulting in people having trouble hearing the letter combinations ng, th, sh and ch.
When loss of hearing impacts the volumes and frequencies within the speech banana it disrupts person-to-person communications. This is exactly why audiologists will normally concentrate on that range. If you are having difficulty hearing sounds inside this area, regardless if you are young or old, you are probably having issues hearing people properly, and may experience difficulties communicating with them.
The speech banana is regarded as so vital to healthy hearing that many school districts have mandated audiograms for their students in order to identify and treat hearing problems early that may be impacting their ability to communicate. The significance of this particular range of sounds is also why – if you use hearing aids – you should have them properly adjusted and programmed by a qualified hearing specialist or audiologist, to make sure you can hear the sounds of human speech clearly.Make certain you don’t miss out on any of the conversations in your life by getting a hearing evaluation and professional audiogram if you think you may have a problem.