The "Speech Banana" and the Sounds of Human Speech

The "Speech Banana" is a very useful visual tool for describing where the sounds used in everyday human speech occur on an audiogram. Parts of speech that are commonly used are known as "phonemes" and include "ng", "th", or "s" as well as many more. When mapped out on a graph, these phonemes form an almost banana-like shape, which is where the term "Speech Banana" comes from. 

speech banana and human speechThis graph can be very useful for people with hearing loss as well as the people they communicate with. It is very common for seniors to lose their ability to clearly hear high frequency (4000 Hz and up) sounds. The sounds in this range are "f", "th", and "s" sounds, and finding alternate words that don't include these letters can improve understanding. 


Common examples of bad words to use around people with high frequency hearing loss:

First, fast, nice, bath, things, thirsty, past, months, eighth, and mouth


The purpose of conversation to both speak and be understood. If you are having difficulty holding a conversation, be aware of the words you are having problems with and adjust accordingly. For most people, the words containing sounds on the left half of the Speech Banana are easier to understand. However, everyone has a slightly different ability to hear and you should get your hearing tested to discover exactly how your hearing works. 

High frequency hearing loss

Although hearing loss varies by degree and type, high-frequency (or high-pitch) hearing loss is one of the most common configurations of hearing loss. Hearing professionals define high-frequency hearing loss as hearing loss that occurs between 2000 Hertz (Hz) – 8000 Hertz. Decreased hearing acuity in the high-frequency range is often the first sign of hearing loss.

Individuals with high-frequency hearing loss have difficulty understanding speech in noise, and the voices of women and children, which are higher in pitch. Individuals with high-frequency hearing loss may also have difficulty hearing birds or the doorbell. Talking to family and friends over the telephone is also more challenging with high-frequency hearing loss.

Neosonic hearing amplifier are designed to help with high frequency hearing loss by boosting sound with frequency above 2000 Hz. So if you have this kind of typical hearing problem, you would find that Neosonic hearing instruments provide you pleasant hearing experience instantly.


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