Sorry to disappoint you, but the “speech banana” is not an innovative new super fruit; it’s not for eating at all.The “speech banana” is a distinctive pattern depicted on an audiogram. Audiograms are typically charted with the frequency level (measured in Hertz) on one the x axis and volume level (measured in Decibels) on the y axis.

The phrase ‘speech banana’ stems from the banana-shaped cluster of points on the audiogram that arises when human language is analyzed. Nearly the whole alphabet and the majority of letter combinations (such as th, ch, sh, and ng) fall into the speech banana range on an audiogram. The primary exceptions are the letters q, w, x, and y.

For those who have normal hearing, you can hear sounds inside 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 communications with other humans are the sounds we make when talking. Individuals with hearing loss often have difficulty hearing specific vowels and the letter combinations ng, ch, sh and th.

Consequently, audiologists and hearing specialists are most focused on hearing loss that develops within the region of the speech banana. If an audiogram exposes that an individual has hearing loss within the speech banana region, it is nearly certain that they’re having communication difficulties.

The speech banana is considered so vital to healthy hearing that many school districts have required audiograms for their students so that they can identify and address hearing problems early, espcially those affecting communications. The significance of this special range of sounds is also why hearing aids need to be properly tuned and programmed by a professional audiologist or hearing specialist, to make sure you can hear the sounds of human speech clearly.Whether you presently use hearing aids or not, give us a call if you have questions about your hearing ability in the critical speech banana frequency and volume range.