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Peeling the Speech Banana

Say what?

Ever heard of the speech banana? Do you know what it is?

No, it isn’t some sort of exotic fruit.

No, it isn’t a device you put in your mouth to speak more clearly.

No, it isn’t a heckling prop you throw at particularly horrendous public speakers.

What is it then?

We’re glad you asked.

Today’s we’re going to talk about the speech banana. We’ll be peeling back some of the layers that shroud our understanding of what it is, why it’s important, and how you can use Tunefork’s free audio personalization software to make your speech banana experience that much better.

What is the speech banana?

The speech banana is a banana-shaped range on an audiogram that graphical chart audiologists use to assess a person’s hearing capabilities with respect to various frequencies and volumes. The sounds we need to hear and understand speech, called phonemes, mostly fall within the speech banana - all of the letters in the alphabet, except q, w, x, and y, as well as the following letter combinations: ng, ch, sh and the.

Why is the speech banana important?

People with healthy hearing are capable of hearing sounds within and outside of the speech banana. This means that they can hear the sounds of all letters and letter combinations essential to human speech. They can also hear higher- and lower-frequency sounds, anything from the shattering of glass, to the scraping of heavy machinery, to the pitter patter of little feet. However, people with hearing impairments often have difficulty hearing and making sense of sounds within the speech banana, especially certain vowels and the letter combinations highlighted above. And since the goal of any conversation is to understand and be understood, not hearing sounds within the speech banana can be particularly frustrating, and even lead to people with hearing impairments recusing themselves from everyday social interactions.

What can be done to improve their quality of life?

Learning about the speech banana and which sounds are not currently being heard properly can be a game changer for people with speech impairments. These sounds can be highlighted (physically, with a marker) on a speech banana graph, enabling people with hearing loss, as well as those people they interact with, to become more aware of sounds that may not be heard, and modify their speech to include other words with other, heard sounds, accordingly.

A little visualization can go a long way, helping people with hearing impairments return to socialization and improve their quality of life.

That being said, doing so sounds like a lot of work. Rather than stumble through conversations and media experiences with a printout in hand, why not leverage the power of personal sound, brought to you by audio personalization software company, Tunefork?

With a simple, free hearing test administered 100% via a mobile app, people of all ages and hearing abilities can be granted their very own earprint and optimized sound. This way, the only step that needs to be taken is to pop on some headphones and start hearing - and being heard - like never before.

Can you hear sounds within the speech banana? Download the Tunefork app and start experiencing the full range of sound, today!

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