And What You Need To Know About It
Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines a banana as an elongated usually tapering tropical fruit with soft pulpy flesh enclosed in a soft usually yellow rind. That’s the definition most people think of for the word banana, but when it comes to hearing health, banana has another meaning.
Are certain words becoming harder to hear? Are the voices of your loved ones sounding distorted or muffled? Are specific words becoming difficult to understand or is it becoming difficult to understand friendly chats or your favorite TV program? The answer may be able to be found in your speech banana.
What Is the Speech Banana?
The speech banana is a term used by hearing health professionals to describe the area where most sounds of average conversational speech occur. The speech banana gets its name because it actually resembles a banana and can be seen on an audiogram.
An Audiogram is completed when you have a hearing test completed by an audiologist and is a graph showing the results of a pure-tone hearing test. It will show how loud sounds need to be at different frequencies for you to hear them.
Frequencies, also known as pitch, are measured in Hertz (Hz). Frequencies on an audiogram begin at the lower frequencies on the left and move to the higher frequencies on the right. The audiogram measures loudness in decibels (dB). As you move further down the graph, it reveals the louder the sound needs to be in order to be heard. Thus, audiograms show the type, degree and configuration of hearing loss.
How Does the Speech Banana Affect My Hearing?
The speech banana is important because of the way hearing loss works. Generally, hearing loss tends to develop subtly in most people over time. The early stages of hearing loss can happen, and people don’t even realize it. This could mean that your ability to hear very high-pitched or very low-pitched sounds are fading, while your ability to hear all those medium pitch sounds are just fine.
But as time continues, certain letter combinations like “th”, “ch”, “sh”, and “ng”, which are in the speech banana, can be difficult for deaf and hard-of-hearing people to hear and understand. This means that your ability to understand human speech might not be as clear as they once were, although every single background noise is heard as well as you’ve always heard them.
Do you or someone you know think they’re experiencing hearing loss?
The better you can hear frequencies and volumes within the speech banana, the better you’ll be able to communicate. Hearing loss is progressive and since the speech banana can only be seen on an audiogram, it’s important to get a hearing test completed by an audiologist immediately.