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The audiogram chart above, gives an indication of the different every day noises and the sounds that make up speech. High frequency lossNormal hearing to 1000 – 2000Hz and then dropping off in the higher registers. Teaching speech acoustics to parents has become an important and exciting part of my auditory-verbal work with families. Submarines belong below the water and therefore so do the 6 sounds belong below the thresholds. The filtering of sounds resonated by the vocal tract, are enhanced and are discernable as formants.
Diphthongs are another commonly used technical term for two vowels which are glided together at a normal rate of speech. The vowels and diphthongs in ongoing speech and language, carry the nonsegmental information which are the prosody, rhythm, rate and stress. When we begin to examine the consonants, we consider the three different parameters for defining a given phoneme - manner, place and voicing.


The manner of a consonant refers to "how" the sound is produced, in other words the "MANNER" in which it is produced. Plosives(stops): an exploding sound where we build up the pressure and then get a sudden burst of air coming out almost like an explosion. Nasals: a resonating of the air in the nasal passage where the mouth is typically closed and the structure (velopharyngeal port) opens and closes the nasal cavity.
Fricatives: blowing sounds with friction between the articulators and the produced air stream which must go through the oral (mouth) cavity. Liquids(Approximants): two articulations are close to each other preventing a strong breath stream or turbulence causing the sound energy to be blocked or obstructed. Voicing is the feature which refers to the movement of the vocal cords and if they are actually vibrating when the sound is produced.
A useful exercise with parents is to complete a plot of the acoustic properties as areas on an audiogram. It is important to realize that low frequency information is typically easier and more accessible to children who are hearing impaired.


One way to get information from an audiogram and vica versa to get a functional audiogram from acoustic feature information is by looking at the acoustic features of specific types of speech sounds and the frequncy areas with which they are associated. Example: a child is not producing plural nouns and is potentially having difficulty with the detection or discrimination of [s] in running speech.
Knowing some of the mysteries of speech acousitics and demystifying them for families can clearly add to their understanding. A solid understanding of a child's auditory potential derived from a good audiogram gives parents a feeling of control and empowerment.
They have been plotted at approximately the frequency and sound level you would expect to find them.
There are multiple sources for more detailed information including Ling 1989, Foundations of Spoken Language for Hearing Impaired Children (page 69 figure 3-7).



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