Speech-Based Clinical Diagnostic Systems

Speech-Based Clinical Diagnostic Systems

Jesús Bernardino Alonso Hernández (University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain) and Patricia Henríquez Rodríguez (University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-849-9.ch211
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Abstract

It is possible to implement help systems for diagnosis oriented to the evaluation of the fonator system using speech signal, by means of techniques based on expert systems. The application of these techniques allows the early detection of alterations in the fonator system or the temporary evaluation of patients with certain treatment, to mention some examples. The procedure of measuring the voice quality of a speaker from a digital recording consists of quantifying different acoustic characteristics of speech, which makes it possible to compare it with certain reference patterns, identified previously by a “clinical expert”. A speech acoustic quality measurement based on an auditory assessment is very hard to assess as a comparative reference amongst different voices and different human experts carrying out the assessment or evaluation. In the current bibliography, some attempts have been made to obtain objective measures of speech quality by means of multidimensional clinical measurements based on auditory methods. Well-known examples are: GRBAS scale from Japon (Hirano, M.,1981) and its extension developed and applied in Europe (Dejonckere, P. H. Remacle, M. Fresnel-Elbaz, E. Woisard, V. Crevier- Buchman, L. Millet, B.,1996), a set of perceptual and acoustic characteristics in Sweden (Hammarberg, B. & Gauffin, J., 1995), a set of phonetics characteristics with added information about the excitement of the vocal tract. The aim of these (quality speech measurements) procedures is to obtain an objective measurement from a subjective evaluation. There exist different works in which objective measurements of speech quality obtained from a recording are proposed (Alonso J. B.,2006), (Boyanov, B & Hadjitodorov, S., 1997),(Hansen, J.H.L., Gavidia-Ceballos, L. & Kaiser, J.F., 1998),(Stefan Hadjitodorov & Petar Mitev, 2002),(Michaelis D.; Frohlich M. & Strube H. W. ,1998),(Boyanov B., Doskov D., Mitev P., Hadjitodorov S. & Teston B.,2000),(Godino-Llorente, J.I.; Aguilera-Navarro, S. & Gomez-Vilda, P. , 2000). In these works a voiced sustained sound (usually a vowel) is recorded and then used to compute speech quality measurements. The utilization of a voiced sustained sound is due to the fact that during the production of this kind of sound, the speech system uses almost all its mechanisms (glottal flow of constant air, vocal folds vibration in a continuous way, …), enabling us to detect any anomaly in these mechanisms. In these works different sets of measurements are suggested in order to quantify speech quality objectively. In all these works one important fact is revealed; it is necessary to obtain different measurements of the speech signal in order to compile the different aspects of acoustic characteristics of the speech signal.
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Introduction

It is possible to implement help systems for diagnosis oriented to the evaluation of the fonator system using speech signal, by means of techniques based on expert systems. The application of these techniques allows the early detection of alterations in the fonator system or the temporary evaluation of patients with certain treatment, to mention some examples. The procedure of measuring the voice quality of a speaker from a digital recording consists of quantifying different acoustic characteristics of speech, which makes it possible to compare it with certain reference patterns, identified previously by a “clinical expert”.

A speech acoustic quality measurement based on an auditory assessment is very hard to assess as a comparative reference amongst different voices and different human experts carrying out the assessment or evaluation.

In the current bibliography, some attempts have been made to obtain objective measures of speech quality by means of multidimensional clinical measurements based on auditory methods. Well-known examples are: GRBAS scale from Japon (Hirano, M.,1981) and its extension developed and applied in Europe (Dejonckere, P. H. Remacle, M. Fresnel-Elbaz, E. Woisard, V. Crevier-Buchman, L. Millet, B.,1996), a set of perceptual and acoustic characteristics in Sweden (Hammarberg, B. & Gauffin, J., 1995), a set of phonetics characteristics with added information about the excitement of the vocal tract. The aim of these (quality speech measurements) procedures is to obtain an objective measurement from a subjective evaluation.

There exist different works in which objective measurements of speech quality obtained from a recording are proposed (Alonso J. B.,2006), (Boyanov, B & Hadjitodorov, S., 1997),(Hansen, J.H.L., Gavidia-Ceballos, L. & Kaiser, J.F., 1998),(Stefan Hadjitodorov & Petar Mitev, 2002),(Michaelis D.; Frohlich M. & Strube H. W., 1998),(Boyanov B., Doskov D., Mitev P., Hadjitodorov S. & Teston B.,2000),(Godino-Llorente, J.I.; Aguilera-Navarro, S. & Gomez-Vilda, P., 2000).

In these works a voiced sustained sound (usually a vowel) is recorded and then used to compute speech quality measurements. The utilization of a voiced sustained sound is due to the fact that during the production of this kind of sound, the speech system uses almost all its mechanisms (glottal flow of constant air, vocal folds vibration in a continuous way, …), enabling us to detect any anomaly in these mechanisms. In these works different sets of measurements are suggested in order to quantify speech quality objectively. In all these works one important fact is revealed; it is necessary to obtain different measurements of the speech signal in order to compile the different aspects of acoustic characteristics of the speech signal.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Help Systems for Diagnosis: These are systems that help the clinical professionals to identify certain situations that need special attention. They are used generally in tasks of clinical monitorization.

Laryngeal Pathology: Due to different organic injuries (such as malformations, benign injury, inflammations, infections, precancerous and cancerous injuries, traumatisms, or endocrine, neurological and auditive injuries), different functional disphonies (in spoken and sung voice) and of psychiatric origin.

Diagnosis Automatic Intelligent Systems: These are systems which enable the identification of pathological states without the presence of a clinical expert. These systems are oriented to preventive medicine or first screening.

Disphonia: This is the alteration of voice quality. It is mainly caused by laryngeal pathologies. Other different motives to those of a medical nature can produce changes in voice quality, such as, for example, factors related to mood.

Characterization or Representation Domains: These are the different spaces into which a signal can be transformed, where certain characteristics of this signal (levels of regularity, levels of noise, similarities, etc) are pronounced of preferential form.

GRBAS: Objective measures of speech quality by means of multidimensional clinical measurements based on auditory methods.

Pitch: Vibration frequency of vocal folds. In fact, there is not complete periodicity in the vibration of vocal folds. That is why it is said that vocal folds have a quasiperiodic movement.

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