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Acoustic analysis of communication disorders within Moroccan students
Objective – Communication disorders negatively affect the academic curriculum for students in higher education. Acoustic analysis is an objective leading tool to describe these disorders; however the amount of the acoustic parameters makes differentiating pathological voices among healthy ones not an easy task. The purpose of the present paper was to present the relevant acoustic parameters that differentiate objectively pathological voices among healthy ones.
Methods – Pathological and normal voices samples of /a/, /i/ and /u/ utterances, of 400 students were recorded and analyzed acoustically with PRAAT software, then a feature of acoustic parameters were extracted. A statistical analysis was performed in order to reduce the extracted parameters to main relevant ones in order to build a model that will be the basis for the objective diagnostic.
Results – Mean amplitude, jitter local absolute, second bandwidth of the second formant and Harmonic-to-Noise Ratio (HNR) are relevant acoustic parameters that characterize pathological voices among healthy ones, for the utterances of vowels /a/, /i/ and /u/. Thresholds of the acoustic parameters of pathological /a/, /i/, and /u/ were calculated. A training model was built and simulated on Matlab, and a comparison between HMM (Hidden Markov Model) and KNN (K-Nearest Neighbors) classification methods were done (HMM had a rate of recognition of 95% and KNN within the reduced acoustic parameters reached a recognition rate of 97%).
Conclusion – Through the identified parameters, we can objectively detect pathological voices among healthy ones for diagnostic purposes. As a future work, the present approach is an attempt toward identifying acoustic parameters that characterize each voice disorder.