Assessment of vocal cord nodules: A case study in speech processing by using Hilbert-Huang Transform
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Vocal cord nodules represent a pathological condition for which the growth of unnatural masses on vocal folds affects the patients. Among other effects, changes in the vocal cords' overall mass and stiffness alter their vibratory behaviour, thus changing the vocal emission generated by them. This causes dysphonia, i.e. abnormalities in the patients' voice, which can be analysed and inspected via audio signals. However, the evaluation of voice condition through speech processing is not a trivial task, as standard methods based on the Fourier Transform, fail to fit the non-stationary nature of vocal signals. In this study, four audio tracks, provided by a volunteer patient, whose vocal fold nodules have been surgically removed, were analysed using a relatively new technique: the Hilbert-Huang Transform (HHT) via Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD); specifically, by using the CEEMDAN (Complete Ensemble EMD with Adaptive Noise) algorithm. This method has been applied here to speech signals, which were recorded before removal surgery and during convalescence, to investigate specific trends. Possibilities offered by the HHT are exposed, but also some limitations of decomposing the signals into so-called intrinsic mode functions (IMFs) are highlighted. The results of these preliminary studies are intended to be a basis for the development of new viable alternatives to the softwares currently used for the analysis and evaluation of pathological voice.
AuthorsCivera, M; Filosi, CM; Pugno, NM; Silvestrini, M; Surace, C; Worden, K
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