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Back-and-Forth Methodology for Objective Voice Quality Assessment: From/to Expert Knowledge to/from Automatic Classification of Dysphonia

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Abstract

This paper addresses voice disorder assessment. It proposes an original back-and-forth methodology involving an automatic classification system as well as knowledge of the human experts (machine learning experts, phoneticians, and pathologists). The goal of this methodology is to bring a better understanding of acoustic phenomena related to dysphonia. The automatic system was validated on a dysphonic corpus (80 female voices), rated according to the GRBAS perceptual scale by an expert jury. Firstly, focused on the frequency domain, the classification system showed the interest of 0–3000 Hz frequency band for the classification task based on the GRBAS scale. Later, an automatic phonemic analysis underlined the significance of consonants and more surprisingly of unvoiced consonants for the same classification task. Submitted to the human experts, these observations led to a manual analysis of unvoiced plosives, which highlighted a lengthening of VOT according to the dysphonia severity validated by a preliminary statistical analysis.

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Correspondence to Corinne Fredouille.

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Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Keywords

  • Classification Task
  • Human Expert
  • Automatic Classification
  • Female Voice
  • Voice Disorder