5th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Rhodes, Greece
September 22-25, 1997

Analysis of Infant Cries for The Early Detection of Hearing Impairment

Sebastian Möller (1), Rainer Schonweiler (2)

(1) Institute of Communication Acoustics, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, Germany (2) Department of Phoniatrics and Pedaudiology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany

Auditory and instrumental analysis of cries from normally hearing and profoundly hearing-impaired infants (2-11 month) is presented. Results from listening experiments lead to the assumption that differences exist between cries from the two infant groups. Attributes expressing the difference are related to the emotional state of the infant, to prosodic features, and to voice quality. Signal analysis of the cries confirms these findings showing statistically significant differences for spectral parameters and those describing the melody contour of the cries. The usability of neural networks for an automatic classification and discrimination of cries is discussed. If the tendencies shown here hold true for other data sets, the findings can be used to develop a new screening method detecting hearing impairment and auditory perception disorders at a very early age.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Möller, Sebastian / Schonweiler, Rainer (1997): "Analysis of infant cries for the early detection of hearing impairment", In EUROSPEECH-1997, 1759-1762.