Infected Phonemes: How a Cold Impairs Speech on a Phonetic Level

Johannes Wagner, Thiago Fraga-Silva, Yvan Josse, Dominik Schiller, Andreas Seiderer, Elisabeth André

The realization of language through vocal sounds involves a complex interplay between the lungs, the vocal cords, and a series of resonant chambers (e.g. mouth and nasal cavities). Due to their connection to the outside world, these body parts are popular spots for viruses and bacteria to enter the human organism. Affected people may suffer from an upper respiratory tract infection (URTIC) and consequently their voice often sounds breathy, raspy or sniffly. In this paper, we investigate the audible effects of a cold on a phonetic level. Results on a German corpus show that the articulation of consonants is more impaired than that of vowels. Surprisingly, nasal sounds do not follow this trend in our experiments. We finally try to predict a speaker’s health condition by fusing decisions we derive from single phonemes. The presented work is part of the INTERSPEECH 2017 Computational Paralinguistics Challenge.

 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1066

Cite as: Wagner, J., Fraga-Silva, T., Josse, Y., Schiller, D., Seiderer, A., André, E. (2017) Infected Phonemes: How a Cold Impairs Speech on a Phonetic Level. Proc. Interspeech 2017, 3457-3461, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1066.

  author={Johannes Wagner and Thiago Fraga-Silva and Yvan Josse and Dominik Schiller and Andreas Seiderer and Elisabeth André},
  title={Infected Phonemes: How a Cold Impairs Speech on a Phonetic Level},
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2017},