Glottal flow characteristics in vowels produced by speakers with heart failure

Kiran Mittapalle, Hilla Pohjalainen, Pyry Helkkula, Kasimir Kaitue, Mikko Minkkinen, Heli Tolppanen, Tuomo Nieminen, Paavo Alku

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
76 Downloads (Pure)


Heart failure (HF) is one of the most life-threatening diseases globally. HF is an under-diagnosed condition, and more screening tools are needed to detect it. A few recent studies have suggested that HF also affects the functioning of the speech production mechanism by causing generation of edema in the vocal folds and by impairing the lung function. It has not yet been studied whether these possible effects of HF on the speech production mechanism are large enough to cause acoustically measurable differences to distinguish speech produced in HF from that produced by healthy speakers. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to compare speech production between HF patients and healthy controls by focusing on the excitation signal generated at the level of the vocal folds, the glottal flow. The glottal flow was computed from speech using the quasi-closed phase glottal inverse filtering method and the estimated flow was parameterised with 12 glottal parameters. The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured from speech as an additional parameter. The statistical analyses conducted on the parameters indicated that most of the glottal parameters and SPL were significantly different between the HF patients and healthy controls. The results showed that the HF patients generally produced a more rounded glottal pulse and a lower SPL level compared to the healthy controls, indicating incomplete glottal closure and inappropriate leakage of air through the glottis. The results observed in this preliminary study indicate that glottal features are capable of distinguishing speakers with HF from healthy controls. Therefore, the study suggests that glottal features constitute a potential feature extraction approach which should be taken into account in future large-scale investigations in studying the automatic detection of HF from speech.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-43
Number of pages9
JournalSpeech Communication
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Heart Failure
  • glottal source parameters
  • sound pressure level
  • Wilcoxon rank sum test
  • bio-marker


Dive into the research topics of 'Glottal flow characteristics in vowels produced by speakers with heart failure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this