A Flexible Analysis Tool for the Quantitative Acoustic Assessment of Infant Cry Purpose: In this article, the authors describe and validate the performance of a modern acoustic analyzer specifically designed for infant cry analysis.Method: Utilizing known algorithms, the authors developed a method to extract acoustic parameters describing infant cries from standard digital audio files. They used a frame rate of ... Article
Article  |   October 2013
A Flexible Analysis Tool for the Quantitative Acoustic Assessment of Infant Cry
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Brian Reggiannini
    Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
  • Stephen J. Sheinkopf
    Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, Providence
  • Harvey F. Silverman
    Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
  • Xiaoxue Li
    Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
  • Barry M. Lester
    Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, Providence
  • Correspondence to Stephen J. Sheinkopf: Stephen_Sheinkopf@brown.edu
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Megha Sundara
    Associate Editor: Megha Sundara×
  • © American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Speech
Article   |   October 2013
A Flexible Analysis Tool for the Quantitative Acoustic Assessment of Infant Cry
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2013, Vol. 56, 1416-1428. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/11-0298)
History: Received November 27, 2011 , Revised June 29, 2012 , Accepted January 8, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2013, Vol. 56, 1416-1428. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/11-0298)
History: Received November 27, 2011; Revised June 29, 2012; Accepted January 8, 2013

Purpose: In this article, the authors describe and validate the performance of a modern acoustic analyzer specifically designed for infant cry analysis.

Method: Utilizing known algorithms, the authors developed a method to extract acoustic parameters describing infant cries from standard digital audio files. They used a frame rate of 25 ms with a frame advance of 12.5 ms. Cepstral-based acoustic analysis proceeded in 2 phases, computing frame-level data and then organizing and summarizing this information within cry utterances. Using signal detection methods, the authors evaluated the accuracy of the automated system to determine voicing and to detect fundamental frequency (F0) as compared to voiced segments and pitch periods manually coded from spectrogram displays.

Results: The system detected F0 with 88% to 95% accuracy, depending on tolerances set at 10 to 20 Hz. Receiver operating characteristic analyses demonstrated very high accuracy at detecting voicing characteristics in the cry samples.

Conclusions: This article describes an automated infant cry analyzer with high accuracy to detect important acoustic features of cry. A unique and important aspect of this work is the rigorous testing of the system's accuracy as compared to ground-truth manual coding. The resulting system has implications for basic and applied research on infant cry development.

Acknowledgments
We thank Abbie Popa for her assistance on this project. This study was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant 5-R21-DC010925.
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