Applied Machine Learning Techniques to Diagnose Voice-Affecting Conditions and Disorders: Systematic Literature Review

Applied Machine Learning Techniques to Diagnose Voice-Affecting Conditions and Disorders: Systematic Literature Review


Background:Normal voice production depends on the synchronized cooperation of multiple physiological systems, which makes the voice sensitive to changes. Any systematic, neurological, and aerodigestive distortion is prone to affect voice production through reduced cognitive, pulmonary, and muscular functionality. This sensitivity inspired using voice as a biomarker to examine disorders that affect the voice. Technological improvements and emerging machine learning (ML) technologies have enabled possibilities of extracting digital vocal features from the voice for automated diagnosis and monitoring systems.

Objective:This study aims to summarize a comprehensive view of research on voice-affecting disorders that uses ML techniques for diagnosis and monitoring through voice samples where systematic conditions, nonlaryngeal aerodigestive disorders, and neurological disorders are specifically of interest.

Methods:This systematic literature review (SLR) investigated the state of the art of voice-based diagnostic and monitoring systems with ML technologies, targeting voice-affecting disorders without direct relation to the voice box from the point of view of applied health technology. Through a comprehensive search string, studies published from 2012 to 2022 from the databases Scopus, PubMed, and Web of Science were scanned and collected for assessment. To minimize bias, retrieval of the relevant references in other studies in the field was ensured, and 2 authors assessed the collected studies. Low-quality studies were removed through a quality assessment and relevant data were extracted through summary tables for analysis. The articles were checked for similarities between author groups to prevent cumulative redundancy bias during the screening process, where only 1 article was included from the same author group.

Results:In the analysis of the 145 included studies, support vector machines were the most utilized ML technique (51/145, 35.2%), with the most studied disease being Parkinson disease (PD; reported in 87/145, 60%, studies). After 2017, 16 additional voice-affecting disorders were examined, in contrast to the 3 investigated previously. Furthermore, an upsurge in the use of artificial neural network–based architectures was observed after 2017. Almost half of the included studies were published in last 2 years (2021 and 2022). A broad interest from many countries was observed. Notably, nearly one-half (n=75) of the studies relied on 10 distinct data sets, and 11/145 (7.6%) used demographic data as an input for ML models.

Conclusions:This SLR revealed considerable interest across multiple countries in using ML techniques for diagnosing and monitoring voice-affecting disorders, with PD being the most studied disorder. However, the review identified several gaps, including limited and unbalanced data set usage in studies, and a focus on diagnostic test rather than disorder-specific monitoring. Despite the limitations of being constrained by only peer-reviewed publications written in English, the SLR provides valuable insights into the current state of research on ML-based voice-affecting disorder diagnosis and monitoring and highlighting areas to address in future research.


Diagnosis; digital biomarkers; machine learning; monitoring; voice-affecting disorder; voice features


Idrisoglu A, Dallora AL, Anderberg P, Berglund JS. Applied Machine Learning Techniques to Diagnose Voice-Affecting Conditions and Disorders: Systematic Literature Review J Med Internet Res 2023;25:e46105


DOI: doi:10.2196/46105

Categories: Publications

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