Journal of Medical and Biological Engineering

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 545–554 | Cite as

Automatic Wheezing Detection Using Speech Recognition Technique

Original Article


This study developed a speech recognition technique to detect wheezing. Wheezes are important in the diagnosis of pulmonary pathologies such as asthma. The acoustic features of wheezes are distinct in the frequency domain. Therefore, many studies have focused on detecting wheezing peaks in spectrograms through image processing. However, automated detection of wheezing peaks is difficult because of blurred edges and noise. This paper proposes an alternative approach for wheezing detection in which the mel frequency cepstral coefficients (MFCCs) are integrated into the Gaussian mixture model (GMM). The MFCCs reduce the short-term spectral information to a few coefficients, and the GMM recognizes the respiratory sounds. The respiratory sounds of 18 volunteers (9 asthmatic and 9 normal adults) were recorded for training and testing. The results of a qualitative analysis of wheeze recognition showed a good sensitivity of 0.881 and a high specificity of 0.995.


Gaussian mixture model Mel frequency cepstral coefficients Wheezing Asthma Short-term spectra 



This research was partly supported by Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan (R.O.C.), under grants MOST 103-2218-E-305-001, MOST 103-2218-E-305-003, and MOST 104-2221-E-305-006.


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Copyright information

© Taiwanese Society of Biomedical Engineering 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and Information EngineeringNational Taipei UniversityNew Taipei CityTaiwan
  2. 2.Institute of Imaging and Biomedical PhotonicsNational Chiao Tung UniversityTainanTaiwan

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