This study compares fundamental frequency (fo) and fundamental frequency standard deviation (foSD) of COVID-19 patients with the same parameters in the speech of subjects without COVID-19, and verifies whether there is an effect of age and sex in the patient group. Both groups, subjects with and without COVID-19, are formed by Brazilian Portuguese speakers. Speech samples were obtained from 100 patients with mild to severe symptoms of COVID-19, and 100 healthy subjects. A single 31-syllable Portuguese sentence was used as the elicitation material for all subjects. The recordings were divided into four age groups. The acoustic measures were semi-automatically extracted and analyzed by a series of analyses of variance. Patients with COVID-19 present vocal differences in fo-related parameters when compared to healthy subjects, that is, patient voices presented higher fo and foSD with respect to control voices. In addition, for patient voices, there was an age and sex effect on fo SD values. Vocal parameters of women and elderly subjects showed more marked differences in fo-related parameters, indicating that patient voices are higher-pitched and have a higher variation of fo SD. Consequently, fo-related parameters may be tested as vocal biomarkers in the screening of respiratory insufficiency by voice analysis, in patients with severe symptoms of COVID-19.
Fundamental frequency related parameters in Brazilians with COVID-19a)
Larissa Cristina Berti, Evelyn Alves Spazzapan, Marcelo Queiroz, Pedro Leyton Pereira, Flaviane Romani Fernandes-Svartman, Beatriz Raposo de Medeiros, Marcus Vinícius Moreira Martins, Letícia Santiago Ferreira, Ingrid Gandolfi Gomes da Silva, Ester Cerdeira Sabino, Anna Sara Levin, Marcelo Finger; Fundamental frequency related parameters in Brazilians with COVID-19. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 January 2023; 153 (1): 576–585. https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0016848
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