The goal of this research was to train a self-organizing map (SOM) on various acoustic measures (amplitude perturbation quotient, degree of voice breaks, rahmonic amplitude, soft phonation index, standard deviation of the fundamental frequency, and peak amplitude variation) of the sustained vowel /a/ to enhance visualization of the multidimensional nonlinear regularities inherent in the input data space. The SOM was trained using 30 spasmodic dysphonia exemplars, 30 pretreatment functional dysphonia exemplars, 30 post-treatment functional dysphonia exemplars, and 30 normal voice exemplars. After training, the classification performance of the SOM was evaluated. The results indicated that the SOM had better classification performance than that of a stepwise discriminant analysis over the original data. Analysis of the weight values across the SOM, by means of stepwise discriminant analysis, revealed the relative importance of the acoustic measures in classification of the various groups. The SOM provided both an easy way to visualize multidimensional data, and enhanced statistical predictability at distinguishing between the various groups (over that conducted on the original data set). We regard the results of this study as a promising initial step into the use of SOMs with multiple acoustic measures to assess phonatory function.
KEY WORDS: voice, self-organizing map, classification, acoustic, dysphonia
Submitted on June 1, 1998
Accepted on October 30, 1998
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