This isn’t just talk — science is getting closer to using your voice to diagnose whether you have heart disease and other disorders.
The Mayo Clinic teamed up with Beyond Verbal, a voice analytics company, to identify links between vocal features and coronary artery disease. CAD is the most common heart disease, where plaque builds up in the arteries, causing heart attacks. The study’s diagnostic tool found that a single biomarker in the voice signal was associated with a 19-fold increased likelihood of CAD.
Beyond Verbal’s previous research has also suggested a link between voice signal characteristics and neurological disorders such as dyslexia, Parkinson’s Disease, ADHD and autism, but this is the first study to link vocal biomarkers with heart disease.
“This is so groundbreaking and new, that it’s hard to describe in layman’s terms,” Yuval Mor, the CEO of Beyond Verbal, told the News.
That’s because the vocal characteristics we’re talking about here are much more specialized than the volume or timber of a person’s speech. Mor compared it to human vision, where the naked eye can see a range of wavelengths, but it takes specialized sensors to make infrared waves or ultraviolet rays visible to us. Beyond Vision’s diagnostic tool extracts vocal information in a similar fashion. “It can analyze the voice and identify different medical conditions in a way that the human ear can’t hear,” he said.
In this double-blind study, 120 patients each gave three 30-second voice recordings in English, which were documented and analyzed by the voice analysis tool. It found a strong relationship between certain vocal characteristics and CAD.
The team plans to repeat the experiment in China and Israel to determine if the same correlation will show up in different languages. They are also going to test for any voice characteristics linked to other cardiovascular diseases.
Mor suggested that doctors could eventually diagnose medical conditions remotely by analyzing patients’ voice recordings.
“The idea eventually is to give people an app so we can check on them and tell them if everything is OK,” he said. “We are opening the door for something completely new that can make a huge difference in the medical community.”