Can we discriminate between apnea and hypopnea using audio signals? Conference Paper uri icon


  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects up to 14% of the population. OSA is characterized by recurrent apneas and hypopneas during sleep. The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) is frequently used as a measure of OSA severity. In the current study, we explored the acoustic characteristics of hypopnea in order to distinguish it from apnea. We hypothesize that we can find audio-based features that can discriminate between apnea, hypopnea and normal breathing events. Whole night audio recordings were performed using a non-contact microphone on 44 subjects, simultaneously with the polysomnography study (PSG). Recordings were segmented into 2015 apnea, hypopnea, and normal breath events and were divided to design and validation groups. A classification system was built using a 3-class cubic-kernelled support vector machine (SVM) classifier. Its input is a 36-dimensional audio-based feature vector that was extracted from each event. Three-class accuracy rate using the hold-out method was 84.7%. A two-class model to separate apneic events (apneas and hypopneas) from normal breath exhibited accuracy rate of 94.7%. Here we show that it is possible to detect apneas or hypopneas from whole night audio signals. This might provide more insight about a patient's level of upper airway obstruction during sleep. This approach may be used for OSA severity screening and AHI estimation.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016