Characteristics of the swallowing sounds recorded in the ear, nose and on trachea

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.
Medical & Biological Engineering (Impact Factor: 1.73). 07/2012; 50(8):885-90. DOI: 10.1007/s11517-012-0938-0
Source: PubMed


The various malfunctions and difficulties of the swallowing mechanism necessitate various diagnostic techniques to address those problems. Swallowing sounds recorded from the trachea have been suggested as a noninvasive method of swallowing assessment. However, acquiring signals from the trachea can be difficult for those with loose skin. The objective of this pilot study was to explore the viability of using the ear and nose as alternative recording locations for recording swallowing sounds. We recorded the swallowing and breathing sounds of five healthy young individuals from the ear, nose and trachea, simultaneously. We computed time-frequency features and compared them for the different locations of recording. The features included the peak and the maximum frequencies of the power spectrum density, average power at different frequency bands and the wavelet coefficients. The average power calculated over the 4 octave bands between 150 and 2,400 Hz showed a consistent trend with less than 20 dB difference for the breath sounds of all the recording locations. Thus, analyzing breath sounds recorded from the ear and nose for the purpose of aspiration detection would give similar results to those from tracheal recordings; thus, ear and nose recording may be a viable alternative when tracheal recording is not possible.

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