Guess What We Can Hear—Novel Voice Biomarkers for the Remote Detection of Disease

Jaskanwal Deep Singh Sara, Diana Orbelo, Elad Maor, Lilach O. Lerman, Amir Lerman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The advancement of digital biomarkers and the provision of remote health care greatly progressed during the coronavirus disease 2019 global pandemic. Combining voice/speech data with artificial intelligence and machine-based learning offers a novel solution to the growing demand for telemedicine. Voice biomarkers, obtained from the extraction of characteristic acoustic and linguistic features, are associated with a variety of diseases and even coronavirus disease 2019. In the current review, we (1) describe the basis on which digital voice biomarkers could facilitate “telemedicine,” (2) discuss potential mechanisms that may explain the association between voice biomarkers and disease, (3) offer a novel classification system to conceptualize voice biomarkers depending on different methods for recording and analyzing voice/speech samples, (4) outline evidence revealing an association between voice biomarkers and a number of disease states, and (5) describe the process of developing a voice biomarker from recording, storing voice samples, and extracting acoustic and linguistic features relevant to training and testing deep and machine-based learning algorithms to detect disease. We further explore several important future considerations in this area of research, including the necessity for clinical trials and the importance of safeguarding data and individual privacy. To this end, we searched PubMed and Google Scholar to identify studies evaluating the relationship between voice/speech features and biomarkers and various diseases. Search terms included digital biomarker, telemedicine, voice features, voice biomarker, speech features, speech biomarkers, acoustics, linguistics, cardiovascular disease, neurologic disease, psychiatric disease, and infectious disease. The search was limited to studies published in English in peer-reviewed journals between 1980 and the present. To identify potential studies not captured by our database search strategy, we also searched studies listed in the bibliography of relevant publications and reviews.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1353-1375
Number of pages23
JournalMayo Clinic Proceedings
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023


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