PulmoListener: Continuous Acoustic Monitoring of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in the Wild

Sejal Bhalla, Salaar Liaqat, Robert Wu, Andrea Gershon, Eyal de Lara, Alex Mariakakis

Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies, Cancun, Mexico, October 2023



Prior work has shown the utility of acoustic analysis in controlled settings for assessing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) --- one of the most common respiratory diseases that impacts millions of people worldwide. However, such assessments require active user input and may not represent the true characteristics of a patient's voice. We propose PulmoListener, an end-to-end speech processing pipeline that identifies segments of the patient's speech from smartwatch audio collected during daily living and analyzes them to classify COPD symptom severity. To evaluate our approach, we conducted a study with 8 COPD patients over 164 ± 92 days on average. We found that PulmoListener achieved an average sensitivity of 0.79 ± 0.03 and a specificity of 0.83 ± 0.05 per patient when classifying their symptom severity on the same day. PulmoListener can also predict the severity level up to 4 days in advance with an average sensitivity of 0.75 ± 0.02 and a specificity of 0.74 ± 0.07. The results of our study demonstrate the feasibility of leveraging natural speech for monitoring COPD in real-world settings, offering a promising solution for disease management and even diagnosis.