Detection of Voice Pathology using Fractal Dimension in a Multiresolution Analysis of Normal and Disordered Speech Signals

Zulfiqar Ali, Irraivan Elamvazuthi, Mansour Alsulaiman, Ghulam Muhammad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)
263 Downloads (Pure)


Voice disorders are associated with irregular vibrations of vocal folds. Based on the source filter theory of speech production, these irregular vibrations can be detected in a non-invasive way by analyzing the speech signal. In this paper we present a multiband approach for the detection of voice disorders given that the voice source generally interacts with the vocal tract in a non-linear way. In normal phonation, and assuming sustained phonation of a vowel, the lower frequencies of speech are heavily source dependent due to the low frequency glottal formant, while the higher frequencies are less dependent on the source signal. During abnormal phonation, this is still a valid, but turbulent noise of source, because of the irregular vibration, affects also higher frequencies. Motivated by such a model, we suggest a multiband approach based on a three-level discrete wavelet transformation (DWT) and in each band the fractal dimension (FD) of the estimated power spectrum is estimated. The experiments suggest that frequency band 1–1562 Hz, lower frequencies after level 3, exhibits a significant difference in the spectrum of a normal and pathological subject. With this band, a detection rate of 91.28 % is obtained with one feature, and the obtained result is higher than all other frequency bands. Moreover, an accuracy of 92.45 % and an area under receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 95.06 % is acquired when the FD of all levels is fused. Likewise, when the FD of all levels is combined with 22 Multi-Dimensional Voice Program (MDVP) parameters, an improvement of 2.26 % in accuracy and 1.45 % in AUC is observed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Medical Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Jan 2016


  • Fractal dimension
  • Higuchi algorithm
  • Katz algorithm
  • MDVP parameters
  • Voice pathology detection
  • Wavelet transformation


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