Fraunhofer IDMT develops acoustic cough recognition for Boehringer Ingelheim

Press Release / December 09, 2013

Oldenburg. The sound of a cough can provide an initial indication of what therapy is required for treatment. Working on behalf of Boehringer Ingelheim, scientists in the Oldenburg Project Group for Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology at the Fraunhofer IDMT have developed an app that analyzes cough noises and provides an assessment of whether the cough is a dry cough or a productive cough. The free app with the name "Silometer Husten-Tester" is available for iPhone and Android.

Three years ago, the Oldenburg-based experts for acoustic event detection set up the so-called Cough Hotline (Silometer) for Boehringer Ingelheim. This hotline has already been called more than 100,000 times since. Although the cough test on the telephone cannot replace diagnosis by a physician or advice in a pharmacy, the test result can provide an initial indication of what type of treatment is most appropriate. As a manufacturer of cough medications, Boehringer Ingelheim aims to increase awareness of different cough types with the Silometer. In a current Forsa survey on behalf of the company, almost 60% of those questioned said that they did not know the difference between the different types of cough and the suitable treatment options in each case. Due to the great popularity of the service hotline, Boehringer Ingelheim has now decided to offer the cough tester as an app.

Computer-based recognition of speech and acoustic events is a research field of the Project Group for Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology of the Fraunhofer IDMT. Among other things, the scientists develop systems for automatic recognition of emergency situations in care facilities or public spaces. Other application fields include voice control in man-machine interaction and acoustic monitoring of industrial manufacturing processes.