Sonde Health, an enterprise vocal biomarker company, and GN Group announced that they have signed a multi-year strategic partnership to research and develop commercial vocal biomarkers for Mild Cognitive Impairment. The research will serve as the backbone for new voice-based tools to help “at-risk individuals gain timely and accurate health insights using GN Group’s device technologies and, ultimately, to enable early detection and management of life-threatening diseases for the millions of people living with hearing loss.”

By combining machine learning technology and millions of data samples, the human voice can be utilized to reveal vital changes to a person’s mental health, according to the companies’ announcement. Sonde Health and GN Group will research if subtle and even inaudible variations in the human voice from people using hearing aids can enable early detection of Mild Cognitive Impairment and help predict irreversible diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Dementia-related diseases are unfolding as a global pandemic with a devastating impact on national health systems and the quality of life for millions of people and their families. Early detection of Mild Cognitive Impairment is critical. It impacts an estimated 12-18% of adults over the age of 60, and 10-20% of people with Mild Cognitive Impairment will develop dementia-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s from the age of 65.

“Wearable technology has, until now, focused largely on tracking data linked to your physical fitness, such as heart rate and sleep cycles. At Sonde, we believe that when embedded within wearables and other medical devices, vocal biomarker technology can reveal deep, actionable insights into health conditions,” said David Liu, CEO of Sonde Health. “Through this partnership, Sonde Health and GN Group will be the first to scale voice-based cognitive biomarkers to a large population to give people insight into their mental fitness and provide a better and earlier understanding of Mild Cognitive Impairment.”

“Sonde Health is a true pioneer in this space, and we’re proud to engage in this strategic partnership as part of GN Group’s long-term commitment and focus on mental health. Our leadership in sound innovation provides a strong foundation for the advancement of using the voice as a biomarker, and we want to help find new ways of combating dementia, which is particularly prevalent among people with hearing loss,” said Peter Aksel Villadsen, SVP at GN Group.

Sonde and GN Group are teaming up with several academic and medical institutions to conduct the research. The initial focus of the research will be to identify which measurable aspects of speech are affected by Mild Cognitive Impairment. Sonde and GN Group plan to expand the research into additional health conditions such as anxiety, depression, dementia, and movement disorders.

“This research is only the beginning of Sonde’s next generation of innovation,” said Liu. “The long-term nature of this partnership enables us to accelerate the use of voice in screening for a range of cognitive, physical, and mental health conditions and create scalable technology for integration into hearing aids and other wearable devices.”

Sonde Health is already working to embed vocal biomarker technology into hundreds of millions of smartphone chipsets to scale delivery and adoption.

About Sonde Health

Sonde Health has developed a vocal biomarker development platform that enables any enterprise to license Sonde’s existing products or create novel health detection and monitoring products from voice. Sonde scales data collection, feature development, model creation, and clinical validation in collaboration with its partners and customers. Leveraging over 1 million voice samples from 80,000+ individuals, Sonde uses advanced audio signal processing and machine learning to sense and analyze subtle vocal changes due to changes in a person’s physiology to provide key insights into health and well-being.

Source: Sonde Health, GN Group