Validation of Acoustic Breathiness Index (ABI) in the South Indian Population

  • T. Jayakumar
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to Associate Professor Speech Sciences, Department of Speech-Language Sciences, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, University of Mysore, Mysuru, Karnataka, India.
    Associate Professor Speech Sciences, Department of Speech-Language Sciences, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, University of Mysore, Mysuru, Karnataka, India
    Search for articles by this author
  • Jesnu Jose Benoy
    Junior Research Fellow, Department of Speech-Language Sciences, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, University of Mysore, Mysuru, Karnataka, India
    Search for articles by this author



      Acoustic Breathiness Index (ABI) is an acoustic model which equates to the auditory-perceptual (A-P) measure of breathiness. Globally, ABI has been validated in multiple languages. To date, empirical studies validating ABI in the South Indian population have not been carried out. Moreover, there is only minimal evidence on the impact of language and gender on ABI.


      This study attempted to validate ABI in languages of Malayalam and Kannada with “B” and “G” of GRBAS. The authors also examined the influence of language and gender on ABI.


      The authors retrospectively analyzed a dataset consisting of 160 voice samples (91 normophonic and 69 dysphonic). Five speech-language pathologists perceptually evaluated these samples on the GRBAS scale. PRAAT software was used to calculate ABI for each voice sample. The authors also determined the effects of language and gender on ABI. Following this, ABI's concurrent validity and diagnostic accuracy were examined relating to “B” and “G” of the GRBAS scale.


      The judges reached a moderate agreement on the perceptual evaluation of voice quality. The authors observed neither language nor gender differences in ABI. The concurrent validity of ABI was strong (r = 0.761) when correlated against “B”. Further, evaluations revealed that an ABI value of >3.66 could distinguish between breathy and non-breathy voice samples with an area under the curve of 0.816 (Sensitivity = 61.73%; Specificity = 94.93%). On the other hand, the concurrent validity of ABI in correlation with “G” did not yield the optimal result.


      ABI is a valid acoustic tool for identifying breathiness in the languages of Malayalam and Kannada. ABI correlates better with “B” than “G” on the GRBAS scale. ABI is independent of language and gender.

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