What does social support sound like?: challenges and opportunities for using passive episodic audio collection to assess the social environment

SOURCE: Frontiers in Public Health
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): A.Poudyal, A.Van Heerden, A.Hagaman, C.Islam, A.Thapa, S.M.Maharjan, P.Byanjankar, B.A.Kohrt
DEPARTMENT: Public Health, Societies and Belonging (HSC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 11922
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/15943
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11910/15943

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In qualitative interviews, mothers described a range of positive and negative social interactions and the sounds that accompanied these. Potential positive sounds included adult speech and laughter, infant babbling and laughter, and sounds from baby toys. Sounds characterizing negative stimuli included yelling, crying, screaming by adults and crying by infants. Sounds associated with social isolation included silence and TV or radio noises. Speech comprised 43% of all passively recorded audio clips (n = 7,725). Manual validation showed a 23% false positive rate and 62% false-negative rate for speech, demonstrating potential underestimation of speech exposure. Other common sounds were music and vehicular noises. Passively capturing audio has the potential to improve understanding of the social environment. However, a pre-trained model had the limited accuracy for identifying speech and lacked categories allowing distinction between positive and negative social interactions. To improve the contribution of passive audio collection to understanding the social environment, future work should improve the accuracy of audio categorization, code for constellations of sounds, and combine audio with other smartphone data collection such as location and activity.