Optimizing Audio Augmentations for Contrastive Learning of Health-Related Acoustic Signals

Louis Blankemeier
Sebastien Baur
Diego Ardila


Health-related acoustic signals, such as cough and breathing sounds, are relevant for medical diagnosis and continuous health monitoring. Most existing machine learning approaches for health acoustics are trained and evaluated on specific tasks, limiting their generalizability across various healthcare applications. In this paper, we leverage a self-supervised learning framework, SimCLR with a Slowfast NFNet backbone, for contrastive learning of health acoustics. A crucial aspect of optimizing Slowfast NFNets for this application lies in identifying effective audio augmentations. We conduct an in-depth analysis of various audio augmentation strategies and demonstrate that an appropriate augmentation strategy enhances the performance of the Slowfast NFNet audio encoder across a diverse set of health acoustic tasks. Our findings reveal that when augmentations are combined, they can produce synergistic effects that exceed the benefits seen when each is applied individually.

Research Areas