emojis emojis Experts are testing software that can track changes in mood from a person's voice. (Photo: Stock Vector One/Shutterstock)

Feeling bummed? New tech can tell whether you're depressed by analyzing your voice

Company testing speech software that can provide a window into a patient's mental health.

Turns out it's not what you say, but rather how you say it, that provides the clearest window into your mental health.

That's the idea behind VoiceSense, a company out of Israel that's developing what it calls "speech-based predictive analytics technology." The aim is to determine whether there's a correlation between speech patterns and depression and other mental illnesses, including schizophrenia.

The trial, which collects authorized phone records of test subjects, will also see if it is possible to track changes in speech patterns, to understand changes in a person’s state of mental health. And before the actual trial begins, its developers are already seeing promising preliminary results.

"If we can predict the risk groups in advance, then people will be able to get better treatment and avoid hospitalization or prevent repeated hospitalization,” said Yoav Degani, the founder and CEO of VoiceSense.

Of course, he said, talking to a patient about their symptoms is always going to be crucial. But with VoiceSense software, it may be possible to gain new insights into a person's mental state through analysis of their voice that might not be picked up solely from their words.

In fact, giving a doctor a voice sample to help diagnose and treat your condition might be as common one day as giving a blood sample.

“Our product gives an objective psychological analysis and is very accessible,” said Degani, who is a clinical psychologist with both bachelor's and master's degrees from Tel Aviv University. He and his team, composed of biomedical industry veterans and software developers, founded VoiceSense in 2000.

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