Real-Time Detection of Sleep Apnea Based on Breathing Sounds and Prediction Reinforcement Using Home Noises: Algorithm Development and Validation

Feb 22, 2023
JMIR 2023



Multinight monitoring can be helpful for the diagnosis and management of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). For this purpose, it is necessary to be able to detect OSA in real time in a noisy home environment. Sound-based OSA assessment holds great potential since it can be integrated with smartphones to provide full noncontact monitoring of OSA at home.


The purpose of this study is to develop a predictive model that can detect OSA in real time, even in a home environment where various noises exist.


This study included 1018 polysomnography (PSG) audio data sets, 297 smartphone audio data sets synced with PSG, and a home noise data set containing 22,500 noises to train the model to predict breathing events, such as apneas and hypopneas, based on breathing sounds that occur during sleep. The whole breathing sound of each night was divided into 30-second epochs and labeled as “apnea,” “hypopnea,” or “no-event,” and the home noises were used to make the model robust to a noisy home environment. The performance of the prediction model was assessed using epoch-by-epoch prediction accuracy and OSA severity classification based on the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI).


Epoch-by-epoch OSA event detection showed an accuracy of 86% and a macro F1-score of 0.75 for the 3-class OSA event detection task. The model had an accuracy of 92% for “no-event,” 84% for “apnea,” and 51% for “hypopnea.” Most misclassifications were made for “hypopnea,” with 15% and 34% of “hypopnea” being wrongly predicted as “apnea” and “no-event,” respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of the OSA severity classification (AHI≥15) were 0.85 and 0.84, respectively.


Our study presents a real-time epoch-by-epoch OSA detector that works in a variety of noisy home environments. Based on this, additional research is needed to verify the usefulness of various multinight monitoring and real-time diagnostic technologies in the home environment.


Vu Linh Le
Daewoo Kim
Eunsung Cho
Hyeryung Jang
Roben Delos Reyes
Hyunggug Kim
Dongheon Lee
In-Young Yoon
Joonki Hong
Jeong-Whun Kim


Author JH contributed as a co-corresponding author for this paper.