ASAD: A Novel Audification Console for Assessment and Communication of Pain and Discomfort




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Peer reviewed



Pain and discomfort are subjective perceptions that are difficult to quantify. Various methods and scales have been developed to find an optimal manner to describe them; however, these are difficult to use with some categories of patients. Audification of pain has been utilized as feedback in rehabilitation settings to enhance motor perception and motor control, but not in assessment and communication settings. We present a novel tool, the Audification-console for Self-Assessment of Discomfort (ASAD), for assessing and communicating pain and discomfort through sound. The console is a sequence of increasing pitch and frequencies triggered at the press of buttons and displayed as a matrix that can be associated with the subjective perception of pain and discomfort. The ASAD has been evaluated in its ability to capture and communicate discomfort, following a fatigue test in the lower limbs with thirty healthy volunteers, and compared to the most common self-reported methods used in the NHS. (The National Health Service (NHS) is the publicly funded healthcare system in England and one of the four National Health Service systems in the United Kingdom.) This was a qualitative, within subjects and across groups experiment study. The console provides a more accurate assessment than other scales and clearly recognizable patterns of sounds, indicating increased discomfort, significantly localized in specific frequency ranges, thus easily recognizable across subjects and in different instances of the same subject. The results suggest a possible use of the ASAD for a more precise and automatic assessment of pain and discomfort in health settings. Future studies might assess if this is easier to use for patients with communication or interpretation difficulties with the traditional tools.


open access article


Human-computer Interaction


Sheward, F., Romano, D.M. and Marquardt, N. (2022) ASAD: A Novel Audification Console for Assessment and Communication of Pain and Discomfort. Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies, 2022, 9307316


Research Institute

Institute of Artificial Intelligence (IAI)