The need for simple and reliable means of respiratory monitoring has existed since the beginnings of medicine. In the present study, we describe the use of color spectrographic analysis of breathing sounds recorded from the external ear canal as a candidate technology to meet this need. A miniature electret microphone was modified with the addition of an adapter to allow it to be placed comfortably in the external ear canal. The amplified signal was then connected to a real-time color spectrogram program running on a laptop personal computer utilizing the Windows operating system. Based on the results obtained, we hypothesize that the real-time display of color spectrogram breathing patterns locally or at a central monitoring station may turn out to be a useful means of respiratory monitoring in patients at increased risk of respiratory depression or other respiratory problems. Finally, we conducted a statistical analysis that suggests that significant spectrogram differences may exist among some groups investigated in the study.

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