Artificial intelligence to listen to stress

The causes of stress are known: any fact or thought that makes us feel frustrated, angry or nervous. Currently it is mostly triggered by factors such as the cost of living, uncertainty about the future, personal finances and high workloads. workedaccording to the “Well-Being 360” study, by the firm in health insurance for companies Cigna.

The effects of this disorder are also known, consisting of the physical or nervous tension that we experience as a reaction to a challenge, demand or overwhelming situation, and which range from psychosomatic reactions, or “physical manifestations of mental pain”, to severe psychological disorders such as depression.

However, diagnosing stressObserving their physical and emotional symptoms (restlessness, headaches, lack of concentration, tiredness, sleep problems, upset stomach) and through questionnaires and physiological tests to the patient is not always simple, fast and accurate.

Now, a new technological tool, developed by Cigna ( and considered the first of its kind, will make it possible to measure levels of stress of a person in a few minutes by analyzing their voice and allowing them to be viewed on a computer screen, “making this invisible disorder visible, which affects the body and the mind”.

the ears of the Artificial intelligence


“The ‘Cigna StressWaves’ (CSW) tool uses innovative technology based on computer algorithms and ‘machine learning’, a branch of Artificial intelligence either AIwhich allows machines to learn without being expressly programmed to do so”, explains Ana Sánchez de Miguel.

The ‘machine learning’ or automatic learning, allows identifying patterns in large data sets to make predictions, classifications and inferences, and discover key information, imitating the way humans learn, with a gradual improvement in accuracy.

In the case of the CSW test, this technology of AI allows to identify patterns in the acoustic recordings obtained from a person, requiring only that they speak into a microphone for 60 seconds to be able to capture and measure their words, pauses, breathing and the tone of their voice, to carry out based on it a reading of your level of stressaccording to DeMiguel.

He points out that for this test ( the person is asked a series of questions related to the causes that may be producing stressto see how your body reacts.

They are questions like: “what has been worrying you lately?”, “what is stressing you the most right now?” or how have you been mental health in the last weeks?”.

The voice reveals the level of tension

Artificial intelligence to listen to stress


This system analyzes the choice of words that the person uses to respond and the stops he makes when speaking.

“After completing the CSW test, you receive the results by email, as well as a visual representation of your skill level. stresswhich can be found between one of the following five levels: low, low-moderate, moderate, moderate-high, high”, explains De Miguel.

This interviewee points out that “although many times we do not realize the level of stress we are experiencing, this stress has detrimental effects on our health.”

He warns that a high percentage of the population suffers from levels of stress constants that affect their health and well-being, generating physical pain, fatigue, low moods and irritability, and that this problem is increasing in the workplace, affecting more people every year and increasing the risk of suffering from some chronic diseases.

The stress not only is it a health problem for society that is reflected in personal and work life, but it is also an important enemy for companies, according to De Miguel.

“If it is not given adequate importance, this problem can reduce productivity and self-esteem in human teams, as well as their motivation, commitment and responsibility, affecting corporate results,” he explains.

“The simple and quick measurement of stress at work, an area in which we spend most of our daily activity time, helps to keep this disorder under control, improving the health and well-being of employees and the motivation and productivity of teams humans.” Ana Sanchez de Miguel Director of Human Resources of Cigna Spain

In this sense, the new CSW test can be an innovative tool for companies to proactively care for the health and quality of life of their employees, using the latest technology to detect, prevent and keep levels of stress harmful, in the opinion of this directive.

Sometimes we take for granted that a headache, a backache, a lack of energy or a bad mood are due to tiredness or being away from home for a long time, when in fact they can derive from stress that has been generated throughout the day without us noticing, for example in the environment of workedwhere we spend most of our time, says De Miguel.

“Until the stress does not reach really high levels we are not aware of the effects it can have on our health and well-being. Periodically measuring it through the voice could prevent us from reaching these extremes, helping to control or reduce it, depending on each one’s situation”, he indicates.

For Sánchez de Miguel, it would be advisable for the workforce to take the StressWaves test “monthly, at the beginning or end of each month, in order to adequately monitor the levels of stressalthough in some cases this period could be extended depending on the type of worked and company”

“This would allow companies to see how their employees are doing and take action in those cases where it is seen that the levels of stress they have been fired”, he concludes.