Finding sounds


I am using Audacity 2.0.2, Windows 7 Home Premium, installed from the .exe file as far as I recall, some years ago now.

I have some recordings of speech where the speaker coughs every so often.

I want to find each occurrence of the cough and manually edit it out without having to listen to the whole recording.

What I need is something like Noise Removal to locate the occurrences but not to remove them, just highlight or flag them in the recording so I can just select each one in turn and decide what to do with it in the context of the speech either side of it. I thought the noise removal tool with the Isolate option selected would do this but it doesn’t. I have searched as much as I can but cannot find any references to doing this.

If Audacity doesn’t do this, are there are any other tools that do?


As you’ve found out, noise reduction won’t work for that. Noise reduction works best when you have a slight-constant background noise.

I think you’ll have to do it manually. As a general rule, audio (or video) editing takes longer than real-time… It may take a few hours or more to edit a one hour program… Just listening through before & after editing is double real-time.

You might be able to find the coughs with speech recognition software (i.e. Dragon Naturally Speaking), but you could probably be done doing it manually by the time you train the software to recognize the coughs.

If you duplicated the track you “might” be able to run a Nyquist code snippet to isolate the coughs then use Analyze > Sound Finder… to label them. See: and the post below that. I would not be too optimistic if the coughs are mixed in with the audience noise.

Also you may need to run the snippet on subsections of the audio rather than on the entire length at once, because it will take some time to run.


Thanks for the replies, I hadn’t realised there were any as I thought I would get an email saying a response had been posted.

In the end I just listened to the recordings in real time and edited out as I heard the coughs etc., I will follow up the suggestions next time I have 1 like this to edit again.


As long as you did not unsubscribe from the topic you should get an e-mail advice when a reply is made.

Make sure the button at the bottom of the topic says “Unsubscribe topic” (which means you are subscribed).