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Speech enhancement is performed in a wide and varied range of instruments and systems. In this paper, a novel approach to speech enhancement using adaptive empirical mode decomposition (SEAEMD) is presented. Spectral analysis of non-stationary signals can be performed by employing techniques such as the STFT and the Wavelet transform (WT), which use predefined basis functions. Empirical mode decomposition (EMD) performs very well in such environments. EMD decomposes a signal into a finite number of data-adaptive basis functions, called intrinsic mode functions (IMFs). The new SEAEMD system incorporates this multi-resolution approach with adaptive noise cancellation (ANC) for effective speech enhancement on an IMF level, in stationary and non-stationary noise environments. A comparative performance study is included that compares the competitive method of conventional ANC to the robust SEAEMD system. The results demonstrate that the new system achieves significantly improved speech quality with a lower level of residual noise.