Reliable Jitter and Shimmer Measurements in Voice Clinics: The Relevance of Vowel, Gender, Vocal Intensity, and Fundamental Frequency Effects in a Typical Clinical Task
The aims of this study were to examine vowel and gender effects on jitter and shimmer in a typical clinical voice task while correcting for the confounding effects of voice sound pressure level (SPL) and fundamental frequency (F0). Furthermore the relative effect sizes of vowel, gender, voice SPL, and F0 were assessed, and recommendations for clinical measurements were derived. With this cross-sectional single cohort study, 57 healthy adults (28 women, 29 men) aged 20–40 years were investigated. Three phonations of /a/, /o/, and /i/ at “normal” voice loudness were analyzed using Praat (software). The effects of vowel, gender, voice SPL, and F0 on jitter and shimmer were assessed using descriptive and inferential (analysis of covariance) statistics. The effect sizes were determined with the eta-squared statistic. Vowels, gender, voice SPL, and F0, each had significant effects either on jitter or on shimmer, or both. Voice SPL was the most important factor, whereas vowel, gender, and F0 effects were comparatively small. Because men had systematically higher voice SPL, the gender effects on jitter and shimmer were smaller when correcting for SPL and F0. Surprisingly, in clinical assessments, voice SPL has the single biggest impact on jitter and shimmer. Vowel and gender effects were clinically important, whereas fundamental frequency had a relatively small influence. Phonations at a predefined voice SPL (80 dB minimum) and vowel (/a/) would enhance measurement reliability. Furthermore, gender-specific thresholds applying these guidelines should be established. However, the efficiency of these measures should be verified and tested with patients.
from the Journal of Voice