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Madison, Wisconsin

Summary: Chaos has been observed in turbulence, chemical reactions, nonlin-

ear circuits, the solar system, biological populations, andseems tobe anessential

aspect of most physical systems. Chaos may also be central to the interpretation

of irregularity in voice disorders. This presentation will summarize the results

from a series of our recent studies. These studies have demonstrated the

prescence of chaos in computer models of vocal folds, experiments with

excised larynges, and human voices. Methods based on nonlinear dynamics

can be used to quantify chaos and irregularity in vocal fold vibration.

Studies have suggested that disordered voices from laryngeal pathologies such

as laryngeal paralysis, vocal polyps, and vocal nodules might exhibit chaotic

behaviors. Conventional parameters, such as jitter and shimmer, may be unreli-

able for analysis of periodic and chaotic voice signals. Nonlinear dynamic

methods, however, have differentiated between normal and pathological phon-

ations and can describe the aperiodic or chaotic voice. Chaos theory and

nonlinear dynamics can enchance our understanding and therefore our assess-

ment of pathological phonation.

Key Words: ChaosNonlinear dynamic methodsVocal fold model

Voice analysis.

INTRODUCTION

Chaos is a term that describes pseudorandom

behavior generated by a system that is both deter-

ministic and nonlinear. Although chaos was once

thought to be unique, it has now been widely ob-

served, such as in turbulence, chemical reactions,

nonlinear circuits, the solar system, and biological

Accepted for publication January 5, 2005.

From the Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology

Head and Neck Surgery, University of Wisconsin Medical

School, Madison, WI 53792-7375. E-mail: jiang@surgery.wisc.

edu

Supported by the National Institute of Deafness and other

Communication Disorders under National Institutes of Health

grants 1-RO1DC006019 and 1-RO1DC05522.

Journal of Voice, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 217

0892-1997/$32.00

2006 The Voice Foundation

doi:10.1016/j.jvoice.2005.01.001

2

populations.

1

Recent studies in neurology and cardi-

ology suggest that chaotic activity is an important

aspect of physiologic systems.

2

An example of phys-

iologic chaos was presented in the in vitro studies of

heart cells fromembryonic chicks,

3

in which electric

shocks delivered to heart cells resulted in period-

doubling bifurcations and irregular dynamics. The

output of a chaotic system is unpredictable and

extremely sensitive to slight differences in initial

conditions. However, methods based on nonlinear

dynamics, including general dimension (Hausdorff

dimension, information dimension, correlation

dimension, etc.), entropy (Kolmogrov entropy,

second-order entropy, etc.), and Lyapunov expo-

nents, enable us to quantitatively describe chaotic

behavior.

1,4

Investigations of chaotic activities in

physiologic systems suggest that changes in

nonlinear dynamic measures may indicate states of

pathophysiological dysfunction. Poon and Merrill,

5

CHAOS IN VOICE 3

for example, found that chaotic activity decreased

in electrocardiogram (ECG) signals from patients

with congestive heart failure. Hornero et al

6

found

that the electroencephalogram (EEG) signals gener-

ated by schizophrenic patients had a signicantly

lower correlation dimension than the EEG signals

of normal subjects. These examples suggest that

chaos theory and nonlinear dynamic methods

might potentially be applied to diagnose physiologi-

cal disorders and evaluate the effects of clinical

treatments.

Over the last two decades, observations in com-

puter models of the vocal folds,

717

experiments with

excised larynges,

1820

and nonlinear dynamic analy-

sis of human voices

2129

have established the exis-

tence of chaos in human voice production. As noted

by many researchers, the nonlinearities of the voice

source mechanisms (eg, the nonlinear pressure-ow

relation in the glottis, the nonlinear stress-strain

curves of vocal fold tissues, and the nonlinearities

associated with vocal fold collision) make this devel-

opment unsurprising. Titze et al

24

originally sug-

gested how to improve our understanding of voice

disorders with nonlinear dynamic concepts and anal-

ysis methods. Since then, researchers have applied

these new tools to studying abnormal conditions

associated with laryngeal pathologies,

8,11,16,25,3034

to differentiate normal and pathologic voices and

diagnose pathologies,

3540

and to assess the effects

of clinical treatments.

41

These studies are promising,

although much development is still needed for prac-

tical methods. Some traditional voice analysis meth-

ods, such as jitter and shimmer, may be unreliable

for analyzing aperiodic voices.

30,4244

Nonlinear

dynamic methods provide information complemen-

tary and nonredundant to existing analysis meth-

ods.

25,37,40

Thus, nonlinear dynamic methods could

provide more information to clinicians.

In this article, we review our recent work on the

application of chaos theory and nonlinear dynamic

methods to the study of voices, focusing on studies

with computer vocal fold models, excised laryn-

ges, and human voices. The work of other research-

ers is also briey reviewed. The purpose of this

article is to stimulate the development of clinically

valuable analysis methods that can be applied to

quantify chaotic laryngeal activity and to assess

Journal of Voice, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2006

treatment effects of laryngeal pathologies. The em-

phasis is on applying chaos theory and nonlinear

dynamic methods to achieve this goal.

WHY NONLINEAR DYNAMIC ANALYSIS?

Titze

30

has qualitatively classied voice signals

into type 1, type 2, and type 3 signals. Type 1

signals are nearly periodic, type 2 signals contain

strong modulations or subharmonics, and type 3 sig-

nals are irregular and aperiodic. The typical wave-

forms of the three types of signals are shown in

Figure 1,

34

where the sampling rate is 25 kHz, the

fundamental frequency f

0

1/T, and A, B, and C

correspond to the waveforms of the type 1, 2, and

3 signals, respectively. Usually, the complexity of

a voice signal affects the applicability of traditional

analysis methods. It has been suggested that jitter

and shimmer, which are two acoustic perturbation

measures that have been traditionally used by re-

searchers, are appropriate only for nearly periodic

type 1 signals. Jitter is a measure of short-term

(cycle-to-cycle) variation in the fundamental fre-

quency of a voice signal, and shimmer is a measure of

short-term (cycle-to-cycle) variation in the ampli-

tude of a voice signal. Perturbation measures such

as jitter and shimmer presuppose, by denition, near

periodicity, and thus their usefulness may break

down for type 2 and type 3 signals. Studies examin-

ing the reliability and applicability of jitter and shim-

mer have found large variances and poor reliability

FIGURE 1. The typical waveforms of type 1, type 2, and type

3 voice signals.

JACK J. JIANG ET AL 4

when analyzing disordered or aperiodic voices.

30,4244

Spectrographic display and perceptual analysis have

been recommended for type 2 and type 3 signals,

respectively.

30,44

Although perceptual evaluation of

vocal function is simple, the inherent subjectivity

of perceptual judgments makes them potentially un-

reliable as well as difcult to quantify.

45,46

Factors

that contribute to the inconsistencies of perceptual

evaluation include different internal standards be-

tween the raters of a voice signal and differences in

how listeners focus their attention on the various

aspects of voice.

47

In addition, both perceptual eval-

uation and spectrographic display may fail to quanti-

tatively detect subtle changes in vocal function.

Because traditional voice analysis methods are lim-

ited, complementary objective measures that analyze

both nearly periodic and aperiodic voices are

desirable.

Nonlinear dynamic methods, including Poincare

map, fractal dimension, correlation dimension, Kol-

mogorov entropy, and Lyapunov exponents, can ana-

lyze irregular or chaotic activities.

1,4,48

We will

briey describe three such methods that have ana-

lyzed voices: the correlation dimension, the Lyapu-

nov exponents, and the Kolmogorov entropy. To

understand these analysis methods, the concept of

a phase space needs to be described. A phase space

is a space dened by multiple dynamic variables

composed of positions and velocities. The vibra-

tions of a dynamical system such as the vocal folds

can be shown as a trajectory in phase space with time

evolution. The trajectory in phase space qualitatively

shows the dynamics of a system: Periodic vibrations

produce a closed trajectory, whereas aperiodic vibra-

tions produce an irregular trajectory. When multiple

dynamic variables cannot be assessed, it is useful

to reconstruct the phase space of a voice signal by

plotting a single time series x(t

i

), t

i

t

0

it,

(i 1,2,,N), which is sampled at the time interval

, against itself at some time delay or lag.

4,49

We

can create the reconstructed phase space with the fol-

lowing m-dimensional time delay vector,

X(t){x(t),x(t),,x(t(m1))}, where mis the

embedding dimension and is the time delay. When

m 2D 1 (where D is the Hausdorff dimension),

the reconstructed phase space is topologically equiv-

alent to the original phase space. Because of the

nite length and nite precision of voice data, the

Journal of Voice, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2006

time delay is an important parameter in the recon-

struction of a phase space. If is too small, the

lagged variables are strongly correlated such that

the trajectory in the reconstructed phase space is

stretched around a diagonal line. On the other hand, if

is too large, the trajectory in the reconstructed

phase space is characterized by self-intersection.

Proper choice of the time delay yields an optimal

phase space reconstruction. The time delay can

be estimated with the mutual information method

proposed by Fraser and Swinney.

50

Mutual informa-

tion measures the general dependence of two vari-

ables. Fraser and Swinney

50

found that the rst

minimum value in the curve of mutual information

versus time delay provides an effective criterion for

choosing the proper time delay , which will ensure

that the variable and lagged variables are gener-

ally independent.

The correlation dimension D

2

, which was pro-

posed by Grassberger and Procaccia,

51

is a geometric

measure of a trajectory in phase space that describes

how strongly two points on the trajectory are corre-

lated. It has been widely used by researchers in

experiments because of its simplicity and fast

convergence in numerical calculation, as well as its

ability to describe irregular phenomena. The correla-

tion dimension quanties the complexity or irregu-

larity of a trajectory in phase space, which can be

classied as a zero-dimensional xed point (static

states), a one-dimensional limit cycle (periodic os-

cillations), a two-dimensional quasi-periodic torus

(superposition of two or more oscillations with no

rationally dependent frequencies), or a fractal-

dimensional chaotic trajectory (aperiodic oscilla-

tions). A system with a higher correlation dimension

may require more variables to describe its behavior.

With the correlation dimension, chaos can be distin-

guished from random white noise: The estimate of

D

2

of white noise does not converge with the in-

crease of the embedding dimension m, whereas the

estimate of D

2

of a chaotic system converges to a

nite value. Although Lyapunov exponents require

complex numerical algorithms, they have proven to

be one of the most effective descriptors of chaos.

Lyapunov exponents are related to the average rate

of exponential divergence or convergence of neigh-

boring orbits in phase space. Generally, a system

containing at least one positive Lyapunov exponent

CHAOS IN VOICE 5

is dened as chaotic, whereas a system with no

positive exponent is regular. Asystemwith a positive

Lyapunov exponent shows local instabilities and

extreme sensitivity to initial conditions. In other

words, any slight change in state will be exponentially

amplied, which results in a totally different output.

Kolmogorov entropy quanties the rate of loss of

information about the state of a dynamic system

as it evolves over time. For regular behaviors (static

states, periodic oscillations, and quasi-periodic os-

cillations), Kolmogorov entropy is equal to zero.

For chaotic systems with nite degrees of freedom,

Kolmogorov entropy is nite. Kolmogorov entropy

approaches innity for true randombehavior. Thus, a

nite and positive second-order entropy value (the

lower bound of Kolmogorov entropy) provides a

sufcient condition for chaos.

52

We will briey describe the procedures that calcu-

late correlation dimension, Kolmogorov entropy,

and Lyapunov exponents. Readers interested in de-

tailed descriptions of calculation procedures should

refer to the literature.

1,4,8,10,14,20,21,2441,4852

For a

time series x(t

i

), we reconstructed a m-dimensional

delay-coordinate phase space X

i

{x( t

i

),x( t

i

),,

x( t

i

(m1))} with the time delay technique, where

m was determined according to the embedding theo-

rem and the time delay was estimated with the

mutual information method proposed by Fraser and

Swinney.

50

After reconstructing the phase space of

a time series, we used the GrassbergerProcaccia

algorithm

51

with the Theiler

53

improvement to calcu-

late the correlation integral C(r), where r is the radius

around X

i

. The correlation integral C(r) measures the

number of distances between points in the recon-

structed phase space that are smaller than the radius

r. For small r, C(r) shows a power lawbehavior C(r)

r

D2

e

m K2

which reveals the geometrical scaling

property of the trajectory in phase space.

51

Based

on C(r), we estimated the correlation dimension D

2

in the scaling region of the radius r with the increase

of the embedding dimension m. The estimate of

correlation dimension can be obtained when the em-

bedding dimension m is sufciently large. Figure 2A

shows the reconstructed phase space of the type 3

signal in Figure 1, where t 1/f

s

, the sampling

rate f

s

25 kHz, and the proper time delay 11 t

was obtained with the mutual information method.

Journal of Voice, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2006

FIGURE 2. A. The reconstructed phase space of the type 3

signal, where t 1/ f

s

and f

s

25 kHz. B. The estimated

dimension versus r, in which the curves from top to bottom

correspond to m 1,2,,10, respectively.

Figure 2B shows the curves of the estimated dimen-

sion versus r. Despite the irregular shape of the

reconstructed phase space, the estimated correlation

dimension converges to 3.560.04 within the scal-

ing region 13.6 r 14, when m increases from

1 to 10 (see Figure 2B). Similar to the correlation

dimension D

2

, second-order entropy K

2

was esti-

mated in the scaling region of the radius r with the

increase of the embedding dimension m.

52

We used

the method of Holzfuss and Lauterborn

54

to calculate

the Lyapunov exponents of a time series.

To investigate the variability of jitter, shimmer,

and correlation dimension analysis over time, we

used a running window to analyze 11 consecutive

JACK J. JIANG ET AL 6

400-ms voice segments selected from a nearly peri-

odic signal and 11 consecutive 400-ms voice seg-

ments selected from an aperiodic signal. The nearly

periodic signal was producedbyanormal subject, and

the aperiodic signal was produced by a patient with

a vocal polyp. The time shift between two consecu-

tive segments was 20 ms. Jitter and shimmer were

estimated with the Multi-Dimensional Voice Pro-

gram (MDVP; Kay Elemetrics Corporation, Lincoln

Park, NJ). Figure 3 shows the variability of jitter,

shimmer, and correlation dimension over time for

the nearly periodic and aperiodic signal, where

curves I, II, III, IV, V, and VI correspond to D

2

of

the periodic voice, D

2

of the aperiodic voice, jitter

of the periodic voice, jitter of the aperiodic voice,

shimmer of the periodic voice, and shimmer of

the aperiodic voice, respectively. Jitter, shimmer,

and correlation dimension provide stable analyses

for the nearly periodic type 1 signal. However, for

the aperiodic type 3 signal, jitter and shimmer show

large variances and thus poor reliability, whereas

the correlation dimension has a comparatively small

variance, which demonstrates its reliability for

analysis of disordered or aperiodic voices.

55

This

example suggests that nonlinear dynamic analysis

methods represent more useful descriptors of irregu-

lar and aperiodic voices.

Methodological issues regarding jitter and shimmer

have received considerable attention. Jitter and shim-

mer have been found to be sensitive to variations

in microphone type and placement,

56

recorder and

tape types,

57,58

sampling size or signal length,

59

noise,

60

extraction algorithm,

61

and analysis

systems.

62,63

Figure 4A and Bdemonstrates that cor-

relation dimension is more robust to the effects of

shorter signal lengths and lower sampling rates than

jitter and shimmer calculated with MDVP.

55

Figure

4A shows the effect of signal length on the mean

values of jitter, shimmer, and correlation dimension

analysis of 14 nearly periodic voices. With MDVP,

shimmer gives stable results when signal lengths

are higher than 200 ms (48.6 cycles), which is the

minimum signal length required for MDVP analysis,

and jitter gives stable results when signal lengths are

higher than 500 ms (about 122 cycles). In compari-

son, correlation dimension analysis is stable when

signal lengths are higher than 20 ms (about 4.8

cycles). Figure 4B illustrates the effect of sampling

Journal of Voice, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2006

FIGURE 3. The time variances of jitter, shimmer, and correla-

tion dimension for 11 voice segments selected from the type 3

voice in Figure 1 using a running window with length 400 ms,

where curves I, II, III, IV, V, and VI correspond to D

2

of the

periodic voice, D

2

of the aperiodic voice, jitter of the periodic

voice, jitter of the aperiodic voice, shimmer of the periodic voice,

and shimmer of the aperiodic voice, respectively.

rate on the mean values of jitter, shimmer, and corre-

lation dimension analysis. Jitter and shimmer both

give stable results when the sampling rate is above

25 kHz, which is the minimum sampling rate

required for MDVP analysis. Correlation dimension

yields stable estimates even when the sampling rate

is decreased to 2 kHz. Sampling noise resulting from

low sampling rates may disrupt pitch tracking and

estimation of jitter and shimmer. Correlation dimen-

sion does not require measurement of cycle period

and so does not share this limitation of jitter and

shimmer. Correlation dimension avoids some

methodological issues associated with perturbation

methods. Additionally, applying the correlation di-

mension might reduce experimental costs because

lower quality recording equipment could be used

by researchers. Nonlinear dynamic analysis may be

valuable for describing irregular laryngeal activities,

exploring new methods for diagnosing laryngeal pa-

thologies, and assessing the effects of treatment of

laryngeal pathologies. More support for these claims

will be furnished in the following sections on vocal

fold models, excised larynx experiments, and human

voices analysis.

VOCAL FOLD MODELS

Motivations for designing computer models of

the vocal folds have ranged fromspeech synthesis to

CHAOS IN VOICE 7

FIGURE 4. The effects of signal length and sampling rate on

estimation of jitter, shimmer, and correlation dimension. A.

Signal length. B. Sampling rate.

medical applications. Because vocal fold models

give researchers complete control over phonation

parameters, which allows simulation of a wide range

of phonation conditions, they have been important to

the study of irregularities associated with laryngeal

pathologies such as vocal fold paralysis

12,17,64,65

and

vocal nodules and polyps.

16,66,67

Many simplied

versions of the IshizakaFlanagan

68

vocal fold

model have been proposed for study, in which sev-

eral mass, damping, and stiffness parameters are

applied to model vocal fold vibrations. However,

the exact relationship of the mass and stiffness of

these lump parameter models with the biomechani-

cal properties of vocal fold tissue is unclear. Finite

element models, on the other hand, allow us to con-

sider the biomechanical properties of vocal fold

Journal of Voice, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2006

tissue, but they lead to large numerical calculations

that complicate analysis.

67,69

Models can simulate irregular vocal fold vibra-

tions. Chaotic vibrations may occur when aero-

dynamic and biomechanical parameters, such as

subglottal pressure, stiffness, mass, and tension, are

out of the range that produces regular vibrations.

11,14

Figure 5A shows the effect of subglottal pressure

on vocal fold vibrations in a symmetric two-mass

model, where the maximal amplitude of the right

lower mass x

1

was obtained with a Poincare map

at a zero velocity plane

1

0. In a Poincare

map, dynamical systems are illustrated as follows:

A simple periodic orbit appears as a single point, a

periodic orbit with nite commensurable frequency

components gives rise to several discrete points,

andchaoticbehavior is shownas scatteredpoints with

a fractal structure. We use the default values of mass,

stiff, and damping, and we provide all parameters in

units of centimeters, grams, and milliseconds and

their corresponding combinations.

14

Signicantly,

small subglottal pressures fail to drive vocal fold

vibrations. If subglottal pressure exceeds the phona-

tion threshold pressure, periodic vocal fold vi-

brations result. However, if subglottal pressure is

excessively increased, nonlinear effects in the vocal

fold system become important and vibrations are

irregular and chaotic. Turbulent noise and random

parameter perturbations, which might result from

neurological and biomechanical effects, may

broaden the range of parameter values that produce

aperiodic vibrations.

15

Asymmetry between the vocal folds may also

induce chaos. In an asymmetric model, one vocal

fold has normal values for biomechanical parameters

such as mass, stiffness, and tension, whereas the

other side has abnormal values. The early study

by Isshiki et al

64

showed that tension imbalances

between the vocal folds produced subharmonics.

With a simplied version of the IshizakaFlanagan

model,

68

Steinecke and Herzel

12

found that when

tension parameter Q deviates from 1, chaotic vibra-

tions might occur that are relevant to disordered

voices from patients with superior and recurrent

nerve paralysis. Asymmetric stiffness and mass also

may induce subharmonics and chaotic vibrations.

Figure 5B shows the dependence of the maximal

amplitude of the right lower vocal mass x

1r

12

on

JACK J. JIANG ET AL 8

FIGURE 5. A. Effect of subglottal pressure on vocal fold

vibrations in a symmetric two mass model, where the maximal

amplitude of the right lower vocal mass x

1

was obtained using a

Poincare map at

1

0. B. The dependence of the maximal

amplitude of the right lower vocal mass x

1r

on the uniform

asymmetric stiffness parameter K

un

.

the uniform asymmetric stiffness parameter K

un

,

where the subglottal pressure is 0.012-cm H

2

O.

K

un

1 corresponds to symmetric stiffness, and

K

un

1 corresponds to asymmetric stiffness. When

the difference between the stiffness of the vocal folds

is signicantly large, subharmonics result. Asym-

metric vocal fold stiffness is found in patients with

vocal fold scar and Parkinsons disease. Subhar-

monic patterns also have been found in multiple

mass models with uniform and local asymmetries

in vocal fold mass and stiffness.

65

Signicant changes in the mechanical structure

of the vocal folds, such as through the introduction of

mass lesions, like vocal polyps, nodules, cysts, or

the Reinke edema, may cause the vocal folds to

Journal of Voice, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2006

vibrate chaotically during phonation. The vocal fold

model with a unilateral vocal polyp developed by

Zhang and Jiang

16

shows that vocal polyps interfere

with glottal closure and cause nonzero direct current

(DC) ow (Figure 6A). Increasing vocal polyp size

increases vocal-fold asymmetry and strengthens

the nonlinear interactions of the vocal polyp and the

vocal folds, which produces a greater perturbation

of vocal fold vibrations. Figure 6B shows the effects

of polyp size S

0

on the maximal amplitude of the

left lower vocal mass x

1l

in the vocal fold model,

where S

0

is a dimensionless parameter of polyp

size,

16

and polyp length, depth, and height are uni-

formly changed. When the polyp size S

0

/1, which

corresponds to a very small polyp, the periodic state

of the vocal fold vibrations does not qualitatively

change. However, when S

0

is sufciently increased,

chaotic vibrations appear. This result suggests that

an increase in polyp size would produce a decline

in voice quality. Conversely, a signicant reduction

in polyp size, such as would result from surgical

excision, might reproduce periodic vibrations. Sur-

gical removal of mass lesions has been clinically

shown to lead to voice improvements,

7072

such as

reduction of DC leakage and perceptual rough-

ness. The model with a vocal polyp may provide a

theoretical approach to study the effects of clinical

treatment of laryngeal mass lesions.

Unlike lump parameter models, which treat the

vocal fold as a system of masses and springs,

nite element models take into consideration the

biomechanical properties of vocal fold tissue. Find-

ings from studies conducted with both types of

models indicate that regular and irregular vocal fold

dynamics are governed by nite degrees of freedom,

which implies that low-order models are appropriate

for studying irregular and regular vocal fold dynam-

ics. In the elastic continuum model of Berry et al,

9

which possesses hundreds of degrees of freedom,

two or three empirical eigenfunctions capture the

main vibratory patterns of the vocal folds. These

ndings are consistent with those of Neubauer

et al,

73

who decomposed glottal contour patterns

obtained from high-speed image sequences into

vibratory modes. Neubauer et al

73

found that

two eigenfunctions captured approximately 98% of

the glottal dynamics for normal phonations and that

a minimum of three eigenfunctions were needed to

CHAOS IN VOICE 9

FIGURE 6. A. Glottal volume velocity ow U for the normal

vocal folds and vocal folds with a polyp. B. Effect of vocal polyp

size S

0

on the maximal amplitude of the left lower vocal mass

x

1l

in the vocal fold model.

capture the vibration patterns associated with bi-

phonation (the existence of independent vibratory

frequencies).

Nonlinearity is a fundamental aspect of the laryn-

geal system. If the laryngeal systems were linear,

chaotic vibrations would not result when biome-

chanical parameters like tension and subglottal pres-

sure exceed the range of normal values, nor would

they occur when parametric asymmetries exist be-

tween the vocal folds, or when vocal fold morphol-

ogy is altered by the presence of a vocal mass.

Bifurcation and chaos are frequently observed in

voices from patients with laryngeal pathologies.

Nonlinear vocal fold models can test the application

of nonlinear dynamic methods to study irregular

vocal fold activities as well as to simulate pathologi-

cal conditions and the effects of clinical treatment.

Journal of Voice, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2006

Disordered voices from patients with laryngeal pa-

thologies may have a nite yet higher dimension than

voices from normal subjects, which indicates more

complex dynamics, and successful clinical treatment

of disordered voices may result in a lowered dimen-

sion. This result has recently been examined through

nonlinear dynamic analyses of excised larynx

phonations and human voices.

EXCISED LARYNX EXPERIMENTS

Excised larynx experiments offer two main advan-

tages over model studies: (1) an excised larynx more

closely resembles the morphology of the in vivo

larynx than a computer model, and (2) excised larynx

experiments permit direct observation of vocal fold

vibrations. Otherwise, excised larynx experiments

offer many of the same advantages that models offer

over human voice analysis: The phonation parame-

ters in excised laryngeal experiments can be system-

atically monitored and independently controlled to

meet specic requirements, which include extremes

that are difcult to obtain in humans; conditions may

either be kept constant or changed gradually to

study bifurcations from one vibratory regime to an-

other; stationarity and signal length are easy to

control because the parameters controlling phon-

ations, eg, subglottal pressure, can be sustained for

long periods of time; and nally, direct measurement

of important data is easy and there is no need to

bother with human subjects. As a result of these

advantages, excised larynx experiments have been

applied from a very early date to understand phona-

tion and have recently studied irregular laryngeal

behavior.

74

Van den Berg and Tan

75

reported that at high

subglottal pressures, the glottis acquired an irregular

curve and noise dominated the voice signal. Isshiki

et al

64

studied asymmetrical tension in excised laryn-

ges and a computer model, and they found that

tension imbalances induced complicated and irregu-

lar vibrations. With bifurcation analysis, Berry

et al

18

observed that voice instabilities resulted from

changes in subglottal pressure and vocal fold

asymmetries. Svec et al

19

studied chest-falsetto reg-

ister jumps in human subjects and excised human

larynges. They found that a small change in vocal-

fold tension might cause an abrupt change in register

JACK J. JIANG ET AL 10

and pitch. Jiang and Titze

76

dened and measured

the phonation instability pressure (PIP) to determine

the irregular phonation (IP) range. Vocal fold vibra-

tions became irregular and phonation perceptually

rough when subglottal pressure exceeded the PIP.

Our recent study suggests that these irregular

vibrations may be chaotic.

20

We used an excised larynx setup to study excised

larynx phonations while varying subglottal pressure

and to compare nonlinear dynamic analysis with

perturbation analysis. The larynges were mounted

on an apparatus described in detail by Jiang et al

20

The acoustic signal picked up by the microphone

was audio-to-digital converted at the sampling

frequency 20 kHz and processed on a computer. We

selected the middle segments of phonation samples

with a length of 2 s for analysis. Traditional voice

analysis methods, including voice spectrograms,

jitter, and shimmer, were calculated. The software

Cspeech 4.0 (Kay Elemetrics Corporation) extracted

the measures of percent jitter and percent shimmer.

Excised larynx phonations were studied while in-

creasing subglottal pressure. The subglottal pressure

P

s

8-cm H

2

O drove normal and periodic vocal

fold vibrations. A range of subglottal pressures ex-

isted in which vibrations sustained a nearly regular

and periodic pattern. However, when P

s

exceeded

this range, irregular vibrations were produced and

sound became rough. The minimum value of P

s

needed to produce voice instabilities has been de-

ned as the PIP.

76

When subglottal pressure was

increased above the PIP, irregular vibrations resulted

andwererecordedforanalysis. WhenP

s

increasedfrom

8-cm H

2

O to 12-cm H

2

O and from 8-cm H

2

O to 16-

cm H

2

O, the vibratory patterns of the excised larynx

showed a period-doubling bifurcation and a quick

transition from periodic motion to chaos, respectively,

as shown in Figure 7A and B, respectively.

20

The

phenomena of the period-doubling bifurcation and

the quick transition from periodic motion to chaos

can also be observed in a hemi-larynx, as illustrated

in Figure 7C, and D, respectively. Chaotic vibrations

may occur in excised larynx experiments when sub-

glottal pressure exceeds the normal phonation range.

A similar phenomenon, called above range phona-

tion, was found in a symmetric computer model.

14

Quick transitions from periodic motion to chaos

as well as from period-doubling bifurcation to

Journal of Voice, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2006

chaos are found both in excised larynx experiments

and in theoretical models,

11,14,18,20

which demon-

strate that experimental observations in excised la-

rynges have qualitative similarities with computer

simulations of vocal fold vibrations.

Figure 8A and B show the time series and fre-

quency spectrum of a normal excised larynx phona-

tion, respectively, and Figure 9Aand Bshowthe time

series and frequency spectrumof an irregular excised

larynx phonation, respectively.

20

The normal phona-

tion (NP) has a periodic time series and discrete

frequency peaks. In contrast, the IP has an aperiodic

time series and a noise-like broadband frequency

spectrum. Correlation dimension D

2

and maximal

Lyapunov exponent

1

of the NP were estimated as

D

2

1.05 0.02 and

1

0 bits/T

s

. D

2

and

1

of

the IP were estimated as D

2

2.68 0.03 and

1

0.039 bits/T

s

. The periodic time series, discrete

frequency peaks, correlation dimension D

2

1.05,

and maximal Lyapunov exponent

1

0 show that

the NP has regular characteristics. On the other

hand, the aperiodic waveform, broadband frequency

spectrum, correlation dimension D

2

2.68, and posi-

tive maximal Lyapunov exponent

1

0.039 indicate

that the IP has chaotic dynamics.

Figure 10 shows the distributions of two nonlinear

dynamic measures (correlation dimension D

2

and

maximal Lyapunov exponent

1

) and two perturba-

tion measures (jitter and shimmer) calculated for

20 irregular excised larynx phonations (IP) and 20

normal excised larynx phonations (NP), which corre-

spond fromleft to right to jitter, shimmer, correlation

dimension D

2

, and maximal Lyapunov exponent

1

,

respectively.

20

t tests were performed on these four

measures. The differences between the IPs and NPs

for jitter (t 2.35, P 0.01) andshimmer (t 1.58,

P 0.1) are not signicant at the .01 level. In con-

trast, D

2

s(t 5.48, P 0.0001) and

1

s(t 8.67,

P 0.0001) of the IPs and NPs are signicantly dif-

ferent at the 0.01 level. These results suggest that

jitter and shimmer should be applied with caution,

particularly when aperiodic or chaotic voice signals

are being analyzed; however, nonlinear dynamic

methods may provide valuable analysis tools.

NONLINEAR TIME SERIES ANALYSIS

OF DISORDERED VOICES

Clinical observations demonstrate that most la-

ryngeal diseases cause changes in voice quality,

CHAOS IN VOICE 11

FIGURE 7. A. Period-doubling bifurcation exhibited by the excised larynx. B. Quick transition from periodic motion to chaos

exhibited by the excised larynx. C. Period-doubling bifurcation exhibited by the hemilarynx. D. Quick transition from periodic

motion to chaos exhibited by the hemilarynx.

which results in voice irregularities and voice insta-

bilities. Laryngeal stroboscopy and high-speed pho-

tography have revealed that pathologies can lead

to irregular vibratory patterns of the vocal folds.

13,73

Nonlinear dynamic methods are capable of analyz-

ing irregular behaviors and might be valuable in

several areas of voice study, including evaluation of

clinical treatments, classication of voices according

to the taxonomy of disorder proposed by Titze,

30

differentiation of normal and pathologic voices, and

possibly diagnosis of laryngeal pathologies. Prelimi-

nary studies have shown promise in these areas.

Nonlinear dynamic methods have been applied to

differentiate normal and pathological voices from

patients with vocal polyps.

39

This study included

voice samples from 68 patients with vocal polyps

and 79 normal subjects. Subjects were asked to

sustain the vowel /a/ at a comfortable pitch and

intensity, as steadily and as long as possible. Figure 11

Journal of Voice, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2006

illustrates the correlation dimension D

2

distribution

of all subjects.

39

Unlike random noise, the estimated

D

2

of the samples from both the pathologic and the

normal subjects are nite. The mean and standard

deviation (mean 1.38, SD 0.24) of the D

2

of

normal subjects voice samples are signicantly

lower (t tests show P 0.001) than those of patho-

logic subjects (mean 1.59, SD 0.34). This

result suggested that the correlation dimensions of

normal voices might be signicantly different from

the correlation dimensions of voices from patients

with vocal polyps. Titze et al

24

found that the corre-

lation dimension of a dysphonic subject with polypo-

sis was higher than that of a healthy subject. With

the time series of fundamental frequency and ampli-

tude peaks derived from microphone signals, Kakita

and Okamoto

35

found that the median correlation

dimension value of 17 dysphonic subjects was higher

than that of 8 healthy subjects, which indicates that

JACK J. JIANG ET AL 12

FIGURE 8. Normal excised larynx phonation. A. The time

series. B. The frequency spectrum.

perceptually rough voices have more complex dy-

namics than normal voices. Hertrich et al

36

found

that the electroglottographic signals of patients with

Parkinsons disease and cerebellar diseases had

signicantly higher fractal dimensions than the

electroglottographic signals of normal subjects.

Giovanni et al

37

used the maximal Lyapunov expo-

nent to successfully differentiate between normal

subjects and patients with unilateral laryngeal pa-

ralysis. These studies show that both normal and

pathologic voices may be low dimensional, and that

nonlinear dynamic methods may describe the

inuence of laryngeal pathologies on voice quality

by differentiating pathological voices from normal

voices.

Nonlinear dynamic analysis is useful for classify-

ing voice signals and represents a new approach

Journal of Voice, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2006

FIGURE 9. Irregular excised larynx phonation. A. The time

series. B. The frequency spectrum.

that can supplement traditional analysis methods.

Recently, nonlinear dynamic methods have been ap-

plied to quantitatively study signal typing.

34

A total

of 122 pathological sustained vowels from patients

with Parkinsons disease, vocal nodules and polyps,

laryngeal paralysis, and laryngeal carcinoma were

evaluated. Figure 12A illustrates the estimated D

2

of

the typical three types of signals in Figure 1,

34

where the curves I, II, III, and IVcorrespond to white

noise, type 3, type 2, and type 1 signals, respectively.

In contrast with the innite dimension of white noise,

the estimated D

2

s of the type 1, 2, and 3 signals

converge to 1.48 0.02, 2.16 0.04, and 3.56

0.04, respectively, with the increase of m. Cor-

relation dimension tends to increase from type 1 to

type 2 signals, and then again from type 2 to type

CHAOS IN VOICE 13

FIGURE 10. Comparison of the distributions of jitter, shimmer, correlation dimension, and the maximal Lyapunov exponent for

normal and irregular excised larynx phonations, where NP and IP correspond to normal and irregular phonations, respectively. The

line inside the box marks the median, whiskers mark the 10th and 90th percentiles, and the dots mark the outlying points.

3 signals. For all 122 voice samples, the D

2

distribu-

tions of the three types of signals are shown in

Figure 12B.

34

We used a KruskaiWallis one-way

analysis of variance (ANOVA) on ranks on the D

2

values. Post hoc pair comparison tests with the

StudentNewmanKeuls method revealed a statisti-

cally signicant difference between any two types

of signals (P 0.001). D

2

s of the nearly periodic

type 1 signals are statistically lowest. D

2

s of the

type 2 signals, which contain periodic modulations

and bifurcations, are statistically higher. D

2

s of

the aperiodic type 3 signals are statistically highest.

Thus, correlation dimension analysis effectively

classies the three types of signals.

Perturbation analysis has been applied to objec-

tively evaluate the effects of surgical treatment of

laryngeal pathologies.

43,70,72

However, as discussed

here, perturbation analysis is only reliable for nearly

periodic voice signals under limited conditions.

Nonlinear dynamic methods can complement pertur-

bation analysis methods because they can effectively

analyze aperiodic voices, and they may be useful

for assessingtheeffects of laryngeal surgeryandother

Journal of Voice, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2006

voice treatments. This hypothesis is supported by

our study of voices before and after surgical excision

of vocal polyps, in which we used two nonlinear

dynamic measures (correlation dimension D

2

and

second-order entropy K

2

) and two perturbation

measures (jitter and shimmer) to assess the effects

of surgical excision of polyps.

41

Jitter and shimmer

were estimated with MDVP. Nineteen patients with

vocal polyps (13 women and 6 men) were included.

The average age of the patients was 41.6 years

old (standard deviation 7.4). Patients received

evaluation before and after surgical excision of

polyps. For all nearly periodic voice samples re-

corded before and after surgery, Figure 13 shows

the distributions of jitter, shimmer, D

2

, and K

2

for the

presurgery and postsurgery groups, respectively.

41

The results of a MannWhitney rank sum test

showed that although jitter decreased signicantly

after surgery (P 0.001), shimmer was not signi-

cantly different for the presurgery and postsurgery

groups at the .05 signicant condence level. On

the other hand, for both nearly periodic and aperiodic

voices, the correlation dimension and second-order

JACK J. JIANG ET AL 14

FIGURE 11. Correlation dimension distributions for the

normal and vocal polyp groups.

entropy showed a statistically signicant decrease

(P 0.001) after vocal polyp excision. Correlation

dimension and second-order entropy analysis dem-

onstrated that both presurgical and postsurgical

voices were low dimensional and that postsurgical

voices had decreased dynamical complexity and in-

creased dynamical predictability. These ndings are

in agreement with the ndings of the study of a

vocal fold model with a unilateral vocal polyp,

16

which is discussed in the section on vocal fold models.

Although nonlinear dynamic analysis methods are

potentially valuable tools for studying voice, practi-

cal issues exist in the application of these analysis

methods, particularly issues resulting from the ef-

fects of noise and the complexity of numerical algo-

rithms. Development of simple and robust methods

for analyzing chaotic activities in voice is important

for routine clinical applications. More studies are

needed to resolve these issues and improve the appli-

cability of nonlinear dynamic analysis methods to

voice study.

CONCLUSIONS

In this article, we reviewed some recent work

in the application of chaos theory and nonlinear

dynamic analysis methods to the study of com-

puter models of the vocal folds, excised larynx

experiments, and human voices. The combined

application of computer model studies, excised

Journal of Voice, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2006

FIGURE 12. A. Estimated correlation dimensions of the typi-

cal three types of signals in Figure1, as well as white noise, where

the curves I, II, III, and IV correspond to white noise, type

3, type 2, and type 1 signals, respectively. B. The distributions

of correlation dimensions for the three types of voice signals.

larynx experiments, and analyses of human voice

data can greatly enhance our understanding of chaos

in voice production and its relationship to voice

instabilities and disorders. Preliminary applications

of chaos theory and nonlinear dynamic methods to

the study of voice hold great promise. More studies

are needed to examine the clinical relevance of these

newconceptual and analytic tools. Practical analysis

methods need to be developed and tested, and more

extensive evaluations, larger numbers of subjects,

and more types of laryngeal pathologies are needed

to examine the applicability of nonlinear dynamic

analysis.

Perturbation analysis of voices became popular

in the last decades although the limitations of such

methods have been widely accepted. Nonlinear dy-

namic methods complement traditional analysis

CHAOS IN VOICE 15

FIGURE 13. The distributions of jitter, shimmer, correlation dimension, and second-order entropy before and after surgery, where

A and B correspond to after and before surgery, respectively. The line inside the box marks the median, whiskers mark the 10th

and 90th percentiles, and the dots mark the outlying points.

methods. Nonlinear dynamic analysis methods need

not replace existing methods, but they could improve

the array of voice analysis tools available to the clini-

cian. The combination of traditional and nonlinear

dynamic analyses could potentially improve our

ability to analyze pathologic voices from patients

with laryngeal pathologies. More research is needed

to study voice from the viewpoint of chaos and de-

velop procedures combining traditional and nonlin-

ear dynamic analysis that can objectively describe

voice disorders, diagnose laryngeal pathologies, and

evaluate the effects of treatment of laryngeal

pathologies.

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