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J Voice. 2006 Mar;20(1):2-17. Epub 2005 Jun 20.

Chaos in voice, from modeling to measurement.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, WI 53792-7375, USA.


Chaos has been observed in turbulence, chemical reactions, nonlinear circuits, the solar system, biological populations, and seems to be an essential 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 unreliable for analysis of periodic and chaotic voice signals. Nonlinear dynamic methods, however, have differentiated between normal and pathological phonations and can describe the aperiodic or chaotic voice. Chaos theory and nonlinear dynamics can enchance our understanding and therefore our assessment of pathological phonation.

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