Voice loudness and gender effects on jitter and shimmer in healthy adults

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Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate voice loudness and gender effects on jitter and shimmer in healthy young adults because previous descriptions have been inconsistent. Method: Fifty-seven healthy adults (28 women, 29 men) aged 20–40 years were included in this cross-sectional single-cohort study. Three phonations of /a/ at soft, medium, and loud individual loudness were recorded and analyzed using PRAAT software (P. Boersma & D. Weeninkk, 2006). Voice loudness and gender effects on measured sound pressure level, fundamental frequency, jitter, and shimmer were assessed through the use of descriptive and inferential (analysis of variance) statistics. Results: Jitter and shimmer significantly increased with decreasing voice loudness, especially in phonations below 75 dB and 80 dB. In soft and medium phonation, men were generally louder and showed significantly less shimmer. However, men had higher jitter measures when phonating softly. Gender differences in jitter and shimmer at medium loudness may be mainly linked to different habitual voice loudness levels. Conclusion: This pragmatic study shows significant voice loudness and gender effects on perturbation. In clinical assessment, requesting phonations above 80 dB at comparable loudness between genders would enhance measurement reliability. However, voice loudness and gender effects in other age groups, in disordered voices, or when a minimal loudness is requested should be further investigated.

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Journal Article

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