Laurel Or Yanny? An Explanation Of The Audio Illusion The Internet Can’t Stop Joking About

05.16.18 5 months ago 6 Comments

The audio clip above — which appeared on Reddit last Sunday and went viral on Twitter Tuesday afternoon — has people arguing like it’s the dress all over again. Is that voice saying Yanny or Laurel? Technically, it’s probably both, but your ears, and your speakers, determine which you’ll hear. As with that dress [Ed. – which is blue and black, damn it], there’s a scientific explanation.

“Yanny” is in a higher pitch than “Laurel,” so if you’re using a speaker that doesn’t have great bass, you’re probably hearing “Yanny.” Younger people are also more likely to hear “Yanny” because our ears still pick up high frequencies easily. As people age, they tend to stop hearing the lowest and highest frequencies, but especially the high ones. You’re also more likely to hear “Yanny” if you’re listening at low volume or from a distance, due to the equal loudness curve. What you hear will also be affected by which word you expect to hear.

However, most people seem to be hearing “Laurel,” according to Google Trends. [Ed. – Those people are wrong.] Regardless of what you hear, folks on Twitter realized there are ways to hear the other name if you play around with the audio:

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