Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Culture | By Antonia Gonzales

Laurel or yanny? Why you hear one and I hear the other

Laurel or yanny? Why you hear one and I hear the other

Which one you hear is largely dependent on a number of things that science can explain.

"The debate, which evoked memories of 2015's infamous "#TheDress" argument, led experts to chime in with possible explanations for why people are hearing such different words. The result is an audio brain teaser like the Rubin's Vase, that image where you can see either a vase or two faces depending on if your brain sees the positive or negative space first.

An audio snippet with just two syllables has ignited an internet meltdown, dividing social media users into staunchly opposed camps: do you hear "Yanny" or "Laurel?". It is a man saying a word (It's Laurel, get your Yanny butts outta here!) and people are hearing completely different things.

Borgia: Yanny may be more hard to hear because it is a high frequency, soft raspy whisper.

WebMD: Does it matter which kind of device you play it on?

Different playback systems can change the frequency of the audio being played.

What does hearing either word say about my hearing? Even though the original recording is of the word laurel, someone who hears high frequencies especially well may be picking up on higher-pitched components of that word that sound nothing like it - nearly as if one were to turn the treble way up on a stereo or mp3 player, she said.

Is there a right or wrong answer?

If you are considered to have healthy hearing, you are believed to be able to hear a range which is two octaves higher than the highest note on a piano, or 20kHz.

According to Story, the original recording included "primary acoustic features" for the letters "l" and "r".

The verdict: Szabo told the Times he recorded the original clip from's page for "Laurel". But he could not say for sure.

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