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Which do you hear? 'Laurel vs. Yanny' debate divides the Internet

16 May 2018

Yanny vs. Laurel seems to be making as many waves as "The Dress", which appeared as either white and gold or blue and black to different people in a viral phenomenon back in 2015.

The main debate among listener of the elusive clip is whether the voice says "Yanny" or "Laurel". So, if you believe that, it's Laurel.

However, the original clip has people freaking out because they can't understand why others don't hear the same thing as them. So, Yanny or Laurel?

The controversy caused Ellen DeGeneres to stop her show in order to ask people what they hear.

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Listeners were asked to choose whether the voice was saying "laurel" or "yanny", with the results nearly evenly split between the two.

Several researchers agreed that the audio recording is just too ambiguous. "Older adults tend to start losing their hearing at the higher frequency ranges", Riecke said.

Users online speculated as to the reason for the different interpretations of the recording.

There's also something to be said about hearing something you're told to hear.

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Whether you hear an ascending or descending pattern depends on what your brain is expecting to hear, and what your brain is expecting to hear depends on your lived experience. Mediocre speakers don't usually play both quality bass and treble.

If you turn the volume very low, there will be practically no bass and you will hear Yanny. Well, your ears just might be different.

To try and understand what was going on we spoke to Professor Valerie Hazan a speech, hearing and phonetic sciences expert from University College London. He explained that differently shaped ears focus sounds differently. Visually, do seeing the words first influence what you hear?

So what name is being said: Yanny, or Laurel? "You could know many people named "Laurel" and none called "Yanny"," he said. "It's definitely, definitely, definitely 'Yanny'".

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Which do you hear? 'Laurel vs. Yanny' debate divides the Internet