An audio file that first appeared on Instagram asking guys to vote on whether they heard Yanny or Laurel is now breaking Twitter, with Twitter divided on whether they are hearing Laurel or Yanny. Here is one such tweets:
Ok this is blowing my mind. I hear “LAUREL.” Nobody else in the studio does. wat. pic.twitter.com/VwgdiPsmjE
— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) May 16, 2018
If you follow the replies in that and several other tweets sharing the same audio, you will agree with me that the Internet is divided down the middle; those who are hearing only Yanny, and the ones who are hearing only Laurel, and there is a minor group that can hear both, with most of them hearing Yanny first.
I have personally played the audio loud in my living room with me, my wife and the five year old son listening at the same time. Other than me, the rest heard Yanny. My wife even went further to ask the young boy to repeat what he is hearing, and his response was Yai.
So, what is the guy behind the Audio saying? According to several audio experts who have spoken to CNN, CBS, I Fucking Love Science and a few others, it all boils down to frequency. “”When I analyzed the recording of Laurel”, Brad Story, Professor of Speech, Language and Hearing at The University of Arizona explained to CNN, “third resonance is very high for the L. It drops for the R and then it rises again for the L. The interesting thing about the word Yanny”, he continued, “is that the second frequency that our vocal track produces follows almost the same path, in terms of what it looks like spectrographically, as Laurel.”
In simple terms, “Older adults tend to lose their hearing of lower frequencies first, which could explain why those in their late twenties are more likely to hear the higher-pitched Yanny first”, explained Madison Dapcevich in the I Fucking Love Science article. This explanation has been demonstrated by a few including Milinda who played the audio at different speeds; check below.
Okay once I sped it up I was able to hear Yanny but all I could hear was Laurel before. pic.twitter.com/4LQR2tnBun
— milinda (@FrcknZazzed) May 16, 2018
In summary, you are likely to hear Yanny if you are below 30, using a high frequency speaker, and playing the audio in a relatively slower pace. Those who are past 30, are using low frequency speakers, and are playing the audio in a relatively higher pace are more likely to hear Laurel.
Don’t lose sleep over this.