A new debate is taking over the internet and its name is Yanny-Laurel.
The “Yanny-Laurel” audio clip was first posted to Reddit then quickly spread to Twitter and had everybody talking and tweeting about it. Do you hear “Yanny” or “Laurel” when you listen to the clip?
The responses vary, possibly because of the device you listen to it on.
One social media maven, Cloe Feldman at the Twitter handle @CloeCouture, posted the audio recording and asked followers, “What do you hear?! Yanny or Laurel.” More than 14,000 people responded and posted what they heard.
The audio clip is having a similar response to “The Dress” photo that went viral back in 2015 and had everyone arguing about what color a dress was, white and gold or blue and black.
The scientific explanation centers more on the quality of the recording and the resonance of speech sounds.
“This is a relatively low quality signal that is played over a variety of devices and the sound was developed to be on a perceptual border,” said Todd Ricketts of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Hearing and Speech Sciences Department.
“For example, with a full-range higher quality speaker, I clearly only hear laurel, but over my computer speakers, I clearly only hear yanny,” Ricketts said.
Alicia Spoor, president of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, agreed the quality was not good. She said the complicated answer has to do with “resonance of the speech sounds.”
“When you say the word “yanny” and “laurel,” the waveform looks very similar for the first band of energy resonance. However, there is a significant difference in the second and third resonances of the two words, which is how humans interpret the words,” she said.
The debate began on Reddit and expanded throughout social media. Ellen DeGeneres tweeted that everything at her show stopped to see what people heard. She said she heard laurel. But New Age musician Yanni was in the yanny camp. Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said he’d like “to declare something that is just so obvious: It is laurel and not yanny.”
Some speculated online that the age of the listener might determine what was heard, while others changed the pitch to alter results.
“Age can play a role, as well as expectations, Spoor said. However, she still heard “laurel” when she changed the pitch.
For an analogy, she cited the 1969 Creedence Clearwater Revival song “Bad Moon Rising:” ″There’s a bad moon on the rise” versus “there’s a bathroom on the right.”
As for the dress that caused an earlier commotion, some people said it was white and gold, while others saw blue and black.