By now you have probably heard about the “Yanny” or “Laurel” viral social media debate — and you’ve likely already decided if you’re on Team Yanny or Team Laurel. The internet is full of theories as to why listeners are hearing two different words. There is no right or wrong answer here. Whether the lack of explanation frustrates you or brings you comfort, I’m going to take a look at the various theories about the “Yanny” or “Laurel” recording to see if I can put your mind — and my own — at ease.
If you haven’t, check out this tweet and take a listen for yourself. Really, how it could be that some people hear “Yanny” and others hear “Laurel?” It’s pretty obvious the soundbite says “Laurel,” but everyone has their our own opinions. The Twitterverse is out to offer a few explanations to help solve the mystery that is taking raging across social media.
A few users are proposing that certain sounds are only audible to younger people, and there is scientific evidence to back that up. The medical term is called presbycusis, but it is basically when the cells in your ears begin to age. This age-related hearing loss can begin as early as age 18, so naturally, children and young adults may be more in tune to hear on a different frequency than adults. I can’t say that’s what is going on here, but it certainly makes a bit of sense, doesn’t it?
Could it all just be in your head? Maybe. A few Twitter users are putting forward the theory that if you read the words “Yanny” or “Laurel before listening, you may be more likely to hear one name over the other since you are already anticipating one of the two. To be honest, who didn’t read the names first? They are right there on the audio clip, so unless you've been prepped ahead of time, it's nearly impossible to avoid. I guess it is more possible than not that I'm going to hear one of the two words I just read. Ah, Twitter. You're onto something.
As you can tell, there are a lot of different theories floating around out there. One of the more popular theories gaining traction has to do with the frequency at which you listened to the four-second clip. This could very well have something to do with whether or not you heard “Laurel” or “Yanny.” Some users think that the lower the volume, the more likely you are to hear "Yanny" and the higher the volume, or closer you are to the sound, the more probable it is to hear "Laurel."
If you will entertain me for a quick sec, I just want to throw my vote behind this theory. Last night, my husband was listening to the clip on the couch while I was in the other room. I could've sworn I heard "Yanny" until I listened to it at full volume on my own phone, and that's when I knew it was for sure "Laurel." Once again, Twitter, you've really outdone yourself. I'm going to give this theory my unofficial stamp of approval.
Others are arguing that the clip is two separate tracks blended together, and if you listen closely you might just hear both "Yanny" and "Laurel" at the same time. That's enough to send my brain into a tizzy, but with a clip as crazy as this one, nothing is off the table.
Or is the entire thing just one big conspiracy theory? Some Twitter users are speculating that the sound clip is just one big hoopla over nothing, because nobody has time for that.
Whatever side of the debate you fall on, only time will tell if there is a right or wrong answer.