Yanny or Laurel? Local audiologist breaks down why we hear viral audio clip different
SPOKANE, Wash. — We may not know who they are, but Yanny and Laurel are dividing the country in half.
An audio clip that first appeared on Reddit has spread across the internet, being viewed millions of times. And no one can agree on whether the voice in the clip is saying “Yanny” or “Laurel.”
What do you hear?! Yanny or Laurel pic.twitter.com/jvHhCbMc8I
— Cloe Feldman (@CloeCouture) May 15, 2018
“I hear Yanny,” said one Spokane resident. “I hear Laurel,” said her friend who listened to the same clip.
And depending on the day or where you hear it, your opinion could change.
Ii heard it on my phone and it sounded like Yanny. But now it sounds like Laurel,” said a man in Downtown Spokane as he heard the clip one more time.
So, which is it?
Kami Fehlig is an audiologist in Spokane who works at Spokane ENT. She says the reason we hear it differently could have something to do with your age.
“The older populations would hear Laurel and the younger populations would hear Yanny,” Dr. Fehlig said.
She says age has a big impact because of how tiny hairs in our ears code frequencies.
“We have over 15,000 hair cells in the cochlea, which is the inner ear, and those hair cells tend to deteriorate over time,” she said.
The first to go? The hairs that code high frequency sounds. That explains why some just can’t agree. Yanny can be heard in a higher pitch, while Laurel is a lower pitch.
But, that won’t stop people from taking sides. Laurel truthers have their opinions cemented.
“I said ‘Yanny? Where’s Yanny?'” said one Spokane man.
And Yanny defenders can’t be swayed.
“No. It’s definitely Yanny. Do you hear that? It’s Yanny, just for the record,” said another spokane woman.
Dr. Fehlig says there is a good chance they’re both probably right.
“I’m sure they actually have both of the words in there and then what’s happening is your picking up one or the other based on the pitch,” she said.
Dr. Fehlig says another big impact on how you hear the audio will be the device you hear it on. But even for people listening on the same device, they could still hear two separate words.
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