This is the scientific reason people are hearing both Yanny AND Laurel

17 May 2018, 14:11

Hearing, listening asset

It's the biggest debate since 'the dress' and now the debate over the viral audio clip has finally been settled using good old science.

Ever since the Yanny or Laurel meme creeped onto the internet it's caused rows on Twitter, at work and in WhatsApp groups but the sensational four-second audio clip that left the world divided has finally been explained.

Die hard members of Team Yanny and Team Laurel will be pleased to know they are both correct, technically speaking. 

Twitter user Dylan Bennett took the time to offer up an answer that has alluded everyone by explaining the illusion is all down to high and low frequencies in the audio.

Okay, you're not crazy. If you can hear high freqs, you probably hear "yanny", but you *might* hear "laurel". If you can't hear high freqs, you probably hear laurel. Here's what it sounds like without high/low freqs. RT so we can avoid the whole dress situation. #yanny #laurel

— Dylan Bennett (@MBoffin) May 16, 2018

If you're older, you're much less likely to hear higher frequencies and will probably hear the word Laurel, if you're younger and can pick up higher frequencies then you're more likely to hear the word Yanny.

Audiologist Dr Bill Vass likened it to the high-pitched audio used for anti-social behaviour alarms in the UK. Some establishments use the high-pitched alarms, usually heard only by those under the age of 25, to deter youths from loitering outside. 

He told ABC Canberra: "Part of this has got to do with some hearing loss associated with as you get older, that's going to certainly affect the high frequency more than the low frequency."

However, he did note that it was also more difficult to determine the word in this particular recording because it is "not real speech".

"We're not listening to an actual speaker - we're listening to manipulated speech, and that is a bit harder," he said.

"But failing those theories, he said it "could just be a big internet hoax".