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Tech & Science Laurel or Yanny? What you hear could depend on your hearing loss

04:30  17 may  2018
04:30  17 may  2018 Source:   abc.net.au

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Do you hear Laurel or Yanny ? An expert says your answer could depend on your level of hearing loss .

Laurel or Yanny ? What you hear may depend on your hearing loss SUBSCRIBE, Like & Share the mix if you enjoy it! Print Email Facebook Twitter More Laurel or

A simple looped soundbite with just two syllables has ignited an internet meltdown, dividing social media users.© ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty Images A simple looped soundbite with just two syllables has ignited an internet meltdown, dividing social media users. Do you hear "Laurel" or "Yanny"? An expert says your answer could depend on your level of hearing loss.

A four-second audio clip of a computer-generated voice saying a word has divided the internet.

The debate, which has been compared to a dispute over the colour of a dress in 2015, had some insisting they heard "Laurel".

Others said it was definitely "Yanny".

Meanwhile, some could hear both.

If Google searches were anything to go by, "Laurel" was winning.

So how come we're all hearing something different?

It's all got to do with the frequency.

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As we get older, we tend to start losing our hearing at higher frequency ranges.

In the audio clip, the word "Yanny" is being created by acoustic information which is at a higher frequency than "Laurel" is.

Lars Riecke, assistant professor of audition and cognitive neuroscience at Maastricht University, told The Verge the audio clip was ambiguous.

"The input can be organised in two alternative ways," he said.

So if you pitch shift the audio clip a little bit to hear more of either the higher and lower frequencies, you should be able to hear the two words.

Professor Riecke said it could also be as simple as changing the audio system used to play the clip, which could also add some variation to the frequency.

Audiologist Dr Bill Vass told ABC Canberra it could be like a high-pitched mosquito ringtone school students use, which can usually only be heard by people under 25 years old — making it inaudible to many teachers.

But he said 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.

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