Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Laurence Reese

Yanny or Laurel? Soundbite sparks internet din

Yanny or Laurel? Soundbite sparks internet din

Other audio clips have also emerged, shifting the pitch to allow listeners to hear both and understand more about the science behind the illusion.

It's a debate that's been tearing the internet apart, at least this week: A piece of audio posted across social media sounds like "Laurel" to some people, and "Yanny" to others.

The Tigers are just as divided over the question and can not come to an unanimous decision about what they are hearing.

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"What you hear doesn't mean you have better hearing or poor hearing", said Ryan McCreery, director of research at Boys Town National Research Hospital. While scientists debate over why we're all hearing different things from the same audio clip, check out how the rest of the internet is weighing in.

"If you turn the volume very low, there will be practically no bass and you will hear Yanny", a Reddit user wrote confidently. Primary information that would be present in a high quality recording or in person is "weakened or attenuated", Story says, even as the brain is eagerly looking for patterns to interpret.

"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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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. Where this does matter, she says, and where similar issues are at play, is how people fill in the gaps of their hearing when faced with a noisy context. She said she heard Laurel.

Finally, go back to the first clip.

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