A short audio clip is completely puzzling the world and pitting friend against friend in the online debate. What is the voice saying – is it Yanny or is it Laurel?
How can some people hear “Yanny” and others the completely different-sounding “Laurel”?
Several researchers agreed that the audio recording is just too ambiguous. Theoretically, listeners can hear different sounds depending on whether the low frequencies or high frequencies are amplified.
How do you explain why someone would hear the lower frequencies and some hear the higher frequencies in the first place? What could alter what you hear are your headphones or audio equipment. Mediocre speakers don’t usually play both quality bass and treble. So if you’re listening on your phone, laptop speakers or through cheap headphones, you might hear something different than with a high-quality sound system, CNET reports.
But what if two people are both listening through the same speaker and hear different things? Well, your ears just might be different.
“If I cut your ears off and put someone else’s on your head, sounds would sound different,” Howard Nusbaum, a psychologist who studies speech science at the University of Chicago, told Gizmodo. He explained that differently shaped ears focus sounds differently. You might actually hear sounds differently than the person next to you.
Even with various explanations as to why we are all hearing this recording differently, the bottom line is that not all people receive and process auditory information the same.