Please just help us out here. Listen to the clip below and tell us if you hear the word “Yanny” (not a word) or “Laurel.”
Depending on a number of factors — including the sound settings on your computer, and maybe more crucially, your age — you might hear one or the other. The two younger members of Select All heard “Yanny,” while the older two heard “Laurel.” (Remember the Dress? You know the one.)
“It’s definitely Laurel,” our editor, Max Read, and our colleague Jake Swearingen told us in unison. [Editor’s note: It was not in unison.] The pair each tried a number of headphones ranging from nice to incredibly crappy and still heard only “Laurel.” “There is no N sound. Do people actually hear ‘Yanny’ or is it a joke?” asked Vulture’s Tara Abell, also Team Laurel. In an attempt to create some sort of control setting, we placed a set of headphones on Madison Mills, a member of our video team, and played the video without her knowing anything about what to expect. “It’s saying ‘Laurel,’” Mills said. Clearly, all of these people have lost their minds
While the post is going viral on Twitter, its origins appear to be an Instagram poll that subsequently jumped to Reddit.
If you mess around with the pitch, you’ll also maybe hear different sounds depending on how messed up your ears are.
But as one redditor pointed out — and which at least one Select All editor confirmed — you can also hear different sounds within the original video just by adjusting your volume, thanks to the equal-loudness contour, which Wikipedia describes as “a measure of sound pressure (dB SPL), over the frequency spectrum, for which a listener perceives a constant loudness when presented with pure steady tones.”
“If you turn the volume very low, there will be practically no bass and you will hear Yanny,” user juuular writes. “Turn the volume up and play it on some speakers that have actual bass response (aka not your phone) and you will hear Laurel.”
Yanny or bust.