#TheDress is back and tearing people apart all over the world.  However, instead of tricking the mind with optical illusions this recent craze tricks your ears.  What do you hear: Yanny or Laurel?


I have to admit, I first heard Yanny when I played the above clip.  Actually, I heard it multiple times until I adjusted the volume on my phone.

At first, I thought to myself, “How in the world are people hearing ‘Laurel?’  This is crazy!”  Then I came across a comment on a Twitter reply chain to focus on the deeper voice.

That’s when I first realized that the clip contained two separate voices layered over another.

So, once I paid attention to the deeper voice, I managed to hear that mythical Laurel everyone raved about.  Heck, even Chrissy Teigen says she’s #TeamLaurel.

I think it all comes down to tone.  If you have a sensitivity to higher pitched sounds, you’ll pick up on Yanny right away.  The exact opposite goes for Laurel.

Once I began alternating my focus between the two voices, I started hearing both names equally.  It’s not Yanny or Laurel to me anymore… it’s Yanny AND Laurel!  Strangely enough, not many people can hear both, which is really strange.  Why is that?

Why do some people only hear one name while so few can only hear both?  Is it a problem with the ear canal?  Is it all in our head?  Does it come down to age and hearing loss?

Jody Kreiman, a principal investigator at the voice perception laboratory at the UCLA, says it could be syntax:

“The energy concentrations for Ya are similar to those for La.  N is similar to r; I is close to l.”

Hmmm, maybe.  But, what if it goes deeper than that?  Leave it to the New York Times to try and find a scientific reason behind this phenomenon.

Patricia Keating, a linguistics professor and the director of the UCLA phonetics lab says it might come down to pitch:

“It depends on what part (what frequency range) of the signal you attend to.  I have no idea why some listeners attend more to the lower frequency range while others attend more to the higher frequency range.  Age? How much time they spend talking on the phone?”

Still, that doesn’t fully answer the question why people hear Yanny or Laurel.  Because of that, doctors definitely want to explore why certain people only hear one name while others hear both.

Also, I should mention that some sounds can only be heard by people under the age of 25.

The interesting thing, though, is that there’s no clear pattern in who hears what.  People of all ages claim they either hear Yanny, Laurel, or both!

Until then, have fun teasing your friends over what they hear.  Do you hear Yanny or Laurel?

Although, one artist with the perfect namesake says he is the only person who knows for sure.


What do you think? Comment below