Laurel vs. Yanny: the viral audio clip which is tearing the world apart


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On Tuesday, May 15th, the internet had another meltdown, only this time it wasn’t about a poorly-lit photo of a dumb dress. This debate is like the dress debate, only it’s about a computer voice saying the word “Laurel.” Or Yanny, depending on how f–king crazy you are!! Seriously, people, how can you not hear the “L” sound??? Here’s the audio clip that was driving everyone insane on the internet:

Laurel. Laurel. Laurel. So how did people get Yanny? I don’t know. Truly. Some people suggested that the volume by which you listen to the clip affects what you’re hearing, and other people suggested that various computers and phones might have a different “pitch” which is throwing off the word:

In that one, I can hear “Yary” (rhymes with “Gary”) but still not Yanny. This is tearing people apart. #TeamLaurel

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Photos courtesy of Pexels.com.

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123 Responses to “Laurel vs. Yanny: the viral audio clip which is tearing the world apart”

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  1. Alissa says:

    this is stupid, but I’m with Chrissy Teigen. it’s clearly Laurel.

  2. Runcmc says:

    I’ve listened to it like a dozen times and I very clearly hear Yanny! I hear zero L sounds. Even when I try to force my brain by thinking or whispering “laurel” along with the audio.

    Weird!

  3. Mariposa says:

    Omg. I just listened through my bose headphones and I thought how could anyone hear Laurel?! The word starts with a Y and has an N in the middle! Wtf. But, then I listened to the mother jones clip and it was clearly ‘yanni’ at the low pitch and ‘laurel’ higher.

  4. equalitygadfly says:

    What!? I hear “Yanny” clear as a bell. Laurel? Not even close! I’m with Hoda. Don’t understand how “Laurel” is even an option.

    • Kitty says:

      I find this hilarious…I’ve listened to it a million times and all I hear is laurel, I don’t understand how anyone would possibly hear anything else. So weird

      • equalitygadfly says:

        LOL!!! So crazy! I’m obsessed with this now. Lol.

        So, I have listened to it every which way. Loud, soft, medium…different devices. Yanny Forever! [insert Wakanda handshake]. :-)

        No, but seriously. Even on the second recording, with the different pitches, I don’t hear “laurel” — at all!

        Probable obsession for the day: What else do we all hear completely differently!?

      • ISSAQUEEN says:

        It’s Laurel. How are people hearing yanny? I’m sure it’s one of those made up things to get people going. There is no yanny in this clip.

      • KBB says:

        It’s not one or the other, it’s both. I’ve heard it both ways and each time I could not hear the other word no matter how hard I tried. It’s the auditory version of the young lady/old lady drawing.

        If you can’t hear the other word, I’d recommend listening to it at random times throughout the day without any expectation of what you’ll hear. I finally heard yanny right before bed last night and laurel was completely gone, now it’s back to laurel.

      • equalitygadfly says:

        LOL, ISSAQUEEN! Not made up; I feel the same exact way as you, except I do not understand how Laurel is an option.

  5. justcrimmles says:

    Well now the word laurel sounds weird to me, but it’s definitely laurel.

  6. Patricia says:

    For me it was CLEARLY Yanny. Then I listened really hard to the lower tone until I heard laurel. Then I went to sleep. When I woke up I saw this nonsense on Facebook again so I had to give it another listen… ONLY LAUREL NOW! I can’t even hear Yanny if I try. I want my Yanny back! This is some weird shit.

  7. Steph says:

    I hear Yanny lol, I don’t know if it has to do with the fact that I speak another language.

  8. Margo S. says:

    I hear YANNY !!!!! HOLY SH!T!!

  9. Jay says:

    Yanny on the original, but I can hear both on the pitch examples.

  10. Danielle says:

    My boyfriend and I listened on the same device. He heard laurel and I heard yammy, actually.

  11. Alexandria says:

    Please I beg of the organizers, do not play this clip when Dotard, Kim and Xi are in my country!

  12. Amy says:

    When I heard this this morning on my phone, it was 10000% Yanny. But then when I listened to it on my work computer (…working hard today, clearly!), it was so clearly Laurel.

    And there ends my helpful comment of the day!

  13. OSTONE says:

    I just listened to it, and I only can hear “Yanny”.

  14. Scal says:

    My husband and I listened to it on our separate phones at the same time-and on his it sounds like Laurel and on mine it sounds like Yanny.

    It’s clearly about how you have your sound set up on your phone-especially the bass settings.

  15. Other Renee says:

    I hear Laurel. However, if you watch this video, you can also hear Yanny. It’s about the frequency. It doesn’t fully explain WHY but it will make you realize you’re not loopy if you hear one or the other: https://youtu.be/c3GNT8Ac050

  16. Natalie S says:

    As I was turning the volume up on my phone, I heard yanny. At full volume, very clearly laurel, so yeah, I think it is a volume thing.

  17. Shannon says:

    I totally hear yanny *shrug*

  18. Incredulous says:

    Laurel. Not even remotely like Yanny at all.

  19. Rescue Cat says:

    I clearly heard Laurel the first time and then Yanny the second.

  20. lightpurple says:

    Laurel

    A bigger mystery to me is what game was the NBA twitter watching last night? LeBron lost, guys.

  21. Veronica S. says:

    Laurel. I listened to it both on my computer and my phone. I will say that the VERY first instance of it on my phone sounded like “yanny,” but immediately afterwards, the lower bass tones picked up and it sounded like laurel every time after that. So it’s likely that people hearing “yanny” just have bad bass reception on their speaker, lol.

  22. Beth says:

    I clearly heard Yanny and nothing else

  23. Wow says:

    I have a theory that someone is trolling the internet and putting out different sounding videos just to mess with people. I’ve heard both yanny and laurel so 🤷‍♀️

  24. Pixie says:

    I hear Laurel but my partner hears Yerry haha!

  25. Mel M says:

    I hear “Yary” like you Kaiser, in like a French accent lol . I don’t hear a clear Yanny or Laurel. And are we pronouncing Laurel like Lorelei from Gilmore girls? Or are we pronouncing it like L-ARE-el? I’m confused.

    ETA: I listened to one where they sped it up super fast and I for sure hear Laurel like Lorelei but when it’s slow I still hear “Yary” with a French accent lol. No Yanny ever, I don’t hear the letter N at all.

    • Mel M says:

      Ok I just have to add that I just listened to it on my iPad. Sounded like Yary again then I watched another video and went back and now it’s clearly LAUREL!! This is freaking me out. And on that second video I can’t now hear both. Maybe I couldn’t hear Laurel at first because I had just woken up and I sleep with a sound machine all night??

  26. Jailnurse says:

    Low volume it’s Yanny. Turn up the volume and it’s clearly Laurel.

  27. Coccinellidae says:

    I’m clearly insane, because I just keep hearing “jerry”.

  28. Another Anne says:

    I’m team “Yary”. It sounds nothing like Laurel. But it doesn’t sound like Yanny either, it’s clearly an “r” sound in the middle.

    Then I listened to the Mother Jones tape that plays the different pitches. The ones at the very end “semitones” do sound like Laurel.

  29. Insomniac says:

    I hear Yanny unless I crank the volume way up, and then I hear both.

  30. Amelie says:

    I didn’t hear Yanny, I heard YAMMY at first, the M sound clear as a bell in a high cartoony voice. Then I noticed “Laurel” kicking in at the end in a lower bass tone. So I can hear both depending on how I train my brain. I haven’t played around with volume and device but I do think it depends how high the bass is turned up on your audio and is a volume/pitch thing depending on what device you are listening to the audio.

  31. Janice says:

    Listening to it at full volume on my brand new MacBook Pro…It sounds like “Yelly”

  32. lucy2 says:

    I listened on my phone and clearly heard Laurel.
    Is it like the dress thing, where it can depend what device you’re using and what photo you were looking at?

    • Esmom says:

      I think it is exactly like the dress thing. The bigger mystery is why so many people are utterly obsessed with this? I guess maybe people need a distraction from the otherwise generally nasty and political nature of social media these days?

    • KBB says:

      It’s like those drawings where you see a young girl until you suddenly see an old lady. It’s just a perception thing. It is easier for some people to hear the other word when the audio or volume is altered, but that is not what is causing the difference. You can play the clip on one device in a room full of people and some will hear one word and some will hear the other.

  33. Doodle says:

    It has to do with frequencies. If you hear the higher frequencies you hear Yanny, if you hear lower frequencies better you hear laurel. I hear Yanny myself, my daughter hears yally.

    • KiddV says:

      Yep, this totally makes sense. I just played it on my computer so my husband could hear it at the same time and the same device, I clearly heard Laurel, he clearly heard Yanny. I have slight hearing loss in one ear and have a hard time with higher frequencies now.

    • KBB says:

      What about for the people who hear both at different times? I was laurel yesterday, yammy last night, and laurel today until five minutes ago when it switched back to yammy. Same phone, same clip, same volume, and it switches back and forth for me. I think it’s just a random brain perception thing.

  34. Christina S. says:

    The first clip I heard “Yanny” the second one I heard “Yary”. I don’t hear laurel, but in my defense I have a hearing impairment and certain pitches I can’t really hear or make out so that might be why I don’t hear Laurel.

  35. trillian says:

    I hear both, a higher pitched yanny over a deep pitched laurel. But both clearly distinctable.

  36. Melodious1 says:

    I hear Laurel, but I can understand why people are hearing Yanny. The clip sounds almost echo-y. Here’s something cool to try. Make a loose fist and put it thumb-side to your mouth, and say “girl girl girl.” It will sound like you’re saying “doy doy doy.” Why? I don’t quite know but I think that’s what’s happening here too.

    • KBB says:

      For a long time when I could only hear laurel, I could also hear almost a simultaneous whisper of yanny over laurel. But when it really changed to yanny/yammy for me, it was not the same whisper, it was distinctly yanny/yammy with no trace of laurel. So bizarre.

  37. Harryg says:

    Laurel! But I wish I could hear that high-pitched Yanny too.

  38. Avalita says:

    It’s CLEARLY “Laurel” on the original but you can hear “Yanny” in Mother Jones’ pitch tweet.

  39. Chloeee says:

    First time I heard it I heard Yanny and so did the five other people around me. Listened to it two hours later and haven’t heard anything other than Laurel now and I feel crazy.

    • KBB says:

      Same. It is insane. I was 100% laurel until right before bed last night, I gave it one more shot and suddenly it was so clearly and distinctly yammy. I was in disbelief, I could not hear laurel at all. What’s weird is that I could say it out loud with the recording and each time I felt like I was completely synced up with the guy.

  40. rabbitgirl says:

    Ok, there is something wrong with me. I don’t hear yanny or laurel. I hear leary or leery. I’m going deaf:(

  41. Bea says:

    I didn’t know this debate was going on. Damn royal wedding got me distracted.

    All I hear is Yammy!

  42. Marianne says:

    I heard Laurel as well. But playing around with pitch I could hear a very nasally yanny.

  43. Amy says:

    When I started playing the clip, my volume was really low so I heard Yanny, but I’m thinking only because the higher pitched sounds /part of the word comes through better if my volume is low, right…? Cuz when I put the volume up so I could hear it better, it was clearly Laurel, because I could hear the lower/bass sounds… of the word… if that makes sense.. anyway it’s Laurel!!!!

  44. hogtowngooner says:

    I heard Laurel clear as day the first time, but now I can only hear Yanny. Even when i try to trick myself into hearing Laurel, still Yanny. So weird!

  45. Valerie says:

    When I played that clip, I heard Laurel. But on Kyle Maclachlan’s instagram, it sounds more like Yelly.

  46. Annabel says:

    Insane. I’ve listened to this thing a dozen times on two devices and can’t imagine how anyone could possibly be hearing “Laurel.”

  47. katrine troelsen says:

    YANNY! Its too pitchy to be Laurel, Laurel has a round soft sound…

  48. GATy says:

    I’m not a English native speaker and I hear Laurel but I prefer the Spanish pronunciation is more beautiful in my opinion

  49. ZsaZsa Fierce says:

    It’s Yanny for me.

  50. Birdie says:

    I clearly hear only Yanny.

  51. nb says:

    The first time I listened to it I could only hear Laurel. I asked my husband what he heard without giving him any details on what it was and he said Yammy. 2 hours later I listened to it again and could only hear Yammy. So I have no idea why it changed on me, but I’ve heard both, but when I hear one I can ONLY hear that one. So strange!

  52. DSW says:

    I wasn’t going to get involved in this silliness, but my local news decided to cover it. They just played the clip, and I clearly heard “YANNY”. My husband says he heard it as well.

  53. AndyJ says:

    My brother in law and I hear YARRY

  54. Jody says:

    You hear both!! Think about which one and you will hear it!