A new 'aural illusion' shows why you can't believe everything you hear

A new 'aural illusion' shows why you can't believe everything you hear

The internet has outdone itself and presented us with an audio illusion. Now you can not only worry about whether you are seeing things but also about your bad hearing is!

woman listening hard

The unimaginable has happened: there is now an aural illusion that is dividing listeners all over the internet. The short audio clip has caused confusion and chaos in office spaces for one reason: no one can agree on what they hear.

The four-second clip, first shared on Reddit and then by Chloe Feldman on Twitter, includes a male-sounding voice saying a name. But there is no consensus on whether the voice is saying "Yanny" or "Laurel".

Those who have stumbled upon this conundrum are divided, with those in the middle saying it is possible to hear both names if you change the volume or frequency on your speakers or your headphones. 

What do you hear?

Staff at The Verge, tired of going in circles trying to figure out what the voice was saying, consulted Lars Riecke, a professor of audition and cognitive neuroscience. Lars says it's down to age and the frequency of sounds: if you are younger, you are better able to hear higher frequency sounds; the older you are, the more likely you are to hear low frequency sounds better. 

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The professor also informed The Verge that this was not an illusion as much as it was an ambiguous piece of information that can be interpreted in different ways depending on who is listening to it. In short: whatever you hear, you are right.

But the science of the trick doesn't make people any less eager to prove that they are right and everyone else is wrong.

What do you think? Is this just a case of people hearing just what they want to hear?

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