Home Audiology Is It ‘Yanny’ or ‘Laurel’? The Internet Wants Answers

Is It ‘Yanny’ or ‘Laurel’? The Internet Wants Answers

by Bridget Murray Law
written by
hig and low frequency audio waves on white background

It’s the question that’s driving the Internet crazy: Is the computerized voice on a viral audio clip saying “Laurel” or “Yanny”?

First posted on Reddit by a high school student, the clip exploded onto Twitter yesterday. Ever since, the tweets on either side have grown louder and more divided: Some insist the clip says Laurel. Others couldn’t be more convinced that it’s Yanny. It’s all reminiscent of the argument over that dress that some saw as blue and others as gold.

And so, as the Internet debates this audio chameleon—dividing friends, families and co-workers worldwide—journalists have been seeking answers from experts, many of them audiologists or speech-language pathologists. Their answers are certainly enlightening. Most note the varying devices, speakers and headphones delivering the recording differentially affect how people hear it. But (sorry, Internet!) they don’t point to a definite right or wrong camp.

Correct or not, what do most people hear when listening to the clip? Informal polling of Leader staff puts Yanny far ahead of Laurel at 5:2.  Yanny also leads with 60 percent (versus 40 percent for Laurel) in an informal @ashaweb vote among ASHA members on Instagram. So while there may be no “correct” answer to this conundrum, Yanny appears to win the preference vote.


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Linda Ilene Slone May 16, 2018 - 5:46 pm

I tried as hard as I could to listen for and hear “Laurel” several times, over 40 plays of it.
I never heard it. I hear Yanny every time.

Mary F May 16, 2018 - 7:39 pm

I hear Only Laurel and when I listened with 3 friends, they only heard Laurel, but my husband heard Yanny.

Ange May 16, 2018 - 7:50 pm

I have heard it on a few different devices, and it has changed the word I hear! On my radio this morning it was laurel with the clip in this article on my iPhone I hear yanny!

Linda A. Garner May 16, 2018 - 8:19 pm

Laurel, loud and clear.

Carolyn S. May 16, 2018 - 8:58 pm

I have moderate hearing loss and wear Widex hearing aids. I hear Yanny with my hearing aids in, but Laurel when I take them out.

Arleta Kersh May 16, 2018 - 9:19 pm

I hear neither one. I hear “yairy.”

Kris May 18, 2018 - 11:01 pm

Me too finally someone else who hears that!

Michelle Waters Ritchey May 16, 2018 - 9:27 pm

I tried so hard to hear “yanny” …. listened to 7 different clips over amd over…. and it is always Laurel.

Cathy May 16, 2018 - 9:37 pm


Sandy May 16, 2018 - 10:00 pm

All I hear is “Laurel!” Perhaps it’s the acoustics from my old iPhone

Sholanda Marible May 16, 2018 - 10:04 pm

I listened to it on yesterday, and I heard Laurel. I played it over and over all day yesterday and heard the same thing, Laurel. This morning at the doctor, I played it again and heard Yanny. Now, I’m home and I hear Laurel! This is bananas!!!

Michele Gallucci May 16, 2018 - 10:13 pm

sounds like yammy to me

Ramona May 19, 2018 - 11:23 am

to me too! I hear ‘yammy’ :))

Kristie May 16, 2018 - 10:58 pm

All I hear is “Laurel”… not once have a heard “Yanny”

Jerry May 16, 2018 - 11:15 pm

Sounds like Jerry

Esmael May 16, 2018 - 11:27 pm

It’s both ! it starts of with yanny and laurel is added right after the a in yanny its hard to explain but i hear both !

Holly May 16, 2018 - 11:38 pm

Hahahah!!! I only hear Laurel. My husband and I are sitting together listening. He and my daughter both say Yanny. I only hear Laurel.

Nick May 17, 2018 - 12:28 am


MHD May 20, 2018 - 7:23 am

What ?

Pam May 17, 2018 - 12:41 am

Sounds like someone with an elextrolarynx saying ‘hello’

Lindsey May 17, 2018 - 12:42 am

So am i the only one who heard Yannel? I have dyslexia so that probably doesn’t help

Barbara May 17, 2018 - 1:10 am

I hear only Laurel, no matter how many times. I played it for my sister on same device I used and didn’t tell her what she was listening to- she only heard Yanny. Same with my mom!

Brenda Reynolds May 17, 2018 - 8:37 am

I have heard it numerous times. Each time I heard Danny, however I did hear Laurel. I think it’s the version you hear. They showed a study changing pitch that I saw and it clearly lets you hear both words.

Court May 17, 2018 - 8:44 am

Cool trick, if you stare at word laurel on screen eventually your ears will hear laurel
Then switch and stare at word yanny and you’ll hear yanny …. your brain wants to hear what it sees

Nandhu Radhakrishnan May 17, 2018 - 10:51 am

Here is a perceptual, spectrographic, and spectral analysis

CL May 17, 2018 - 11:15 am

If you slow it down you may hear it differently too. They did it on WMMR Preston and Steve. I only hear Laurel, when they slowed it down I hear Yarry. Very strange.

Andrew H. Gee May 17, 2018 - 2:01 pm

In another instance of the recording elsewhere, I could only hear Yanni. But as I listened to this iteration, I was able to hear both simultaneously.

Bonnie S. kramer May 17, 2018 - 3:58 pm

I heard it played first in GMA yesterday. The recording was clear. I clearly heard “Laurel” each time. Later in the day, I heard it on another show. This time, though still ckear, the voice sounded much different from the first one I heard, and this time I clearly heard “Yanny” everybtime. When the recordings were played on both shows, there was no confusion on my part about each repetition of the words. But they were different from the first show tonthe second.
Bonnie S. kramer, M.Ed. CCC/ SLP

Annika??‍♀️ (@AnnikaSkywalker) May 17, 2018 - 4:58 pm

I have listened countless times and only hear Laurel, very clearly.

David L May 17, 2018 - 5:50 pm

I hear neither. I hear Haley.

carolyn bean May 17, 2018 - 7:03 pm

i hear Laurel every time

Karen May 17, 2018 - 7:26 pm

I hear Laurel. And I do have a high frequency hearing loss. Hmmmmm. My husband hears it both ways.

Sue May 17, 2018 - 9:18 pm

I wear hearing aids for a oretty severe hearing loss and no matter what device I listen to it on, with or without my hearing aids…laurel is all I hear. And whether it matters or not I do not hear low tones very well. I hear high pitched sounds better.

Erin S. Burns May 18, 2018 - 11:26 am

I hear Laurel, but on a low quality recording. The only way I hear yanny is if it is made lower pitched.


But it is actually Laurel according to the guy who was recorded saying it.


Lauren May 19, 2018 - 1:40 am

I hear it both ways. At the start it was yanny then it switched to laurel

Sally May 19, 2018 - 3:55 pm


Brian May 19, 2018 - 5:43 pm

I hear Laurel. My wife and 2 kids hear yanny..

Marcy May 19, 2018 - 7:20 pm

I hear Haley

Deb May 19, 2018 - 7:54 pm

I’m a speech language pathologist- the other night I heard Laurel in my left ear, Yanni in my right.

Today I clearly heard yanni, however when bone conduction was added- it was clearly Laurel!

Then I heard both after that.

Denise Gage May 21, 2018 - 12:24 pm

On this recording I hear Laurel but on the radio it was clearly Yammy.

Anne May 23, 2018 - 11:54 am

Interestingly, I hear Laurel clearly and my husband (who has some high frequency hearing loss) hears Yammy through the same device. So don’t think it could be related to high frequency HL. Perhaps some processing differences?

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