Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Sat, March 23

Around the Bluhmin Town: What determines what you hear?

The nation is divided. Our families cannot agree. Couples are fighting. Millions have weighed in on social media. Entire schools have had voting contests. Television and YouTube cannot stop playing it. I give up.

Is it Yanny or Laurel?

And if you are clear of the answer, dear readers, drop me a line.

So when a high school student in Georgia noticed the “auditory illusion” and set it loose on the internet, a phenomena was unleashed much like the way “The Dress” caused an uproar several years ago. Was that dress white and gold or blue and black?

Guess it proves that we can see, and hear, different things given the same object or sounds. Perhaps everything is perception, and then perception is reality?

The original word that was blasted on was “Laurel.” But then people were quickly hearing “Yanny.”

Scientists claim there are quite a few things that are fueling the Yanny/Laurel debate.

Evidently, if you hear in the high/mid-high frequency more strongly, you will hear “Yanny.”

The perception of “Laurel” is experienced when the lower frequency sounds are dominant.

Yet, there seems to be more than just a frequency issue. Your ideas, language, gender, age, and mood can alter your final sound interpretation.

In other words, you hear Yanny; I hear Laurel. And we are both right. (Well actually, I think there is nothing that sounds like “Yanny” from the recording — but who am I to argue with science?)

Well that doesn’t stop me from arguing with my husband, Doug.

When the whole “Yanny-Laurel” debate hit the internet and we listened carefully, I pointed out to Doug that there is no Yanny. Of course, he laughed and disagreed.

Now I wonder if this whole “auditory illusion” might be the breakdown of all communication.

I was sitting on a park bench one day and I called out to my grandson who was in earshot range, but ignoring me. A young woman seated next to me laughed and said, “He can’t hear you.” I told her I was pretty sure he could, but didn’t want to hear me.

“No, once a boy reaches about the age of 10, he has learned to effectively tune out all female voices,” she said with authority. Then she added, “it is a proven fact that people only hear what they want to and when they want to and your voice is not registering with your grandson right now.”

Just when I was trying to digest what she was saying, my husband walked over and let out a shout to our grandson, who immediately picked up his head and ran over. What the heck just happened?

I got up from my bench, and the woman who sat next to me just shrugged her shoulders and said, “See.”

Okay, I digress!

The debate still goes on between what we are hearing – Yanny or Laurel.

If you have, somehow, missed this strange experience, go to YouTube and check it out.

Take a vote among your family and friends. Play it forward, backward, fast or slow. Do you hear what I hear? (Laurel).

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at


This Week's Circulars

To view money-saving ads...