A man listens to an iPod MP3 player through earphones August 17, 2005 in Sydney, Australia. Research conducted by the National Acoustic Laboratories, to be released by the Australian Federal Government today, has found that up to a 25% of people who use iPods or other portable music devices will suffer from hearing problems as a result of listening to their players at "excessive and damaging" levels.

A man listens to an iPod MP3 player through earphones August 17, 2005 in Sydney, Australia. Research conducted by the National Acoustic Laboratories, to be released by the Australian Federal Government today, has found that up to a 25% of people who use iPods or other portable music devices will suffer from hearing problems as a result of listening to their players at "excessive and damaging" levels.

Ian Waldie/Getty Images

Forget about Laurel and Hardy. In 2018, everybody just wants to talk about Laurel and Yanny.

On Monday, social media influencer Cloe Feldman asked a simple question to her followers: "What do you hear?! Yanny or Laurel?" 

We know what you're thinking: Those two words aren't anything alike! How could anyone get the two confused? Yet the response divided the internet, with each side of the argument fervently saying they hear one word and not the other. 

Personally, I heard "yanny" and thought people in the "laurel" camp were crazy. That is until I sat down to write this post, and now all I can hear is "laurel," because reality is an illusion and all of existence is breaking down in front of me.

On Google, searches for "laurel" outpaced "yanny," but both words saw a significant increase in search traffic.

It's the audio version of that blasted black-and-blue (not white-and-gold) dress.

Internet sleuths quickly got to work trying to explain the phenomenon, with several people adjusting the pitch and bass levels of the audio file in order to change what they could hear.

A few media outlets reached out to scientists and audio experts for more. University of Chicago psychologist Howard Nusbaum told Gizmodo, "If I cut your ears off and put someone else's on your head, sounds would sound different," explaining that the very shapes of our ears affect the way we hear things.

Audio engineer Matt Mikkelsen told the site that there are some other very important elements at play in whether you hear "yanny" or "laurel": Your audio equipment and your brain. The former could very easily affect what frequency and pitch you hear, meaning that you might hear a different word simply by swapping out your headphones. As for our brains, they "play a big part in shaping sound and how we hear it," so what you expect to hear may actually influence what you do hear.

No matter the scientific explanation, though, it appears that the world will henceforth be divided between "yanny" people and "laurel" people. May God have mercy on us all.

What's Happening on GuideLive