OK, unless you've been asleep this week, you've probably come across the Yanni-Laurel soundbite, wherein different people claim to hear one work or the other when the signal is played. I first heard it in my car, and it was clearly one, not the other. When I got home I tried it on my laptop and heard the other word, again indisputably. Hum......
So, it's really a matter of frequencies and how they are both reproduced in your listening device and your own range of perception, which alters as you get older or otherwise lose hearing acuity. The NYT came up with the best little tool to allow you to play around with this and to shift the sonic signal to hear one or other word distinctly. You can even tease out your own trigger point and submit the data. I am Yanni in the middle, Laurel with a very slight adjustment of the scale to the left, but I can even find a point where both seem to be perceived. Fun stuff, especially when you think about all the arguments you've had with people over who can or cannot hear certain audiophile phenomena. We're all dynamic and aging humans.
Check it out
(follow link above, not screen shot)