Microwave Sound Splits Internet in Another 'Yanny or Laurel' Style Debate

Black and blue or white and gold? Laurel or Yanny? This time it's a microwave's alert that has divided the internet.

TikTok user @noelbigdeal shared a perplexing video to his account on May 25 and in just one day has gained 3.7 million views and more than 700,000 likes. The clip shows Noel Doherty and a friend debating whether the microwave's bell-style alert goes up or down at the final note.

Doherty believes it goes down, while his friend is convinced it goes up.

Like the two friends, viewers of the TikTok clip haven't been able to reach a definite decision. More than 66,000 people have commented on the video, offering guesses including up, down and a mixture of both.

Some have suggested that the microwave actually plays two notes at the same time, just one octave apart, meaning the listener hears whichever one they are listening out for.

Social media users have, however, been able to get some sort of clarity from singer-songwriter Charlie Puth, who regularly posts videos on his TikTok account showing how his songs are made—exploring everything from choir singers to remixes and fake instruments.

"Can Charlie Puth confirm please?" asked one comment on Doherty's microwave clip, gaining more than 3,000 likes.

TikTok asked and he delivered. Puth made a "stitch" video using the earlier clip, duetting with the microwave alert on his piano.


as it turns out, my microwave is extremely controversial

♬ original sound - Noel Big deal

"It goes down, and then up," he says as he plays, explaining that the first tone goes down, while the following one goes up. Puth's explanation seems to have made sense for many, with his video gaining over 800,000 likes and 5.5 million views—more than the original clip.

However, contrary to Puth's popular theory, Doherty said the microwave company sent official confirmation on the sound: "The microwave company reached out to me and declared that the microwave noise goes down," he told Newsweek.

"They offered to send me a free mini-fridge, microwave, and some merch," he added.


#stitch with @noelbigdeal On the low C sharp there is an 8k frequency illusion that makes it sound higher than it is....

♬ original sound - Charlie Puth

In the grand scheme of things, the sound of a microwave is of little importance, but this perplexing debate is the latest in a line of internet-wide arguments over visual or aural perception.

In 2018, the "do you hear Laurel or Yanny?" debate was settled by the clip's producer, Vocabulary.com, which confirmed that it originally said "Laurel." It was then down to scientists to explain why so many people heard something else. According to The Verge, the lower frequencies sounded like "Yanny," while the higher sounded like "Laurel," meaning you heard whichever your ears emphasised.

Woman Using Microwave Oven For Heating Food
Stock image of woman using microwave. A confusing microwave sound has gone viral—and is dividing the internet. Getty Images

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