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Hearing Psychology: Both Ears Were Not Created Equally

I began my Little League career when I was about six or seven years old. I loved being active as a child, and baseball was the cure for the sporadic and unpredictable energy I exuded. As the spring of my rookie season approached, I was plagued with a problem: I was using my less dominant hand; my left. I saw all of my friends using their right hand and I wanted to be just like them even though it felt clumsy and unnatural. I eventually acquiesced to the use of my left hand, thereby saving my little league career. However, little did I know that predominantly using my left side may not have only made me a better baseball player, but also may have explained my heightened sensitivity to the hierarchical dynamics of little league in general.

According to recent studies, the left and right ear not only process information differently, but process different information differently. The left ear is more responsive to information gained from music, emotion, and intuition, while the right ear respond to speech and logic. This could mean that things you hear in your left ear may be more titillating, evocative, and salacious to the senses, while what you hear in the right may seem more formal and logical.

One study concluded that both men and women are able to accurately identify and remember more than 70 per cent of emotional words like love, kiss and passion with their left ear, while recalling only 58 per cent with the right ear. This also means that if you’re a musician, you will be better off using your left ear; musical phrases are recalled and learned more accurately using the left ear as opposed to the right. For parents, this information explains why parents predominantly cradle their young on the left side. By establishing this relationship with the infant’s right hemisphere, it opens up a more direct dialogue between parent and child.

How Does This Affect the Hard of Hearing?

Think about making a phone call to a significant other, a family member, or a close friend. Which ear do you hold the phone to? If you are discussing romantic matters you might hold the phone to your left ear since it corresponds with the right side of the brain, which is largely responsible for processing the information of intense emotions. If you are trying to get directions, important information, or having a deep and intellectual conversation you may hold the phone to your right ear, since it would correspond with the left side of the brain, which processes information, language, and logic.

Those of us with hearing loss in either ear may benefit from this information. It means that the effects of our hearing loss may extend far beyond simply hearing ability. Those with greater hearing loss in the left ear may find themselves less able to understand their spouse’s moods or arguments while those with greater hearing loss in the right ear may seem to lose some of their logical reasoning abilities.

As the left ear appeals to our sensibilities and emotions and the right ear to logic and information, proving crucial in confrontation, debate, and coercion, hearing loss extends far beyond saying ‘what?’. It may indicate exactly which topics leave us feeling out of the loop. Hearing loss, atypical auditory processing, or maybe even which ear you hold the phone to may alter how what we hear affects us. The differences between our ears may allow us to consider less our concern with what sounds we hear but how we hear them. For those of you with hearing loss in your left ear, you may want to do your marriage a favor and look into getting an Audicus hearing aid.

By: Michael Strauss

Sources: Hear – It , The Independent

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