Chronicle of a deaf audiologist

Which Ear Do You Use on The Cell Phone?

During a case history, the hearing care professional often asks if the client notices a difference between ears. (It is critical to know if there is a difference in hearing sensitivity between ears before starting a hearing test.)

Photo credit:  © Alexandre Dvihally

If not, the next question usually is, “Which ear do you use on the phone?” The reasoning behind that question is: you probably use your better ear on the phone.

There is some new research that might change the use of this case history question, if the difference between ears is not large.

Researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital have found a strong correlation between brain dominance and the ear used to listen to a cell phone. Over 70% of study participants hold their cell phone up to the ear on the same side as the dominant hand. So, if you are right handed, you probably hold the phone up to the right ear.

Why do we do that? It defies logic, in the age of multi-tasking. If we have to jot down a phone number, we have to lift up the shoulder and bend the neck while writing.

It turns out that it actually does make sense. The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, and vice versa. So people with a dominant left brain prefer to use the phone in the right ear and also write with the right hand.

What happens if you are right handed but hear much better in the left ear? You’ll likely use the phone in the left ear. Does this mean you are using more of your brain? Are you “cross-training” your brain?

Related information: Better Hearing Institute’s list of hearing aid compatible cell phones

  • Photo credit:  © Alan Fortune

    Sandra Vandenhoff

    Dr. Sandra Vandenhoff is an audiologist with hearing loss, founder of HEARa, Hearing Rehabilitation teacher, and Canadian author, who does not remember saying on her first day of wearing hearing aids: "Mom, I can hear my shoelaces!"

3 thoughts on “Which Ear Do You Use on The Cell Phone?”

  1. I find the ear I use depends on the type of discussion. If the conversation is logical I tend to have the phone on my right ear while a creative conversation tends to find the phone on my left ear. The tip off I have is the phone actually feels awkward to be on the “wrong” ear for the conversation, urging me to switch to feel comfortable.

    1. Sandra Vandenhoff

      Hi Lorraine,

      This is intruiging! What if you are brushing your teeth while having a creative thought? 🙂 ~Sandra

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