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February 27, 2012 at 11:39 AMComments: 3 Faves: 0

Phone Ear Preference Study: Are You Right or Left-Eared?

By Brad Plaggemars More Blogs by This Author

Everyone, when writing, has a dominant hand, whether they write with their left or their right.  The same can be said for other activities such as throwing a ball or playing an instrument.  But is this also true for cell phone usage?  Does every person have a dominant hand when using a cell phone?  There is a new study that says that, for example, a person who is left brain-dominant most likely uses their right hand to hold their cell phone up to their right ear.  This also applies to throwing a ball and other things.

Researchers have claimed that about 70 percent of participants in the study hold up their cell phones to the ear that is located on the same side as their dominant hand.  They believe that such discoveries will aid in expanding the scientific knowledge on brain functions.

Michael Seidman, M.D., FACS, says, "By establishing a correlation between cerebral dominance and sidedness of cell phone use, it may be possible to develop a less-invasive, lower-cost option to establish the side of the brain where speech and language occurs rather than the Wada test, a procedure that injects an anesthetic into the carotid artery to put half of the brain to sleep in order to map activity.

Seidman also mentions that the study could potentially provide more proof that cell phone use and brain, head, and neck tumors may not be linked to each other.

The Assessment

Researchers distributed a survey to 5,000 people to test this theory.  Over 700 people responded to the request.  In the assessment, they included questions such as which hand was dominantly used in daily tasks such as writing; the amount of time spent talking on the cell phone; whether they held the phone up to their left or right ear when having a cell phone conversation; and if any of the participants had ever been diagnosed with a brain, head, or neck tumor.

The Results

The investigators found that the average of the participants' cell phone usage was about 540 minutes per month.  90 percent of those who participated in the study were right-handed, 9 percent left-handed, and 1 percent had no dominance.  Of those who were right-handed, 68 percent claimed that they held their cell phone to their right ear, 25 percent used the left ear, and 7 percent confessed to using both.  For the participants who said they were left-handed, 72 percent said they held their cell phone to their left ears, 23 used their right ears, and 5 percent didn't have a preference.

The result of this study is said to be presented at the 25th Mid-Winter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology in San Diego.


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  • Very interesting blog, Brad. I definitely hold my cell phone to my ear with my dominant hand (right hand). Makes a lot of sense too. And when playing sports, such as soccer, don't people normally kick the ball with their dominant foot as well? I know for myself, I do.

  • Thank Bri. I do the same when kicking a ball as well.

  • Funny, I'm backwards. I'm a righty, but always use my cell phone in my left hand. However, if I'm using my earpiece, it goes in my right ear. It might have to do with the fact that I gesture a lot while talking (yes, even on the stupid phone,,, can't stop myself), and need my right hand for that.

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