Q. I am finally getting a telephone headset at work and have the option of left ear, right ear, or interchangeable style. Which one do you think I should get?

A. With a Frontal Right brain lead, I typically choose whatever gives me the most options. In your case (assuming you have normal hearing in both ears) it would be the one that was interchangeable, as there may be times when you want to listen with your left ear while at other times you would prefer listening with your right ear.

Studies have shown that in most people the speech-decoding center lies in the left temporal lobe. There also appears to be a definite advantage (e.g., perhaps as great as 85%) for the left hemisphere to process what comes into the right ear. Conversely, the right hemisphere processes what comes into the left ear and provides an advantage for decoding non-speech sounds such as voice inflection, the wind in the trees, the cry of a child, and so on.

Because of these differences, I always wear my Bluetooth in my right ear as I want the Wernicke’s area speech-decoding advantage to be activated.

On the other hand, in the office setting when I am dealing with problem calls, I typically hold the receiver to my left ear in order to get the right-brained advantage of processing voice tonality and emotions (from the caller with whom I am speaking) as accurately as possible.

Pay attention to what you perceive when you are listening with your left ear versus your right ear. Depending on the type of conversation and the specific environment, you may be surprised at the difference.