Tag Archives: Stuttering

Why the Right Ear IS the Right Ear

I’m not saying that the Left Ear has no use at all, but it seems that (according to Dr. Tomatis and other researchers) by using your Right Ear, one can better process what they hear and have a more appropriate emotional response.

How is this so?  The right side of our body is connected to the left side of our brain (and vice-versa).  Therefore, when we listen for sounds using our Right Ear, the information swiftly and efficiently travels to the left hemisphere which is responsible for processing our emotions, speech, and language comprehension.  The left side of the brain is also called the auditory processing center and it helps us analyze all the things we hear or listen to.  In his biography, The Conscious Ear, Dr. Tomatis writes:

“We have two ears, but each fulfils a different function.  The chief function of the right ear is to be a ‘director’….In the feedback loop of self-listening, which connects the hearing apparatus to the larynx, the right ear will be closer to the organs of speech than the left….The right ear takes charge of operations because it receives information more rapidly.”

What happens then when one is Left Ear Dominant?  When sound enters through the left ear, the information goes to the right side of the brain.  (The right hemisphere takes visual information and organizes them.)  From the right side of the brain, the sound then has to traverse through the corpus collosum (which connects the two brain hemispheres) and then go to the left side, which is the language center.  The delay of the sound reaching the left brain usually causes auditory confusion (“Huh?”), stuttering (“W- W- W- Where are you going?”), or dyslexia (mistaking the word “color” for “collar”).

Dr. Tomatis discovered the significance of the Right Ear while doing his work with opera singers.  He said,

“This is an absolute: all great singers and musicians are ‘right-eared….the right ear ‘measures’ the highest frequencies, while the left ear performs the job for the lower-pitched frequencies….As a result the left-eared person finds himself distanced by his ear.  Not only is he a long way from the person to whom he is talking to, but he is also a long way from his own body, since he cannot attune himself to the higher frequencies of his own voice.”

Since the connection is less reliable in interpreting language, Dr. Tomatis believed that Left Ear Dominant people had a tendency to miss many of the higher frequencies which causes information to get “lost in translation” and brings in errors and delays.

Being a healer, the good doctor found a way to help the opera singers become Right Ear Dominant.  He created a training apparatus to be used for audio-vocal education and re-education.  This is the same machine we use today (albeit in a more modern embodiment) called the Electronic Ear (see a photo of it here).  Later on, Dr. Tomatis used his machine to work on people who stuttered or were dyslexic, and to his amazement, they got better.  He concluded that by training them to become Right Ear Dominant–by increasing the input of sound using the Electronic Ear (among other things)–his clients not only started to sing better, they also improved their speech and language.  French actor, Gerard Depardieu, was one of his more enthusiastic and successful clients.

If you wish to find out your Ear Dominance and how we can help you, visit us at any of our Tomatis centers today.