When it comes to our ears, they may look the same on the outside but inside, they’re vastly different. Sure, their make-up is the same but sounds are processed differently in our right and left ears.
Right vs. left: Which ear does what?
Our brain is divided into two hemispheres. The left hemisphere is responsible for logic while the right hemisphere is all about aesthetics. The left side of our brain allows us to be technical, reasonable and logical. The right side of our brain processes images, patterns and sounds. For example, when you see a flower in full bloom, the left side of your brain tells you what it is, whereas the right side allows you to appreciate its beauty. In this case, the left side of your brains says, “This is a flower.” and your right side says, “This flower is pretty because it is brightly coloured and smells nice.” These two thoughts are put together quickly in our brains without us even realizing it.
When it comes to speech, the sounds heard in our right ears are taken in by the left side of our brains and vice versa. On the left side, our brains tell us what the person is saying. On the right side, our brains inform us of the tone and meaning behind what is being said. As with the flower example above, our brains process sounds so quickly that we don’t even know it’s being done.
Because both ears hear differently, we need them each working properly. In order to help those with hearing loss in one or both ears, hearing aids are used.
How do hearing aids help?
Hearing aids are a tool used by many to improve their hearing abilities. Even if you are only experiencing hearing loss in one ear, wearing a hearing aid can help balance the sounds your brain is receiving so it can process the information. For example, if you were listening to music without a hearing aid and your right ear was your stronger ear, you would only be able to hear the sounds of the individual instruments. You would need your left ear working at capacity in order to hear the music as a whole. When only one ear experiences complete hearing functions, our brains are only able to give us half the message derived from the sound it is processing.