Thursday, August 16, 2007

Left vs. Right

I began to research the left vs. right brain theory. Primarily due to when I get the hardware installed, I was curious which side is dominant in speech development. I get that the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and right side controls the left side of the body. Now Google might not be the most trustworthy source of information but I left my Grey's Anatomy book at Barnes and Noble. So Google will have to do for now. Grand Ol' Google has indicated that the left side processes language, logic, and organization. All the while, the right brain is used for artistic ability, emotions, tone, but no language center. Interesting.

My left side of my brain has been proactive in language and speech development with my hearing aid in my right ear all these years. It is a safe assumption since it houses the language center. On the other side, my brain has been inactive as far as auditory stimuli in my left ear, but that has not always been the case. I have auditory memory from when I use to wear a hearing aid in my left ear years ago. I cannot remember using the phone with my left ear. Throughout my cochlear implant candidacy, not one person suggested to implant the right ear since it houses the language center. It was suggested that I do my right ear on the basis that it has more stimulation but either ear was up for grabs. Did I pick the wrong ear to do first?!

Now my left hemisphere wheels are turning. When the implant is activated in my left ear, my right side of my brain is going to be in for a rude awakening. Am I going to have difficulty understanding speech? Does this mean that I will appreciate music and sounds of nature more then the spoken word? Albeit I have the auditory memory, will my left side help my right side remember? I am going to snoop around and ask some left ear implantee's how well they have done.

This is a far-fetched hypothesis created by daydreaming through a thunderstorm. Bear with me. I am curious if dominant sides of the brain and the ear chosen have anything to do with how well a person responds to a cochlear implant. Does a dominant left or righter's have an easier time adapting to a cochlear implant? If your left hemisphere were dominant, would you benefit from having the implant inserted in your right ear? I would think a person would excel beyond expectations in that case. If your right hemisphere is dominant, does your music appreciation increase while your speech discrimination is hanging in the midst? I have not the foggiest idea. What if both sides of the brain aided speech discrimination with just one cochlear implant installed in either ear? Now that would be the ideal situation..... on paper.

Time for me to find out which side is dominant! I have taken four online tests to determine which side of my pretty little head is dominant. All four tests came out I use each side equally. I am perfectly balanced. :) 50/50. Half-and-half. Even steven. Here are the results from one of the tests.

Abbie, you are one of those rare individuals who are perfectly "balanced" in both your hemispheric tendencies and your sensory learning preferences. However, there is both good news and bad news.

A problem with hemispheric balance is that you will tend to feel more conflict than someone who has a clearly established dominance. At times, the conflict will be between what you feel and what you think but will also involve how you attack problems and how you perceive information. Details that seem important to the right hemisphere will be discounted by the left and vice versa, which can present a hindrance to learning efficiently.

In the same vein, you may have a problem with organization. You might organize your time and/or space only to feel the need to reorganize five to ten weeks later.

On the positive side, you bring resources to problem solving that others may not have. You can perceive the "big picture" and the essential details simultaneously and maintain the cognitive perspective required. You possess sufficient verbal skills to translate your intuition into a form, which can be understood by others while still being able to access ideas, and concepts that do not lend themselves to language.

Your balanced nature might lead you to second-guess yourself in artistic endeavors, losing some of the fluidity, spontaneity, and creativity that otherwise would be yours.

With your balanced sensory styles, you process data alternately, at times visually and other times auditorially. This usage of separate memories may cause you to require more time to integrate information or re-access it. When presented with situations that force purely visual or purely auditory learning, increased anxiety is likely and your learning efficiency will decrease.

Your greatest benefit is that you can succeed in multiple fields due to the great plasticity and flexibility you possess.

That about sums me all up.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Hey Abbie! :)
I have a left-side implant. We didn't give all that a lot of thought when I was being implanted...I still had fair comprehension in my right ear, the surgeon felt confident that he could wrangle a second implant from my insurance company at a later date if necessary, and he wanted to try to see if he could bring hearing to an ear that hadn't heard sound in thirty years.
I can's not wonderful, but I can hear. If I didn't have such a huge problem with vibrotactile issues (vibration instead of sound) I think my speech comprehension would be much it is, however, the vibrations are so stressful to me that I keep the sensitivity down too low to pick up speech well. The vibrations are much better than they used to be, and I have confidence that they will continue to subside over time. I had a vibrotactile response in that ear before I was ever implanted, so we were not surprised when I had trouble afterwards :) I continue to make progress, though, and am glad I tried, when I get my second CI, I will have stereo sound...for the first time in 30 years!
I don't have the vibrotactile responses with my right ear. I know that's no guarantee, but at least I should be able to crank up the sensitivity enough to get better speech comprehension. I am so thrilled!
You'll do great, whichever ear you choose...most of the people that I know are more than pleased with their CI, regardless of ear! :)