An Observational Study on Hemispheric Dominance and Laterality for Mobile Phone Use in Adults in Nigeria

Background: The cell phone has become one of the most widely used technological innovations in recent years. Mobile phones have a variety of applications that have proven useful in the healthcare sector. Its use in improving cancer management outcomes in Nigeria has been documented.

Aims: Cell phone use has become an important socio-medical communication tool. The reason people prefer to answer phone calls with one ear may be related to hemispheric dominance/handedness. We want to see if there’s a link between hemispheric and/or auditory dominance and laterality in mobile phone use. The study was a three-month prospective cross-sectional study that included all consenting medical and paramedical respondents. Hospital community at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin City, Nigeria, between March 15th and June 15th, 2018. The survey tool was a modified version of the Edinburgh handedness inventory (EHI). The information retrieved included social demographics, the hand most commonly used for activities such as writing and picking up phone calls, and the ear most commonly used for phone conversations, as well as the reasons. SPSS 19.0 was used to analyze the data. The respondents completed 234 (78 percent) of the 300 questionnaires distributed. There were 120 (51.3% ) males and 114 (48.7% ) females. The ages ranged from 18 to 80 years. A total of 201 (85.9%) were right handed, 16 (68.8%) were left handed, and 14 (6.0%) were ambidextrous. One hundred fifty-four (66%) pick up phone calls with their right hand, 50 (21.4%) with their left, and 27 (11.5%) with both hands.  A total of 141 (60%) received calls with the right ear, 60 (25.6%) with the left, and 31 (13.2%) had no preference. Convenience 173 (73.9 percent) and better acuity 35 were among the reasons given for using any particular ear (15 percent ). 42 (17.9 percent) agreed that using a cell phone made them aware of their poor hearing in one ear. Using Pearson’s two-tailed test of significance, the probability of a right hander picking up a phone call and placing it on the right ear is 0.99, or 99 percent, when compared to a left hander.

Conclusion: When using a mobile phone, there appears to be a link between hemispheric dominance and laterality. This study not only discovered a link between hemispheric and auditory superiority in cell phone use, but it also demonstrated that mobile phone apps could be a useful tool for detecting hearing loss.

Author(s) Detalis

N. C. Onyeagwara
Department of Ear, Nose, Throat and Head and Neck Surgery, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Ugbowo, Benin City, Nigeria.

A. L. Okhakhu
Department of Ear, Nose, Throat and Head and Neck Surgery, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Ugbowo, Benin City, Nigeria.

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