Boost Your Hearing with a Simple Right Hand Trick!

Picture this: You’re at a bustling party where everyone is talking quickly, laughing, and enjoying themselves. Suddenly, someone you’re interested in starts speaking. You try to focus and understand what they’re saying, but their words are tumbling out like a rapid waterfall that’s difficult to comprehend.

If you find yourself in such a situation and struggle to pick out what people say when they talk quickly, flexing your right hand might help.

The Science Behind It

Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have found that doing something with the right hand, which is controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain, appears to improve the brain’s ability to distinguish and understand certain types of speech.

“Language is processed mainly in the left hemisphere, and some have suggested that this is because the left hemisphere specializes in analyzing very rapidly changing sounds,” explains the study’s senior investigator, Peter E. Turkeltaub, M.D., Ph.D., a neurologist.

The Experiment

Curious about the relationship between hand use and speech processing, Turkeltaub and his team decided to conduct an experiment. They hid rapidly and slowly changing sounds in background noise and asked 24 volunteers to simply indicate whether they heard the sounds by pressing a button.

“We asked the subjects to respond to sounds hidden in background noise,” Turkeltaub explains. “Each subject was told to use their right hand to respond during the first 20 sounds, then their left hand for the next 20 sounds, then right, then left, and so on.”

The results were intriguing: when subjects used their right hands, they identified rapidly changing sounds more frequently than when they used their left hands. On the other hand, slow sounds were more easily picked up when subjects used their left hands.

The Interaction between Motor Systems and Perception

According to Turkeltaub, “These results also demonstrate the interaction between motor systems and perception. It’s really pretty amazing. Imagine you’re waving an American flag while listening to one of the presidential candidates. The speech will actually sound slightly different to you depending on whether the flag is in your left hand or your right hand.”

Various studies suggest that the left side of the brain, which controls the right hand, is more adept at processing information quickly and precisely, whereas the right side of the brain, controlling the left hand, is better at perceiving emotions and processing vague or ambiguous information.

Practical Applications

Knowing that the right hand has a closer link to rapid speech processing, there are various ways you can apply this in everyday life, such as:

  1. Attending events: Whether it’s a conference, networking session, or social gathering, try holding your drink, pen, or any other object in your right hand to help you process rapid speech better.
  2. Studying or learning languages: When practicing a new language or studying, use your right hand to take notes, hold flashcards, or perform any related activities to boost your ability to understand and retain information more effectively.
  3. Watching movies or TV shows: Hold the remote control or a stress ball in your right hand to enhance your ability to understand rapid dialogues and follow the storyline better.


While it’s essential to keep in mind that individual differences in brain functions exist, understanding the distinct capabilities of the left and the right hemispheres — and consciously utilizing the right hand to improve speech processing — might just give you the edge you need in various social and professional situations. So, the next time you find yourself struggling to comprehend someone’s rapid speech, simply flex your right hand and watch those words unfold more clearly.