Your Magic Gong Ear

In my gong trainings and workshops, students often ask me: What is the best location in a room to hear the gong? 

In the center? Up front? Near the back or in a corner? Sitting up, lying down, head toward the gong, feet toward the gong? 

There are many answers to these questions that depend upon the size of the room, the number and placement of the gongs, and even the psychological state of the listener.

But there is only one answer to this question:

What is the best ear to hear the Gong?

Curious dog – free photo on Barnimages

As a yogi, I have always been aware of the profound differences between breathing through the left nostril or the right nostril. There is even a branch of yoga called Swara Yoga that is based entirely on regulating the breath flow through one of the nostrils depending upon the activity that is to be done. 

For instance, sleeping best occurs when the breath moves primarily through the left nostril while analyzing information is done with the breath through the right nostril. 

Psychologists in the 1970s did several studies which proved these observations of the ancient yogis. They discovered that left nostril breath affected or activated the right hemisphere of the brain while the right nostril breath worked on the left side of the brain.

Street photography: left brain and right brain - Santini Photography

My intuition was telling me that there was also likely a similar correspondence between which ear was dominant in hearing sound. In other words, does sound primarily entering the right ear affect the brain or experience of sound differently than when it is predominant in the left ear?

Based on that supposition, in my work with Gong Therapy I suggested that the therapist may wish to position the gong on either the right side or left side of the client, depending upon an effect they wished to achieve.

Recently while investigating how to move handheld gongs most efficiently for therapeutic purposes, I discovered I had been correct in this assumption.

Scientists and audiologists have investigated how the brain processes sound based upon which ear is the primary receptor of the sound. Dr. Yvonne Sininger of the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Arizona published their research conducted over a period of six years that the two ears do indeed process sound differently in a most significant way.

Sound in the right ear, which is processed by the left hemisphere of the brain, is used to understand speech, recognize words, and behaves logically.

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Sound in the left ear, which is processed by the right hemisphere of the brain, is used to process music, tones, and behaves intuitively in its processing.

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One researcher summed it up this way: “Speak to me in my right ear, sing to me in my left ear.”

With that in mind, we can say that the Gong and its richness and complexity of tones is best experienced by the brain when heard primarily through the left ear.

Now the question is:

How much difference does this really make?


You can find out. Experiment by blocking off the right ear, resting on the right side, or even positioning yourself so that the left ear is closer to the gong.

And in Gong therapy, where the left ear is in closer proximity to the gong, it should certainly make a difference in how its sound is processed in the brain.

Remember: Left ears are for Gong lovers!

Want to learn more about how the gong works in therapy and relaxation?

Join me live in Ojai, California this September and online in October for Sweden!

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