Do dichotic word listening asymmetries predict side of temporal lobe seizure onset?

Gregory P. Lee, David W. Loring, Nils R. Varney, Richard J. Roberts, Jason R. Newell, James A. Martin, Joseph R. Smith, Don W. King, Kimford J. Meador, A. M. Murro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Dichotic word listening asymmetries are thought to be useful in predicting side of temporal lobe dysfunction. However, little direct evidence exists to support this assumption in practice, especially in patients with subtle epileptogenic lesions. To determine if word listening ear asymmetries are valid predictors of side of temporal lobe seizure onset, we examined the preoperative dichotic word listening performance of 80 patients with either left (N = 41) or right (N = 39) temporal lobe (TL) seizure foci. On a group level, patients showed a statistically significant 'lesion effect' as evidenced by a relative deficit in the ear contralateral to the side of lesion. Prediction of side of seizure focus in individual cases, however, was poor: depending upon the criteria used, 61% to 80% of epileptics with unilateral temporal lobe foci did not show the expected contralateral ear deficit. Results suggest that caution be exercised when inferring side of temporal lobe seizure focus through dichotic word listening asymmetries in individual temporal lobe epilepsy cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-160
Number of pages8
JournalEpilepsy Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1994


  • Dichotic listening
  • Epilepsy surgery
  • Hemispheric asymmetries
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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