The study by Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, finds a strong link between brain dominance and the ear used to hear cell phones, with more than 70 percent holding it up to the ear on the same side as their dominant hand.
"Our findings have several implications, especially for mapping the language centre of the brain," says Michael Seidman, director of the division of otologic and neurotologic surgery at Henry Ford.
Left brain dominated people - those whose speech and language centre is on the left side of the brain - are more likely to use their right hand for writing and other everyday tasks.
Likewise, the Henry Ford study shows most left brain dominant people also use the phone in their right ear, despite there being no perceived difference in their hearing in the left or right ear.
And, right brain dominant people are more likely to use their left hand to hold the phone in their left ear, according to Henry Ford statement.
"It may be possible to develop a less-invasive, lower-cost option to establish the side of the brain where speech and language occurs rather than the Wada test ... that injects an anaesthetic ... to put half of the brain to sleep in order to map activity," said Seidman.
If there was a strong connection, he says there would be far more people diagnosed with cancer on the right side of their brain, head and neck; the dominate side for cell phone use. But it's likely that there is a time and "dose-dependence" to the development of tumours, he notes.
These findings will be presented Sunday in San Diego, US, at the 25th Mid-Winter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology.