Dichotic listening performance was examined in an auditory selective attention task where subjects responded to occasional consonant-vowel (CV) or shaped broadband noise-burst (NB) targets in rapid serial auditory presentation (RASP). Trial types were randomized and included monaural CVs and NBs as well as dichotic CV-CV and CV-NB pairings. CVs were spoken by two different voices (male and female), and the two NB stimuli differed in their filter slopes at higher frequencies. The target was designated by stimulus category (/ba/, /da/, /ga/, or NB) and voice (e.g., "female /ba/"). Performance was compared for targets in the left and right ears on monaural and dichotic trials using accuracy and reaction time (RT) measures. Right ear advantages (REAs) were present for CV targets with either CV or NB distractors, but not for monaural CVs. The REA found for monaural NB targets was eliminated by CV distractors, yielding a left ear advantage (LEA) for the distractor effect of CVs on NB targets. The pattern of results suggests initial preprocessing of speech stimuli through phonetic feature analysis, followed by serial attentional processing of the objects in the auditory field. REAs are attributed to a rightward asymmetry in the preattentive control of auditory attention similar to that found in visual search.