Earworms: A Repetitive Disease of the Brain

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Warning: If you are highly susceptible to getting songs stuck in your head, use caution!

Earworms are defined as the catchy tunes that get stuck in your head on repeat. I don’t know about you, but even the smallest little word placed at the right time will set off one of these songs for me.

Everyone is different, and we all have different earworm songs, but everyone’s songs seem to have a few things in common. They all tend to have repetitive lyrics, abnormal time signatures and/or are upbeat.

Just like we all know the “8005882300 empire today” tune, and  songs from childhood, like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. We all have those songs that get caught in our heads for the whole day. Sometimes even sticking until long after we are ready for bed.

While this is good for advertisers, and a good way to sell songs, it can get annoying for the rest of us. It is especially annoying if we only remember a part of the song. Having to repeat one line over and over again. This is really annoying with pop songs now a days where half the song is made up of the same 12 words.

The most recent song that I have had on repeat almost daily is Ellie Goulding’s Love Me Like You Do. While I do not support the 50 Shades of Grey industry, for various reasons, this song is one part that I cannot live without. It is catchy and while I don’t like the lyrics, it still gets stuck in my head. I have tortured many a friend by singing it out loud, and only managing to succeed in getting the song stuck in my friend’s head. Even listening to it the whole way through only solidifies it in my mind.

Just in case you have the same problem I have, here are some methods of getting rid of earworms:

1) Listen to another song

2) Listen to the same song

3) Passing it on to others (like I try)

4) Or trying to actively engage the mind in something else by doing puzzles or your homework.

Just in case you still don’t get it, I have a playlist of the songs that are known to cause earworms. (Along with my new favorite of course, because if I am to suffer you should too.)


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