Do You Have Earworms?: Don’t worry; it’s not as bad as it sounds. Earworms are those sometimes annoying, but strangely catchy tunes that get stuck in your head.
May 8, 2015
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Do you get earworms? No, not an insect, but a tune or song rather. If you have ever had a song stuck in your head, you have had a case of the earworms. Earworms come in many shapes and sizes. The larger and more annoying a song is, the more likely it is to get stuck in your head. Although an earworm can be very irritating, it doesn’t always have to be.
What exactly is an earworm you might ask? By Google’s definition an earworm is, “a catchy song or tune that runs continually through a person’s mind.” In other words, it is that song you can’t get out of your head.
In a recent survey conducted at Monument Mountain Regional High School 93% of MMRHS students admitted to having earworms, and 62% of students said that they frequently have a tune running throughout their minds. According to the survey, the most popular artist and song in the year 2015 at MMRHS to get stuck in students head’s is Taylor Swift with her song, “Shake it Off.” Tying for second place were Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars with “Up Town Funk” and general pop songs.
In the article, Why Do Songs Get Stuck in Our Heads? by CHAU TU from Science Friday, James Kellaris, a professor of marketing at the University of Cincinnati who conducted research on the influence of music on memory, stated, “There are general patterns of characteristics for songs that frequently get stuck, such as being simple, repetitive, and having some mild incongruity.” This notion backs up the MMRHS survey results for most popular song and artist. Taylor Swift’s song, “Shake it Off” keeps a catchy beat and consistently repeats the lyrics, “shake it off.”
In the article, ‘Brain itch’ keeps songs in the head from BBC News, Professor Kellaris states, “But certainly some people are more susceptible than others. Women tend to be more susceptible than men, and musicians are more susceptible to them than non-musicians.” With daily exposure to music, it is understandable that musicians would be more prone to earworms; however, why women are more likely to get earworms than men are, is a mystery. In the previously mentioned MMRHS survey, 97% of female students are prone to earworms; whereas only 87% of male students are.
“Research in the US has found that songs get stuck in our heads because they create a “brain itch” that can only be scratched by repeating the tune over and over,” BBC News Reporter wrote.
Many earworms run throughout your head each day, even when you may not notice. Some come and go and others stick. Among many other qualities, earworms are contagious, passing from one person to another. Without a doubt I find this to reign true with my friends and me. One will simply share a song aloud and that’s all it takes; that song is with you for the rest of the day.
David Kinne, a man of many talents, best known as MMRHS substitute teacher, can frequently be found walking the halls of MMRHS whistling or humming a tune. Recently getting SiriusXM Radio for his truck, Kinne has found that he now gets more songs stuck in his head. “I play the music from my era, the 50sand 60s. I hear these songs a lot of the time, so I always have songs from the 50s and 60s in my head,” Kinne said. As far as irritating songs go, Kinne doesn’t stand for any of that. “If it’s a song I don’t like I wouldn’t have it stuck in my head,” he stated.
I am sad to say that there is no such thing as a definite cure for a case of the earworms. A song can stick in your head from a few minutes to days at a time. The longer it stays the more crazy it can potentially make you. The majority of the time an earworm will eventually “leave” on its own; however, if you find yourself going absolutely insane from a song stuck on repeat in your head, here are some tips to try from myself, fellow MMRHS students and WikiHow.
1. Sing or listen to the song that is stuck in your head all the way through.
2. Simply listen to or sing another song.
3. Take part in an activity that keeps you busy, like working out.
4. Watch a movie.
5. Read the lyrics of a different song or a book.
6. Take part in a mental game such as a crossword puzzle or solving a series of riddles.
Common everyday tasks are where earworms lie. Activities such as driving, taking a shower, walking, and eating are just a few daily functions that come as second nature to people, leaving easy access for earworms to “crawl” into your mind. When you are using your cognitive skills you use more concentration than with other day to day tasks, “shutting the door” on the earworms. The next time you are stuck with an irritating earworm try my suggested tips. If you find that nothing works, then just sit back, relax, and enjoy the tune.