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What causes 'earworms,' and how to banish them

What Causes Earworms And How To Get That Pesky Song Out Of Your Head

Don't worry, earworms aren't the newest creepy bug out there -- though they are incredibly annoying.

You know when you get a little piece of a song stuck in your head that you just can't shake? Those tunes that you can't seem to stop humming are called 'earworms' (though the fancier name is 'stuck song syndrome').

Whether it's the chorus of a Justin Bieber song or one sentence from a jingle you heard on the radio, earmworms can make you feel like you're losing your mind.

So, just how did it get in in there, and how do you turn it off? Some scientists think this happens because for eons humans have passed down knowledge through song. But, it also depends on your personality type, how often you've heard a song, and if it's associated with a particular memory or task, like if it's overplayed on the radio.

Plus, if you associate the song with a time in your life or memory, it has a better chance of getting stuck too.

Now, how do you get it to go away? For one, engage your brain with other stuff. Try talking to somebody or doing a crossword puzzle. Another way to get that little chunk of a song out of your head is to listen to the whole song. If your brain gets the full picture, you'll be less inclined to get just a part of it repeated over and over in your head.

Want to take your mind off an earworm? Check out this fun photobomb gallery:



So, the next time "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea pops into your head, go ahead and listen to the whole thing. You know you want to, anyway.

What song is always stuck in your head? Share your earworm-y thoughts in the comments.

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Join the discussion

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coopdabomb August 02 2014 at 7:12 AM

What causes a so called news agency to run a story like this when there are soooooooo many other REAL news stories to run. LAP DOGS

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3 replies
Carol August 02 2014 at 11:27 AM

Now how do we banish news reporters who contribute to the dumbing down of America?

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2 replies
Floymin Carol August 02 2014 at 1:36 PM

It's called a "life hack"! Giving people simple household advice was VERY common on TV during the mid 20th Century with programs designed for "housewives".

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phloxlove Carol August 02 2014 at 6:45 PM

Don't know. Bathroom time. Sitting on the commode? What has happened to our world and why do we let it happen?

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evnsaffl August 02 2014 at 9:18 AM

One way that works is to start humming a different song.

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1 reply
mizzb8864 evnsaffl August 02 2014 at 3:28 PM

Which will just create a domino effect... :)

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jvt1984 August 02 2014 at 5:31 AM

All I want is a room somewhere, all away from the cold night air.......

Thank God and Greyhound she's gone.....

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2 replies
TR by ML Neal... jvt1984 August 02 2014 at 5:46 PM

1984....just stop!

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phloxlove jvt1984 August 02 2014 at 6:40 PM

You are so bad!

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TR by ML Neal... August 02 2014 at 5:44 PM

And this is news....why?

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jbrady5282 August 02 2014 at 5:59 PM

I thought it was going to be something about that nasty nose ring.

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Sue Brown August 02 2014 at 6:07 PM

I get tired of seeing things about the Kardashians

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jaded13640 August 02 2014 at 6:37 PM

This has got to be the stupidist clip/article ever! Instead of just telling you what to do there's the whole elaborate "thing". It's moronic! How exactly did this make the news rounds? Yikes!

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db1219 August 02 2014 at 6:44 PM

Actually, I like those songs. When I wake up, there is almost always a song playing playing in my head. I just can never remember the name of the band or the song. So, I sing it until I get to work and ask a co-worker if they know the name the name of the song and the band. By then, though, the song is usually gone from my head and I can't recall what it was.

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James August 02 2014 at 7:50 PM

Easy. Just sing "Spinning Wheel" (BS&T) and it's gone. Don't ask me why, but it ALWAYS works.

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