Has this ever happened to you? You're going along, minding your own business. Maybe you're getting ready for school. Perhaps you're getting groceries with your parents. Or you could be sitting in a restaurant, waiting for your meal to arrive.

Suddenly, you hear a snippet of a song. You don't really like the song that much, but it IS catchy. You begin to hum along a little. Before you know it, the song is running through your head on repeat.

What has happened? An earworm has invaded your head! That's what it's called when a song or a jingle gets stuck in your head and won't come out. Earworms can run around your head for several minutes to multiple hours.

We're not talking about that favorite song of yours that you like to sing several times a day. We mean that catchy commercial jingle or slightly-annoying radio hit that gets into your brain and won't leave!

Earworms tend to be songs with catchy melodies that repeat often. As the melody repeats and repeats, it gets embedded into your mind. Long after the tune stops, your brain continues to play it on repeat.

Earworms are often unwelcome because they can be both annoying and distracting. If you're trying to focus on a task, an earworm can make it hard to concentrate and accomplish what needs to be done.

Earworms are a universal phenomenon that appears to affect men and women equally. According to researchers, about 98% of all people have gotten songs stuck in their heads at one time or another.

Some songs that are known for being earworms include the following:

  • Who Let the Dogs Out?
  • We Will Rock You
  • YMCA
  • The Lion Sleeps Tonight
  • It's a Small Word After All

There's no sure-fire way of killing an earworm. Some people try to listen to a different song to dislodge the tune they don't want to hear. Others take the opposite approach: they listen to the offending tune from beginning to end in an attempt to get it to go away once it has finished. Others might try a conversation or beginning some sort of new activity to divert their attention elsewhere.

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