What’s That Earworm?

From Little Mix to Lady Gaga, it’s fair to say that your favourite radio tends to play the same set of songs over and over again. If you only tune it at the same time every day, the chances are that you’ve been fed the same tunes for weeks. And there you are, whistling to yourself Po-po-po-poker face all day long. Argh! This has to stop! On a side note, though, if you’re stuck with a popular track, you can consider yourself lucky. Parents with young children can end up with much more embarrassing earworms, such as a song from the latest Disney films or Peppa Pig music.

However, while an earworm is typically associated with a song, it isn’t always the case. Your brain can play tricks on you, and make you aware of a variety of sounds that can ruin your day.


You always whistle the same tune

Admittedly, the first type of earworm is the popular song you can’t get out of your head. You wake up every day, singing it to yourself, and wondering why you can’t manage to move on. Unfortunately, the mind can commit some part of a song to memory. But, if you want to break the spell, you need to play a trick on your memory and indulge in your favourite tracks with a twist. The best thing you can do to get rid of your earworm for good is to go to a concert with live singers; each song sounds slightly different from the album version. Alternatively, why not try to sing it for yourself?

You hear a sound that isn’t there

Ultimately, the definition of an earworm is when you can’t get a tune out of your mind. Your brain keeps repeating the sound even though you’ve long turned the radio off. There is however a medical condition that behaves just like an earworm, except that you’re not going to hear Lady Gaga’s latest hit. Instead, you might hear a constant clicking, ringing, hissing, or even a static sound. Additionally, instead of playing only in your mind, the ringing appears directly in your ears, which means it can interfere with your day-to-day life. This condition, called tinnitus, is the equivalent of an earworm but into your ears. There is, however, tinnitus treatment available to help you conceal the unnecessary noises. Additionally, it’s essential to identify the cause of your issue. Tinnitus can be triggered among other factors by high blood pressure, a popping jaw, or even certain medications – which means you could get rid of the ringing in your ears for good.

You can’t get rid of the constant hum in your home

Lastly, your mind registers the sounds around you, but it doesn’t always bring them to your attention. Indeed, you might develop a new type of earworm, based on the repetition of sounds in your home. For instance, a creaky floor can chase you for days, and instinctively prepare your ears for creaking noises every time someone walks – even if you’re not at home. Similarly, you may only notice your humming fridge when visiting a friend and finding their kitchen surprisingly silent.

Can you get rid of an earworm? The answer is yes, in most cases. Whether you trick your mind, repair the problem, or identify the source, there is typically a solution. However, if the sound comes from damage in your inner ear, the best course of action may be to control and not to cure.

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