Friday, March 8, 2013

Do We Have to Call Them Ear Worms?

A while back, I wrote about songs that I have had stuck in my head for years, sometimes decades. The weird thing about these songs is that I don't know all the words to any of them.

I thought I was the only one.

Well, the Well column in the New York Times recently covered this. Actually, the Times has covered songs that get stuck in your head, referred to as ear worms (what an awful term), quite a bit over the years.

Ninety-eight percent of all people report getting them. (So I am far from alone.)

Ear worms have been the subject of a surprising amount of study.

Most of the time, what gets stuck are songs that you like, sort of, though sometimes you might not want to admit it. (Barry Manilow's "Copa Cabana" is, after all, a frequent culprit.) The songs tend to be upbeat, catchy but also annoying.

It is very common not to know all the words. The recent New York Times article quoted an expert speculating that, when you don't know all the words, your brain can't get closure, though it keeps trying.

Though there are a lot of supposed cures, from listening to the song in its entirety (to get closure) to taking OCD medications (!!), there really isn't a cure. The songs will come back.

Which is OK by me, actually.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes you don't have to hear the music, just reading the words will do it, like Barry Manilow Copa Cabana. Thanks a lot, Cheryl.