Name that tune

You’ll know that drug companies have gone too far when they finally produce a drug that gets rid of earworms.

Fortunately there’s already a natural method for extracting earworms. Although I have to admit this therapy has its drawbacks.

An “earworm” is a newly coined term that refers to that song that gets stuck in your head and goes round and round and just won’t stop. You hear an advertising jingle on the radio and it stays with you for an hour, or two, or all day. That’s an earworm.

Believe it or not, a study of earworms (also known as “stuck song syndrome”) was presented earlier this year at a meeting of the Society for Consumer Psychology. Professor James J. Kellaris, Ph.D., of the University of Cincinnati, enrolled 559 subjects to find out how pervasive earworms are, what sorts of tunes are the most likely to stick, and how to get rid of them.

According to Kellaris, only 2 percent of the study group reported no experience with earworms. So almost all of us are inflicted with earworms every now and then.

The study reports that the popular songs that get stuck in heads most often include “YMCA,” “It’s a Small World After All,” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

Great. Now I have all THREE of those stuck in my head.

The best way to get rid of an earworm is to think of another song and run that one over a few times in your head. Of course, this “therapy” creates a very high risk of developing a new earworm. But better to have an earworm of your choice than a tune that advertises next-day carpet installation.

Kellaris also found that women seem to be “significantly” more irritated by earworms than men are. That’s why I always have my earworm therapy at the ready: “Happy Together,” the 1967 Turtles hit. I can usually flush out an annoying looping song with, “I can’t see me lovin’ nobody but you” etc.

My apologies if I just gave you an earworm.

“Songs Stick in Everyone’s Head” Daniel DeNoon, WebMD Medical News, 2/27/03,