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Finally: A Fail-Safe Method for Getting Rid of Earworms

Finally: A Fail-Safe Method for Getting Rid of EarwormsBobboz/iStock/Getty Images Plus

We’ve all been there at least once: you have a super annoying earworm… Sometimes, they can stay stuck for days, weeks, months… Or even years! Usually, it’s a song you don’t even like that much; maybe you even hate it. No matter what you do, it won’t go away.

Lucky for you, there is a fool-proof, fail-safe method for getting rid of earworms! It’s not what you expect, but we promise it works.

Research has confirmed it: listening to the song that is stuck in your head (yes, that one!) will get it unstuck… BUT, you have to respect a few conditions for this to really work:

  1. You have to listen to the WHOLE SONG;
  2. You have to PAY ATTENTION;
  3. You have to listen to something different immediately afterwards, and pay attention to that, too. OR, do something else that occupies your mind completely.

You may be wondering… Why does this technique work?

When a song is stuck in your head, it’s rarely the WHOLE song. It’s usually just a short section of the song, maybe the chorus or a vocal line that stuck with you. Why is this?

It turns out that when we find music catchy or memorable, we remember small sections. However, the brain has trouble remembering the whole song. Sometimes, this leads to a sort of psychological “short circuit” where the brain plays the memorized section back over and over again in an effort to remember what came before and/or after.

Usually, it works! When it does, the brain stops playing back the earworm… But sometimes, it doesn’t work because we just don’t remember the rest of the song! The only way to relieve your brain and stop the loop is to give it the answer by listening to the song. That way, you break the short circuit and your brain can move on to other more important things.

Did this work for you? How else have you gotten rid of an annoying earworm? Let us know in the comments on Facebook!

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