Catchy tune caught in your head? Just chew gum

Published Apr 26, 2015, 6:52 pm IST
Updated Mar 29, 2019, 8:57 am IST
The act of grinding it in the mouth might be enough to kick the annoying earworm
London: Chewing gum can help divert mind from unwanted thoughts, suggests a new study.
Many a times we find it hard to get rid of a song stuck to our head. It generally happens this way, the first song that we hear or start singing in the morning remains on our mind throughout the day. No matter how hard we try or which-so-ever situation we get into, we unknowingly and helplessly keep humming the song. But according to a new study, by the University of Reading, chewing gum can help you get rid of the song stuck in your head.
The findings even show that chewing gum could also be used to keep annoying or recurrent thoughts from popping into people's heads.
Lead author Phil Beaman said that the majority of people experience earworms, which comes from the German word "ohrwurm" for only short periods, perhaps just a few minutes, but others can experience them for two or three days which can be extremely frustrating and debilitating.
Participants in the study were played Play Hard by David Guetta and Payphone by Maroon 5. They were then told not to think about the songs, and hit a key whenever they did. The people who were doing so chewing gum hit the key a lot less than those that were told to do nothing or tap their finger, the researchers found.
Beaman added that interfering with our own "inner speech" through a more sophisticated version of the gum-chewing approach may work more widely, but more research is needed to see whether this will help counter symptoms of obsessive-compulsive and similar disorders.
The study is published in Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology