An earworm

Doesn’t that word give visions of a disgusting experience? As an audiologist, I have seen some really barf worthy ear canals, but I am happy to say I’ve never seen a worm in anybody’s ear. I’ve dealt with head lice and scabies, and running pus and wax plugs, but, lucky me, no worms. My job wasn’t always pleasant!

I have had an earworm myself, on more than one occasion, but fortunately not the physical kind. Also referred to as stuck song syndrome or sticky music, an earworm is a catchy piece of music which continuously repeats itself in a person’s mind. This can go on for long periods of time, even if the music isn’t playing. Sometimes, just a suggestion of the song can cause an earworm. The following journal entries provide examples of this annoying phenomenon.

From the late 80’s: It is irrational to want to tear apart a cute and fluffy white lamb but, you know what, Lamb Chops? That song you’re always blathering on about is going to end! Right now! With me!

I didn’t do it!

From the 90’s: When Barney’s song, I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family, etc, first came out, I thought it was cute. We sang it in the car. We sang it at bedtime. And then it sang itself in my head all night long as purple dinosaurs danced through my nightmare. It’s a cruel thing to say, but I don’t love Barney anymore.

From shortly after I retired: James 5:13 “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.” There’s a lot of singing at my house tonight, mostly because, after finally mastering “When The Saints Go Marching In” on the piano, the song is stuck in my head!

Not all earworms are bad. I spend Sunday afternoons singing the hymns we sang at church, repeating little snippets, over and over. Most of the time, that’s a happy thing. I used to sing songs to the kids at bedtime, and when those songs recycle through my mind, it gives me that smiling through the tears kind of feeling.

It’s just a few steps beyond normal but I’m going to have to eat my words. Lamb Chops? You are right! That blankety-blank song is NEVER GOING TO END!

Good boy, Pepper!

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