What's the Best Way to Get a Stuck Song Out of Your Head?

Dr. Oz has the answer.

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Q: When a song just won't stop playing in your head, what's the best way to get it out?

Oz Says: That maddening tune, aka an earworm, invades when your mind latches onto some feature of the melody, says Georgina Floridou, a researcher at Goldsmiths, University of London, who studies the phenomenon.

Why does your brain torture you like this? No answer yet. But there are some ways to hit "stop" on the endless loop going on in what scientists call the mind's ear:

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Try distractions.

When the song that's making you crazy pops into your thoughts, distract yourself by reading something out loud. This crowds out the earworm by jumping onto the same memory pathway it's been traveling on, Floridou says.

Chew gum.

One study found that gum chewers were less likely to acquire earworms, and Floridou suspects that chomping could chase them away as well. By giving your brain something else to do, she says, "it may interfere with your ability to imagine sounds." That means less Manilow, more peace.

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Sing a "cure" tune.

Some people have success in banishing those annoying earworms from their minds by singing a short, familiar ditty such as "Happy Birthday." (And if you're lucky, the new song won't get stuck instead.)

This story originally appeared in the January/February 2016 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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