This is why you can't get that annoying song out of your head

We’ve all been there – a catchy song seems to repeat over and over in our heads.

According to experts 98 percent of us get stuck on a song, known as an earworm.

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More common for some 

Certain people may be more prone to earworms than others according to Scott Bea of Cleveland Clinic.

“Folks that are diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, or who have obsessive thinking styles, probably a little more commonly have this phenomenon,” said Dr. Bea. “They tend to go over thoughts a little bit more, over and over in their heads.”

People who are exposed to music frequently, like musicians, may also be more likely to get a sticky song stuck in their heads.

He said men and women seem to experience earworms equally as often, but women tend to stay with the song longer and find it more irritating.

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Songs that stick

Recent research suggests that songs with intervals that jump up and down are more likely to get stuck in someone's head. For example, the whistling part of Maroon 5's 'Moves like Jagger' or 'Bad Romance' by Lady Gaga.

More research is needed to determine exactly what’s happening in the brain when earworms take hold, but Dr. Bea said repetition is often related to stress.

“One thing we know in psychology is that anything that gets repeated probably has some tension reduction characteristic to it, so even a sticky song might be capturing our attention so we’re not attending to other elements in our lives that might produce more tension and stress,” said Dr. Bea.

Getting un-stuck

For folks who can’t seem to get a song out of their heads, Dr. Bea suggests doing a brain teaser puzzle or reading a novel.

He said chewing gum or listening to the song in its entirety, instead of just the catchy part, may help too.

More at My.ClevelandClinic.Org.