the earworm mistakenly attacking some corn

First of all, thanks to Bill Corbett’s article on the Rifftrax Blog for prompting me to write on this deadly parasite.

The earworm, known by the scientific name of Audioligochaeta, is a parasitic organism that feeds off of feelings of irritation caused by the repetition of musical phrases in the human mind. Through millions of years of evolution, the ringworms have developed the ability to repeat short burst of music that they seem to be able to pick up from radio waves or television signals.

How exactly the earworm gets into the human ear is unknown, though some scientists have extrapolated that they may in fact be so ingrained in the human biology that we contract them from our mothers while in the womb. It is well possible that the reason that some babies cry and cannot sleep all night long is that the earworms are repeating bits and pieces of the latest Christina Aguilera song in their heads.

This is your head with earworms

Earworms reside both in the inner ear and just outside the eardrum. The latest studies have proven that earworm eggs are hatched every time you hear a new song. These eggs can either hatch immediately or lay dormant for hours or days. The lifespan of an earworm is short. Usually they live mere hours, though some have been clocked in at living for well over a week. The number of earthworms living in the human ear is undetermined, but we do know that for the most part, only one adult earworm can feed on the human mind at a time.

A recent study showed that the substance we know as human earwax is actually made up of 50-55% earworm eggs and carcasses.

Location of earworm burial ground

How to get rid of an earworm:

There have been several techniques passed down through the ages, But most have been recently debunked. See Mythbusters. For instance it was shown that drilling a hole in your head will most likely only kill you while allowing the earworms to find new hosts.

In my personal experience being earworm meat my whole life, I can say that best method I have found to get rid of an earworm is by finishing the song in your head. You see the earworm only has an attention span of 10 seconds. So if you sing more than that or especially finish the song in your head, it will often lose interest and wander away.

The worst kind of earworm is one that picks a song you have never heard the ending to, or that you barely know. Fortunately if you can find a copy of the song and listen to it all the way through sometimes the earworm may move on. The internet is very helpful in this case, but it is extremely difficult to get rid of an earworm singing bits of a song that you don’t know the name to.

If this happens, the next best thing is to find an even more catchy song and listen to it. Often this will cause another earworm egg to hatch and if this new earworm is bigger, it just might attack the other one. If you are lucky the two earworms may kill or incapacitate each other so that you are able to go through the day earworm free.

I hope that this article has helped you. Unfortunately there is no cure, though science is working on it as we speak. The best way is to go through your entire life without hearing a single song. Some have said that if you are really boring, I mean extremely boring, I mean more boring that twelve high school english teachers, you may just be immune.

In my opinion though, you would just be plagued by really boring earworms. Endless loops of the Dave Matthews band for instance.

Earworm sample below. Beware, this one is hard to get rid of.