Our jam at the moment is Taylor Swift's 'Bad Blood', and while it's great and all, we really should stop humming it out loud every 45 seconds, it might not go down too well at our business meeting later on.
Thankfully, there's a cure for the dreaded earworm that we never would have thought of without the help of a proper scientific study: chewing gum.
According to a study in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, the auditory cortex is the part of our brain that kicks into gear when we hear a catchy song, but when the song is over and we're left to our own devices, the cortex sets to work just filling in the rest on a loop FOREVERRRRRRRRRRR. Or at least for a while anyway, to the point where it can get a bit annoying.
The trick is to get your brain to do something else, and "chewing gum interferes with the experience of hearing musical recollections, therefore can be recommended as an aid to get rid of earworms". Dr. Philip Beaman, the researcher leading the study, explains that these involuntary musical memories are hard to shake, but "auditory images [are] less vivid when [individuals are] engaged in tasks", in particular anything that involves irrelevant sub-vocalisation or using your inner voice. Chewing gum is quite similar to sub-vocalising, and was shown in the study to "reduce both the number of voluntary and the number of involuntary—unwanted—musical thoughts".
Now off you to go to get some chewing gum and then listen to this. Tell us afterwards if it works.