Vani’s Musings


Posted on: May 24, 2007

They bore into your head. They won’t let go. There’s no known cure. Earworms can attack almost anyone at almost any time.

No, it’s not an invasion of jungle insects. It’s worse. Earworms are those songs, jingles, and tunes that get stuck inside your head.  

The term earworm is the literal English translation of the German word ohrwurm . An earworm is also sometimes called a sticky tune or a cognitive itch. In Portuguese, it is called chiclete de ouvido, or ear chewing gum. 

A study showed that musicians and those with compulsive tendencies are the most afflicted. The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive, though the act of repetition — in popular songs on the radio and on the rehearsal floor for musicians — plays a role. 

When people battle their earworms, nearly two-thirds of the time they try to use another tune to dislodge the one that’s stuck. About half the time people simply try to distract themselves from hearing the stuck song. More than a third of the time people with songs stuck in their heads try talking with someone about it. And 14% of the time, people try to complete the song in their heads in an effort to get it to end.

I am one such victim of earworms..any catchy tune heard more than once, and it goes into the deep end of the mind, to be played and replayed in mental continuum. 

 Earworms that bother me the most are: 

Ø       Who Let the Dogs Out – By Baha Men

 Ø       We Will Rock You – By Queen

Ø       Pardesi Pardesi Jana Nahin – Raja Hindustani

Ø       Sochna Kya Jo bhi Hoga Dekha Jaayega – Ghaayal

 Ø       BeLLi Rathadali Soorya Tanda Kirana  – Indra Dhanush (Am not sure of the title of the movie)

 Ø       Nimbuda – Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

Ø       Anisuthide Yaako Indu  – Mungaaru MaLe (Though I love this song, I cant get rid of it  )

 Ø       Mandakiniye – Hudugaata (I heard it twice, and it’s already stuck… )

Ø       Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhee Bahuu thiii – The Title Jingle

Ø       A Hundred Miles – By Hedy West

Ø       Oh Susannah – By James Taylor

Ø       Smile – By Michael Jackson

Ø       Worry about you – by IVY

 I dread listening to these songs now…they seem to replay on and on and on in my mind.

Have you also been affected similarly? Please share your experiences with earworms and their ilk.


23 Responses to "Earworms"

I think Himesh reshmayya is addicted with this problem 😀

My Earworms

Of course pardesi pardesi jana nahin -Pardesi

Dil hun hun karein – Rudali I think

I go shala la la in the morning , Shalala la in the evening – dont know the singer

Interestingly swaras of lambodara lakumikara geethe .. sari..maagari..sari..gari..saa

Fast car – by Tracy chapman

We are the world .. we are the children.. all artists

Songs of Boney M

Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy.. aaja aaja aaja … this song is scary … haunts

Another Brick in the wall –Pink floyd-Roger waters

DoNi saagali mondhe hogali – Ms Leelaavthi

Nee bandhu nakkaga ..nakku nee nalidaaga – Kasturi nivasa

List goes on 😦

Interesting post vani.
Off late mungaru male is creating havoc for me, HImesh too is doing it with his Jhoom variety. For some time Fanaa’s subha allah was the culprit.

But these earworms vanish after some time but we need to ensure we dont listen for a replacement earworm!!

Oh yes, Usha,

How could I forget that devilish nasal droning
“OOOOOOOOOOO” of Himesh Reshammiya? It gives me the creeps, positively….

These can be categorized as Himesh Reshammiya Ear Worms exclusively!

Aashiq Banaya…Aashiq Banaaya

Jhalak Dikhlaa jaa……

Zara Jhoom Jhoom…..

Almost all of his songs!

Now that you remind me, almost all the songs on your list are earworms for me!

Interesting post!!!

Mu earworms – especially when I’m on bike —

“Muasafir hoon mein yaaroon…”
“Ellige payana yaavado daari…”
“Neera bittu nelada mele doni saagadu… ”

And have got loads of them, which will come and go randomly…

Hi Van, You are right on dot. I swear even I have my own set of earworms. And Kyunki tone takes the cake for me.
Other than that:
1) Hum Bekhudi Mein Tum Ko… (can’t get this out of my system, HELP!)
2) No More I Love You (By Eurthymics. When DD used to air MTV for two hours decades ago, I caught on to this bizarre song)
3) These sounds fall into my mind (Bucketheads, from the same MTV era.)
There are several more, thankfully I can’t recall them now.
🙂 (phew)

very interesting post, Vani
I think it mostly depends on the mindset when we first listen to the song or even during the repetitions. I agree, repetitions make things to be imprinted in our brain and starts humming most of the time.

So, is having earworms in our head, a good thing or bad? Well, i guess it depends on the kind?

aadhroo ondhu funny andhre, naavu yaavudhanna mareebeku ankoLtheevo adhu hecchige gnyaapaka iraththe. ever noticed it? bekaadhre try maadi. prathee sarthi ootakka koothkoLLuvaaga “mungaaru” movie haadu gnyaapaka itkoLLalla antha manassinalli andhukoLLi. 🙂



I think your ear Worm of “Hum bekhudi mein Tum” is because we heard that song too often in Ajji Mane…N used to play it on his music system very often……

And you have successfully transferred that ear worm to me.

Another earworm off late has been “Kariya I love you”, and I have been singing it loudly in the most inappropriate times (read office, meetings, when picking up my phone etc) recently, thanks to Naren who set me off…………………..


People at home are asking me already what I would take to stop singing……if I think of Mungaaru MaLe, the next second I break into song, irrespective of where I am, what I am doing………..maneyinda Odisodu guarantee…


First you need to tell me ‘Is this something like an instinct that everybody has to NOD an yes’?
For me, the funniest part is on the exam day, I go sit and start writing my exams and a song starts ringing.. and any answer or chapter I write to recall this stupid song will appear, then I create another parallel process and leave that song ringing … probably this is generally the one you hear it in the morning…

offlate I have developed a habit, good one.. connecting all the songs which almost sound similar in ragas… like I keep combining them and resemble them and then decide may be they both belong to same ragas (if not same atleast janaka , janya raagas)…
Was humming, nagu naguthaa nali nali from bangaarada manushya and suddenly peeped in ‘ille swarga ille naraka berenilla suLLU’ and I was even able to sing one line after the other and they both sounded as one song.. amazing alva ragas and the primary swaras in that raaga which creates the similarities..

Ear worm ella sari , ond ond sala yaaranno nodi yenanno gnaapiskollo prayatana maadtheevi, shata prayatna maadidru nenpu maatra aagalla.. Also one scene in sooryavamsha.. doddaNNa bothering the people near the bus stand by leaving the worm in their head and puzzling all the travellers.. abba devare!

sakkath post maatra… very interesting…

kariya I love you..LOL!! hushaar ri amele neev nodidre goDe suNNadshTu beLLage ideera nijavaaglu kariya sikkidre ..?


Kariya I Love you has been putting me into trouble, seriously…..

And you know what, my mom said the same words this morning when I started off….weird co-incidence!

I control the instinct in front of my dad, he hates that song, and I am scared that I will drive him so crazy he will start hating me……

regarding ” connecting all the songs which almost sound similar in ragas” –> my wife L always makes fun of me everytime i start singing – “ivane nOdu annadhaatha holadhe dhudidhe dhudivanoo” kannada padhya bnyaapaka irabahudhu. anyways, naanu ee padhya dhindha shuru maadi bere padhyakke end maadtheeni – without my knowledge. It goes like
“ivane nOdu annadhaatha holadhe dhudidhe dhudivanoo|
sathyave bhagavanthanindha punya kOTiya kathe idhoo||
dharaNi mandala madhyadhoLage…….. ||”
antha. ee saalugaLanna naanu hege/ellindha/yaavaaga pick-up maadidhno goththilla – but often hum these lines without my knowledge – L makes me aware of that right away. 🙂

ref ” I go sit and start writing my exams and a song starts ringing” – ayyayyo! akka pakkadhalli koothkoLLowru sumnirthaara?

our 2yr old started relating any rhymes to “baa baa blaksheep” tune or to “hare krishna” bajan.

amazing how human brains functions with parallel processing concepts… 🙂

“Preethi illada mele…….” GSShivarudrappa’s lyrics kept haunting me after i heard it on TV for a maga serial of the same name.. It was a worm haunting me for days later. 😦

After I saw Dil se.. “Tu Hi tu…. ” worm kept me rolling…its effect was such that, the very next day I fell ill, my body temperature was up by 6 degrees I remember.

Lagaan’s “Aajare aajare…” swadesh’s “Yeh taara woh taara..”
Fiza’s “Aaja Mahiya…” Varsham’s “Innallak gurtochana vaana…”

of cource “Mungaru maleye….” and “Aralutiru jeevada geleya..”

“Kande kande govindana…” from tananam tananam after listening to a kid singing it on yede tumbi haaduvenu!!

“Dil chahta hai…” “Rang de basanti chola….” from Bhagatsingh…

and lotzzzzzzzz more….!

I have biggest victim of it. ( my ears are filled with these ) . I have min of 150 songs.. i just cant stop listening them.

big chunk of my earworm are of pink floyd , metallica and linkin park.
“jotheyalli jothe jotheyalli ” is one kannada. “Uyiren uyiren” and many hindi too..

Is there a solution ?


Usually it is a couple of lines from a song that get stuck….what works for me is completing the song, either in my head, or singing it aloud….

But one thing…don’t listen to the song when you are trying to get rid of it… gets stuck even stronger.

And I think of some other song…believe me, this is tough, becos both songs tend to overlap, but ultimately we will be successful in getting rid of the worms….

howdu kanemaaa, we got that earworm, thanks to N and Muku b. One more song in the list is the Jotheyali song from Geetha. Now i see a disgusting Hindi version picturised on amitabh bachchan. Chee thoo k$%$^ aaa…
Innondu haadu, I forget the movie… nee heege nodabeda nanna. I think it was b.m shri’s or bendre song. Not sure.
Excellent topic van.. keep it up. Will chat with you tomorrow.

Ear Worms heading nodi nanu yeno worms bagge irbeku like ring worms etc., adre idu nijavajalu thumba olleya vishya
I too get these thing humming like few lines from one and so many from others gets joined. this is much before the re-mix culture started who knows may be the first remix was inspired by the earworms!!!!! what do you say
really a good post and all comments on this are superb so at last I too decided post my comment
ear worms hege mix agta irutve
yendu ninna seruve balllu nine bhuviyallu nine
jothyali jhote jotheyali yelle idu hege iru yendendu
aparakeethi mereva bhaya nadididu…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Hai Vani,

“Earworm” Well written post with bit Research!! For me Rite now its “Onde ondu sari……….” Anisuthide yako ansthailla… too boring after hearing for numerous times… But still it touches the Heart….

The Old Kannada songs are evergreen.. and has good collection. in Bhava geethe/Sugama sangeetha the KS Narasimha Swamy’s Songs Rocks!! Gr8 Romantic songs.. “Kurudu kanchana…” of Da.ra Bendre… Jog song of Nisar ahmed… are some of the Earworms….

The very first song Heard in the morning will fill that day as EARWORM… It had happened for me Manytimes…..

Thanks for including me in Blog roll…….. U and Bellur Ramki has increased my responsibility as a blogger……

whitephosphorous…. Gives different meaning then wat u hav mentioned in introduction post!!

hmmmm……….. Very surprised to see when searching in google took to wikipedia… am sure u must be aware of this……

earworms ! is it a habit or is it an addiction ?

in both the cases the remedy could be:

transmit it to another person preferably your PM, then sit back and enjoy!!!


transmit it to the person who doesnot like it at all. Children pick it up very fast.(so… be caaaareful)


as Oscar Wilde said ‘the best way to overcome a temptation is to yield to it’

Recent earworms are ‘Mandakiniye …’ from Hudugaata and Kariya I love you.. These songs are not going from my head. I will hear this songs 5-6 times a day.Irresistible.

I did not know that earworms are such a common phenomenon! Well, I usually get easily addicted by bad catchy songs. I know I hate those songs, but I somehow cant get out of them. Its just a self-destructive mechanism that we humans possess I guess. Heres my list:
1) Adnan Sami – Pal Do Pal Pyaar Ka (I used to sing it very involuntarily, with the same nasality)
2) Himesh – Aa Aa Aashiqui Mein Teri
3) Jaanemann – Humko Maaloom Hai (One of the most yuckiest pretentious song I have ever heard!)
4) Nenapirali – Koorak Kukralli Kere (One of the other songs that tops my hate list. A completely nonsensical geographic mumbo-jumbo any mysorean would find very insulting to his home town)

I am a victim of the earpest ‘Belli Rathadali’ and it is not just an earworm but also an eyeworm. That awful dance of Ambarish haunts me sometimes even in dreams.
It is based on Hamsanandi Raaga and unfortunately my other favorite songs emanate from that. Every time I humm any of my fav songs from that raaga, it leads to “Belli rathadali……” and thats the end of story. For the rest of the day, I am humming it…. 🙂


Veena hedaridhange..sadya kariya siglilla
may God bless you and keep you happy.

Yup! Bang on dot Elder Sister!

Thanks for the wishes………..Life’s been good so far.

Ninna Thangi

Cool! I didn’t know these were called “earworms”! I’ve known them by LSS, or last song syndrome. I’ve been afflicted by it too, and for some reason it’s usually the most repetitive music.

Haha, another trivia to know.

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