Tinnitus and ear worms


I’ve been thinking about this for the last while. I have constant tinnitus. As many here do.
I also seem to always have some kind of repeating and sometimes different ear worm running in my head. My definition of ear worm is some snippet of a song that plays over and over non-stop in ones head.
If I listen to other songs with something catchy then that’ll play repeatedly for the next short while and then it comes back to some tune that has been playing for quite some time. Some time ago it seemed to be a different tune.

So I’m wondering if maybe perchance the ear worm is an unconscious defense mechanism to attempt to distract the brain from being too aware of the tinnitus.

Anyone have tinnitus and constant ear worms or am I just some kind of psycho :slight_smile: ?



I have tinnitus but never had what you are describing, I have had tinnitus since about Thanksgiving of 1975, it started after a flight halfway around the world in the cargo bay of a military plane. My tinnitus is always there but I have gotten so use to it that most times I can forget about that. But if I get in a very quiet place then it booms at me. The other I can only relate to as possible to loud a sound that continues for a while after you har it. That has happened to me a few times. Mostly if I go to a movie that is so loud that it hurts to be there.



Yes, at the moment my earworm is “Southern Cross” :sunglasses:

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I have tinnitus continuously, and I experience earworms a lot.

I have heard from a number of people without a hearing problem, that they get earworms. The wikipedia article on earworms claims that 98% of people get them. So I think you and I have a lot of company.



I guess I know why I don’t get ear worms, I don’t listen to music that often



Hey that was helpful. Thanks. So I’m not so psycho :slight_smile:
And of course I shoulda looked things up. I had wondered if it was possibly to do with tinnitus but apparently lots of people get them whether known to have tinnitus or not.

My current one that I’ve had for a while now is My City Was Gone by The Pretenders. Particularly the bass melody bit to be exact that plays through the lyrics. Dut Dut duh na na na etc…over and over and over.
Before that that I remember was the old grey mare of all things…just snippets…over and over and over …

My tinnitus is a high pitch constant tone somewhere around 8khz or thereabouts. I also have a general background noise behind that and quieter.
Sometimes a lower tone will come in and then leave.

cvkemp: How often would one go about hearing the old grey mare? It just sticks in you somehow. I can’t remember the last time I was conscious of hearing that Pretenders song either.



You don’t say here how old you are.

As a kid, adolescent, and young adult, I was plagued with music earworms. I’ve had a theory about them, not unique to me, that may or may not apply to you. I have extensive musical training, and an even longer fascination with music going back to early childhood. For me, earworms were a way of trying to figure out how the composer/arranger/record producer/performers did what they did. I wanted to feel the music throb through my body. I found one way to slow down and stop the earworm was to listen to the record (yeah back then, we’re talking 33/45/even 78 rpm) with close physical proximity, repeatedly if needed, until the earworm went away. Possibly meaning I’d figured out how they did what they did.

I rarely have music earworms now. I still find new music in many genres that I’m wowed by, but I don’t have that earworm phenomenon or the need to keep replaying the same track as often, and it’s much easier for me to shake a particular earworm if I have one.

Yet tinnitus has been a growing issue. If anything, tinnitus for me may reflect that close physical proximity to music playback. I have to listen to music quietly now, or it all jumbles together, and I’m acutely aware that I may be causing further damage to my hearing. I wish I’d had the sense I lacked back when I was a kid to heed my parents’ advice to turn that damn music down.



My default earworm is Axle Foley. Over and over again, since the 80s. I have a couple of other 80s TV show themes in pretty heavy rotation as well. Songs from musicals will get me, but they aren’t as repetative.

I agree with the above. If I get an earworm, the fastest way to get rid of it is to listen to the actual song.



Psycho: meet Psychess! I’ve had tinnitus in both ears following a bad infection at age 14. And BOY do I get ear worms. (I didn’t know that’s what they called the phenomena, but hey, whatever, I have 'em.)

I actually have to think twice - or 3 times over - as to what song I want to play, cuz I know that if it sounds good, and I like the tune, it’s going to play OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER till I either re-play the song and then play another one to replace that tune.

I always figured it was my own brain attempting to keep the tinnitus “wire” busy with a tune along the same tonal frequency. It’s a wonder I haven’t gone mad with the 24x7 tune it plays, but wearing aids helps to drown it out. And oddly enough, when I take my aids out at night, the tone is like white noise.

Except when the barometric pressure changes. Then my tinnitus really kicks in with all kinds of BONGING and wailing - acting like its own weathervane.



Nope. Not for me. Found a live video on utoob and that repeating bass line (poor guy) just sticks in deep. I would think that then listening to the actual song reinforces the earworm.



I’d heard the term quite some time ago but stevepriceloco made me look it up.



Just hope you never listen to “Grandma got run over by a reindeer”. Trust me, you don’t want that playing over and over in your head. Like other have said, I get them too. But with me, the song is usually something that I don’t like. It just gets stuck in my brain for a while. I even find myself singing along at times, and that ain’t good.

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I’m desperately trying not to think about achey breaky heart at this point. Aaargh.



I was once told that to listen to “Yellow Submarine” would KILL an ear worm. But not being a big fan of that song, what I do instead is literally STOP the tune mid-stream (in my mind) and force myself to think of a totally different tune. That works about half the time.



Ear worms huh? All this time I thought I just had a very auditory imagination.



It doesn’t sound psychotic, but if it is at least you have a soundtrack :blush:

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I have the very same problem.
I have tinnitus since 4 years ago, probably due to a acoustic trauma after a concert. Then, a few months ago after a very stressful situation I realize I had a song stuck in my head. I started to google about it and became worried and scared about the issue… Since then I always have a song in my head 24/7. It could be something I heard or something I just recall triggered by a word or an image. If I know the song, will be triggered and remembered.
Sometimes it gets more weird and I have stuck in my head small pieces of sound like the sound from the washing machine when it finishes.
I have some sort of pure OCD and my therapist believes I just need to forget about it and might eventually disappear. If not, he believes I just have to get used to it because music is not that bad after all.
Sometimes I stop listening to the music after something that really requires my focus. The moment I realize there is no music, it’s like my brain feels unsafe and after 2-3 seconds I have a song. When that happens, that’s usually the same “safe” one. Maybe my fault because I sing it when I am worried a worst song is going to be stucked.
I feel like I can cope with it… but I would give all my money and a kidney to solve it.
ISR are not helping.



I’m a musician by trade, I get earworms all the time. Sometimes from songs I like, sometimes from symphonies, sometimes from songs I don’t particularly like.

I do have something that works for me to mute tinnitus. 3000mg per day of the amino acid taurine (although this is generally recognized as safe, it’s always best to check with your doc before taking anything)

I take two 1000mg capsules first thing in the morning with water on an empty stomach, and then one later in the day.

When I first heard about this I bought a number of bottles. The improvement was so gradual I didn’t think they were working — until I ran out and in a week the volume amped up again.

After a couple of years, I have more quiet days than noisy days, and my noisiest days are about as loud as my quietest days used to be.

I don’t know if it would work for anyone else. I read about it in the pubmed section of the National Institute of Health so it works for some others.

But it hasn’t done anything for the earworms. But that’s OK because I mostly enjoy them.