A catchy song may be fun to dance to, but once it starts playing on an infinite loop in your mind, it can become distracting and annoying—and there's no pause button. But now, scientists at University of Reading have found an easy way to turn off the song for good: just chew some gum.
The new study, published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, found this simple fix reduced the repetitiveness of a song or jingle in your head—an "earworm"—in three experiments. All three tested gum chewing against listening to popular songs, and found that it reduced "auditory images" (hearing the song on repeat) and was even more effective than distracting the mind with another task, like tapping. Researchers believe this is because gum chewing is a sub-vocal action, a form of silent speech (like reading in your head), making it effective at suppressing the song.
An added bonus? Not only will it stop the song, but studies have also shown that gum might help you stay focused. Just make sure you're chewing it, not chomping it.