- Earworm is also another name for the corn earworm, or Helicoverpa zea.
When someone has an Earworm, means that they have a song running through their head, over and over. The word was coined by an Associate Professor in Marketing from the University of Cincinnati. Dr. James Kellaris performed experiments on many people in order to arrive at the conclusion that nearly every person gets an earworm at some time in their life. The word earworm is derived from the German word, Ohrwurm.
Kellaris' studies also investigate the varying reactions exhibited by people experiencing earworms, ranging from slight irritation to extreme aggravation. He discovered that songs which are repetative in their rhythms have more of a chance to end up as an earworm. Songs of this type include Who Let the Dogs Out and The Lion Sleeps Tonight.