The Wrath of Khan Worm Ear is, in reality, an earworm. The nickname was acquired from the show Star Trek as ear worms were used as a form of torture during the show. Worms would be put into someone or something’s ear in order to cause pain and discomfort. The worms would enter the brain through the ear and then eat the victim’s brain causing great agony and, in the end, causing the victim to go insane.
In reality, the term earworm refers to getting music, a song or a part of a song stuck in one’s head. The inability to get lyrics or sound out of one’s mind can be rather irritating at times. The phenomenon is common and most everyone has experienced it at one time or another in their lives.
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It is important to note that earworms are not actual living creatures. It is simply a name that came about from the German language to describe the experience of getting a song in one’s head and then not being able to get rid of it.
Some people are more inclined to have this experience than others. There does not seem to be any logic or reason behind why this occurs more frequently for certain individuals although there has been a connection between the frequency of occurrence and individu8als with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).
OCD is a serious disorder that afflicts thousands of people around the world. Considered an anxiety disorder by the medical community, OCD causes individuals to have obsessive thoughts and repeat actions over and again to ensure that they have been done correctly.
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For example, people with OCD may be obsessed with the number three so they have to do everything three times. They have to wash their hands three times every time they wash them; open and shut doors three times; or start their cars three times before starting to drive. There are medications to treat OCD and these medications have been shown to help some people with the disease reduce the frequency of earworms.
People with OCD report having earworms more often than those without. Research has documented the occurrence and the frequency of occurrence many times and alternative names for the phenomenon have been suggested. In 2003, Sean Bennett suggested Musical Imagery Repetition (MIR) as a possible name. And, in 2007, Oliver Sacks suggested Involuntary Musical Imagery (INMI).
Neither of these names has replaced the Wrath of Khan or Earworm as the most common reference. The Wrath of Khan seems to be popular for the connection between the phenomenon and the idea of torture as the inability to get a repeating song or lyric out of one’s head can truly seem like torture at times.