When you listen to the radio, does almost every song sound completely new to you? When you were younger, you couldn’t imagine yourself getting tired of music, but these days you’re listening to the same old playlist (filled with hits from your high school and college days) all day long.
If you’re 28 or older, you’re not alone. Chances are, folks your age are experiencing what people have dubbed “musical paralysis”.
Getting tired of music? You might be experiencing musical paralysis
A new study by the streaming service Deezer found that the average person reaches “musical paralysis” — or when he/she stops listening to music — at the age of 27 and 11 months.
Musical discovery peaks four years earlier. On the average, 24-year-olds listen to around 10 new songs per week.
Why do most people stop discovering new music in their late 20s? There’s a handful of reasons.
1. You’re not getting tired of music, you’re overwhelmed by choice
19% of Deezer’s 5,000 respondents revealed that they were simply overwhelmed by the amount of music available. In the age of streaming, where the world’s music is available to you at the tap of a finger, that’s totally understandable.
“With so much brilliant music out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed,” said Adam Read, the UK and Ireland music editor at Deezer.
2. You don’t have enough time to find new music
Even though most of the respondents said that they would like to discover new music, adulting just makes it hard to do just that. As you get older, the real world just gets in the way of our little whims.
16% of respondents said that their job was just too demanding, while 11% were busy caring for young children.
3. Listening to nostalgic songs makes you feel happier
Research has suggested that as we approach our 30s, we end up listening to the same songs over and over again because of nostalgia. Music from our schooldays can bring up pleasant memories of simpler, carefree days, which is probably why we all enjoy listening to hits from the 90s and the early 2000s.
4. Our favourite songs release happy hormones, and a lot of our favourite songs tend to be songs from our teens
That rush of emotion that you get when you hear a beloved song for the first time in years? Those are your happy hormones at work.
Our brains respond to our favourite songs, releasing happy hormones like dopamine and oxytocin. During our teen years, our brains are still developing, and we’re also more emotional and sensitive (TY, hormones!).So if we hear a song we really really like, it’ll probably stay with us for the rest of our lives.
Sure, it’s possible for us to discover new songs we really love as adults, but these new songs rarely have the emotional and sentimental weight that songs from our youth tend to come with.
In other words, if your default playlists are full of Britney’s greatest hits or even the good old Frank Sinatra songs your parents used to play in the car, you can blame your brain’s hard wiring.