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Of the five senses, hearing is the only one we punish through excess, writes Bobby Ampezzan in Tuesday’s Style section. About three in 20 people will lose high-frequency tones by their 69th birthday, according to the National Institutes of Health, and many of those by choice.

Another incongruity of hearing is the fact that a sound one person enjoys is despised by another. If we universally like the sound of cats’ purrs and wind chimes, why do we put on Wu-Tang Clan in the car? And if we roundly agree the sound of two cars crashing is unpleasant, why is the cymbal strike a favorite marker of musical climax?

Consider the Ultimate Om, a recording produced by self-described sound “healer” Jonathan Goldman. At just over one hour in length, it is the product of layering dozens of vocalists giving voice to the om, the sound of creation in Hinduism and a meditative hum, in the key of C. Goldman is convinced than ever that sound influences not just sentient beings with ears and nervous systems but individual living cells. Is this the anthem of our very existence?

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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