Magnesium: A New Therapy for Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Otol Neurotol. 2002 Jul;23(4):447-51. doi: 10.1097/00129492-200207000-00009.


Objective: To determine whether treatment with Mg(2+) improves the outcome of idiopathic sudden hearing loss and to investigate which variables influence its prognosis.

Study design: Prospective randomized study.

Setting: Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel.

Patients: The study group included 133 patients. Sixty patients were treated with carbogen inhalation, and 73 were treated with a combination of carbogen inhalation and intravenous MgSO(4).

Results: The mean improvement rate was 66.4% in the Mg(2+) group and 49.9% in the carbogen group (p < 0.01). Recovery was achieved in 35 patients (48%) in the Mg(2+) group and only in 19 patients (31.6%) in the carbogen group (p < 0.01). Significant improvement was seen in 20 patients (27.4%) in the Mg(2+) group and in 14 patients (23.3%) in the carbogen group. Partial improvement was seen in eight patients (10.9%) in the Mg(2+) group and in 12 patients (20%) in the carbogen group. No improvement was achieved in 10 patients (13.6%) in the Mg(2+) group and in 15 patients (25%) in the carbogen group. Patients with vestibular symptoms had a poorer hearing outcome compared to those without vertigo (p < 0.04). Patients who commenced the treatment 8 days or more after onset had poorer recovery as compared with those who started treatment earlier (p < 0.03), regardless of the treatment regimen. Age, sex, and tinnitus had no significant impact on hearing recovery.

Conclusion: We found that Mg(2+) improved hearing recovery in cases of idiopathic sudden hearing loss. Vertigo and treatment delay beyond 8 days were poor prognostic factors for recovery.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Carbon Dioxide / administration & dosage
  • Carbon Dioxide / therapeutic use
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Hearing / drug effects
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / complications
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / drug therapy*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Magnesium Sulfate / administration & dosage
  • Magnesium Sulfate / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen / administration & dosage
  • Oxygen / therapeutic use
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vertigo / complications


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Magnesium Sulfate
  • carbogen
  • Oxygen