Introduction: Following animal experiments where correlations were observed between serum magnesium level and noise-induced permanent hearing threshold shifts (NIPTS), we tested the prophylactic effect of magnesium in human subjects exposed to hazardous noise.
Methods: Subjects were 300 young, healthy, and normal-hearing recruits who underwent 2 months of basic military training. This training necessarily included repeated exposures to high levels of impulse noises while using ear plugs. During this placebo-controlled, double-blind study, each subject received daily an additional drink containing either 6.7 mmol (167 mg) magnesium aspartate or a similar quantity of placebo (Na-aspartate).
Results: NIPTS was significantly more frequent and more severe in the placebo group than in the magnesium group, especially in bilateral damages. NIPTS was negatively correlated to the magnesium content of blood red cells but especially to the magnesium mononuclear cells. Long-term additional intake of a small dose of oral magnesium was not accompanied by any notable side effect.
Conclusion: This study may introduce a significant natural agent for the reduction of hearing damages in noise-exposed population.