Dr. Michael Seidman, in his excellent article, "Medicines to Treat the Inner Ear" states; "Decreased blood supply causes significant stress to the nerve tissue (of the inner ear) by causing the production of free radicals. (Author's note: The major causes of tinnitus all result in decreased blood supply.) These molecules are extremely damaging and are known to be responsible for over 100 human disorders.
The accumulation of free radicals severely damages the inner ear and other tissues. Through a complex chain of events, this damage can then cause a release and accumulation of glutamate and calpains. These chemicals in high concentration are extremely destructive to the body.
“Studies have shown that excessive glutamate may play a role in the production of tinnitus. Studies also show that glutamate antagonists can have a protective effect on the inner ear and possibly be a treatment for peripheral tinnitus, that which is generated by the inner ear. Three such drugs are currently under investigation at the Henry Ford Health System for tinnitus, including magnesium.
“The protective effect of magnesium in preventing noise-induced hearing loss has been studied since it was found that magnesium in inner ear fluid decreases significantly after intense noise exposure. The results of one placebo controlled study showed that subjects who took oral magnesium supplements displayed a significantly lower incidence of noise-induced hearing loss compared to the control group.
Another clinical trial of magnesium found that "Magnesium... exhibit(s) a statistically significant oto-neuro-protective action (inner ear protection) in noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus."(2)
2 - Ehrenberger K, Felix D, Receptor pharmacological models for inner ear therapies with emphasis on glutamate receptors: a survey, Acta Otolaryngol 1995 Mar;115(2):236-40
There are several clinical trials that show magnesium has a positive effect on reducing elevated blood pressure levels. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and stress are three of the primary aggravators of tinnitus. One study concludes, "Our meta-analysis detected dose-dependent blood pressure reductions from magnesium supplementation."
3 - Jee SH, Miller ER 3rd, et al, The effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure; a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials, Am J Hypertens 2002 Aug;15(8):691-6