The idea that dietary supplements can maintain ear health and prevent hearing loss seems attractive, given that the use of various dietary supplements to maintain good general health and eyesight is being recommended. However to date there is little evidence to extend the recommendation to the use of supplements to prevent hearing loss. In animal experiments there is some evidence that the effect of temporary noise-induced hearing loss (the hearing loss you might feel immediately after attending a loud concert but that goes away in a day or two) can be prevented by a combination of antioxidants like beta- carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and the mineral magnesium when administered before exposure to loud sound. Researchers now know noise-induced hearing loss is largely caused by the production of free radicals, which destroy healthy hair cells within the cochlea. The free radicals literally punch holes in the membrane of the hair cells, causing them to malfunction and eventually die, leading to a permanent hearing loss. The antioxidant vitamins may prevent hearing damage by mopping up the damaging free radicals. Magnesium, which is not an antioxidant, may help by improving blood flow to the inner ear. Further investigation with a whole range of antioxidant agents has been undertaken in animals including green tea, aspirin, and N acetyl cysteine, with the aim of identifying otoprotective agents. Further investigation in this field is required. To date there are no formal human trials that have documented a convincing hearing preservation effect with dietary supplements of any kind.