Anhydrous magnesium sulfate is used as a drying agent. Since the anhydrous form is hygroscopic (readily absorbs water from the air) and is therefore difficult to weigh accurately, the hydrate is often preferred when preparing solutions, for example in medical preparations. Epsom salt has been traditionally used as a component of bath salts.
Magnesium sulfate is the primary substance that causes the absorption of sound in seawater. Absorption, in this case, means the conversion of acoustic energy to heat energy. The conversion is a strong function of frequency. Lower frequencies are less affected by the salt, so that the acoustic energy travels much farther in the ocean. Boric acid also contributes to absorption; but the most abundant salt in seawater, sodium chloride, has no known effect on sound absorption.