UNLABELLED: To study electric acoustic stimulation, we have developed a model of guinea pig cochlear implantation via a cochleostomy. Thirty minutes prior to implantation, a hyaluronic acid/carboxymethylcellulose bead, loaded with either dexamethasone or normal saline, was placed upon the round window membrane. Animals that did not receive beads acted as controls. Pure-tone auditory brainstem response thresholds were estimated before and after electrode insertion, and 1 and 4 weeks later. Selected cochlear histology was performed. RESULTS: Dexamethasone could be detected in the cochlea for 24 h after cochlear implantation. Thresholds were elevated across frequencies in all animals immediately after surgery. These thresholds recovered completely at and below 2 kHz, and partially at higher frequencies by 1 week after implantation. At 32 kHz, but not the lower frequencies, the presence of dexamethasone had a significant protective effect upon hearing, which increased in magnitude over time. The protection was greatest in difficult implantations where an intractable resistance to electrode insertion was met. There was a persistent foreign body reaction at the site of implantation of saline-treated implanted ears but not in the dexamethasone-treated implanted ears. CONCLUSION: Short-term preoperative delivery of dexamethasone through the round window can protect residual hearing during cochlear implantation, especially during technically difficult surgery.