Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) were shown to temporarily impair the biological barriers in the skin of the external ear canal, mucosa of the middle ear, and inner ear, causing partially reversible hearing loss after delivery into the middle ear. The current study aimed to elucidate the molecular mechanism, emphasizing the TLR signaling pathways in association with the potential recruitment of macrophages in the cochlea and the modulation of inflammation by ubiquitin-editing protein A20. Molecules potentially involved in these signaling pathways were thoroughly analysed using immunohistochemistry in the rat cochlea exposed to AgNPs at various concentrations through intratympanic injection. The results showed that 0.4 % AgNPs but not 0.02 % AgNPs upregulated the expressions of CD68, TLR4, MCP1, A20, and RNF11 in the strial basal cells, spiral ligament fibrocytes, and non-sensory supporting cells of Corti's organ. 0.4 % AgNPs had no effect on CD44, TLR2, MCP2, Rac1, myosin light chain, VCAM1, Erk1/2, JNK, p38, IL-1β, TNF-α, TNFR1, TNFR2, IL-10, or TGF-β. This study suggested that AgNPs might confer macrophage-like functions on the strial basal cells and spiral ligament fibrocytes and enhance the immune activities of non-sensory supporting cells of Corti's organ through the upregulation of CD68, which might be involved in TLR4 activation. A20 and RNF11 played roles in maintaining cochlear homeostasis via negative regulation of the expressions of inflammatory cytokines.