In the organ or Corti, oxidative stress could result in damage to the hearing, and neural stem cells (NSCs) hold great therapeutic potential in treating hearing loss. Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) has been widely shown to exhibit anti-oxidative and anti-apoptotic effects in treatments of neural damage and disorder. Using hydrogen peroxide to induced oxidative stress as a model, we investigated the anti-oxidative role of GBE in isolated mouse cochlear NSCs. GBE treatment was found to significantly promote viability of NSCs, by markedly attenuating hydrogen peroxide induced oxidative stress. In addition, this anti-oxidative function of GBE was also able to prevent mitochondrial depolarization and subsequent apoptosis. Moreover, the anti-apoptotic role of GBE was mediated by antagonizing the intrinsic mitochondrial apoptotic pathway, where GBE could reverse the changes in key intrinsic apoptosis pathway factors including Bcl-2, Bax, and Caspase-3. Our data provided the first report on the beneficial role of GBE in protecting cochlear NSCs, by attenuating oxidative stress triggered intrinsic apoptosis, therefore supporting the potential therapeutic value of GBE in preventing oxidative stress-related hearing loss. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.