Netherlands Longitudinal Study on Hearing (NL-SH)

Netherlands Longitudinal Study on Hearing (NL-SH)

The National Longitudinal Study on Hearing (NL-SH), also internationally known as the Netherlands Longitudinal Study on Hearing, is an ongoing prospective cohort study implemented via the Internet. The NL-SH is a unique cohort, as it includes adults ranging from 18 to 70 years at baseline, and hearing impairment is the central topic under investigation. 

Hearing status is determined by the online digit-triplet speech-in-noise test (known as the National Hearing Test: and also by self-reported measures such as the Amsterdam Inventory for Auditory Disability and Handicap. The main aim of the NL-SH is to identify the impact of hearing ability on activity and participation of adults in a large range of important life domains. Questionnaires administered via the internet are used to examine psychosocial health (distress, depression, anxiety, somatization, loneliness and self-efficacy), work characteristics (job demands and control, need for recovery, sick leave), medication use, and health care utilization. Follow-up measurements are planned for every five years.


The NL-SH commenced in 2006 and is carried out at the department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, section Ear & Hearing at VU University Medical Center and embedded in the EMGO+ Institute.

NL-SH studies are conducted in  cooperation with several departments of the VU University Medical Center (e.g. departments of Public and Occupational Health and Ophthalmology). The first measurement round (2006-2010) was financially supported by the Heinsius-Houbolt Foundation. Since 2010, Phonak AG a world-leading hearing aid manufacturer in Switzerland, is a collaborating partner. This provides exciting opportunities to share knowledge and combine research and industry perspectives. Phonak AG funded the second measurement round (2010-2014). The next (third) measurement round is planned in 2016 and onwards and is financially supported by the EMGO+ Institute through a so-called “Embedded PH.D.“ grant.

The data collection of the NL-SH study is ongoing. That means that new participants can still subscribe themselves into the study. The number of adults participating in the NL-SH is almost 3000. Worldwide there are only a few studies containing longitudinal data about hearing status and the effects on functioning of adults over time, indicating that the NL-SH dataset consists of exclusive data.

Contact information

Project leader of the NL-SH study: Prof. dr. S.E. Kramer

For more information and to read the NL-SH results: