We don’t need to inform you of the symptoms of hearing loss; you already know them all too well. You have a completely different type of problem: persuading someone you care for to get their hearing tested and treated.

But exactly how are you expected to get through to someone who denies there is even an issue, or that merely shrugs it off as “just part of getting old”?

It turns out that it’s not as simple as just recommending to them that they need their hearing checked. They will not understand the need, and you won’t get very far with threats, ultimatums, or other coercive techniques.

Even though it may seem like an impossible situation, there are other, more discreet approaches you can use. In fact, you can draw from the sizable body of social scientific research that signifies which techniques of persuasion have been found to be the most consistently effective.

This means, you can utilize tested, researched, and confirmed persuasive strategies that have been demonstrated to actually work. It’s worth an attempt, right? And browsing the strategies might make it easier to think of additional ideas.

With that said, here are 6 scientifically tested methods of persuasion and how you might use them to persuade a loved one to get their hearing tested:

1. Reciprocity

What it is:

The principle of reciprocity is very simple: if someone does a favor for you, you’re highly compelled to return the favor for them.

How to use it:

Timing is everything. You plan on asking your loved one to get their hearing checked at some point anyway, so why not render the request just after you’ve done something special for them?

2. Commitment and Consistency

What it is:

We all have a strong psychological need to think and behave consistently.

How to use it:

The key is to start with small commitments prior to making the final request. If you begin by ordering your loved one to get a hearing test, you in all likelihood won’t see much success.

Instead, ease into the topic by casually sharing an article on hearing loss and how prevalent it is. Without pointing out their own hearing loss, get them to confess that hearing loss is a more prominent issue than they had believed.

Once they confess to a few basic facts, it may be less difficult to talk about their own individual hearing loss, and they may be more likely to admit that they have a problem.

3. Social Proof

What it is:

We tend to think in terms of “safety in numbers.” We tend to stick to the crowd, and we assume that if a lot of other people are doing something, it must be safe or effective.

How to use it:

There are at least two ways to use this strategy. One way is to share articles on the many advantages of using hearing aids and how hearing aids improve the quality of life for millions of people in the U.S. and all over the world.

The second way to use the technique is to arrange for a hearing test for yourself. Explain to your loved one that you want to confirm the health of your own hearing, but that you would have more confidence if they went with you and had their own exam.

4. Liking

What it is:

You’re more liable to be persuaded by people you personally like than by either a stranger or by someone you dislike.

How to use it:

Solicit the assistance of individuals you know your loved one likes or respects. Try to find that one particular person whom your loved one always seems to respond to, and have that person talk about and highly recommend a hearing test.

5. Authority

What it is:

We tend to listen to and have respect for the opinions of those we think of as authority figures.

How to use it:

Share articles on how celebrities, athletes, and other famous figures use and benefit from hearing aids. You can also share articles from credible sources that outline the importance of getting your hearing tested. As an example, the World Health Organization recently published an article titled “1.1 billion people at risk of hearing loss.”

6. Scarcity

What it is:

Scarcity causes a sense of urgency when what we want is perceived as limited or in short supply. Scarcity creates the feeling that, if we don’t act right away, we may lose something once and for all.

How to use it:

The latest research has linked hearing loss to a multitude of dangerous conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, memory impairment, and rapid cognitive decline. Hearing loss also gets worse as time goes by, so the sooner it’s corrected, the better.

To utilize scarcity, share articles, such as our earlier blog post titled 8 reasons hearing loss is more dangerous than you think, with your loved one. Show them that every day spent with untreated hearing loss exacerbates the hearing loss, degrades health, and increases the risk of developing more serious conditions.

If all else fails, just give it to them straight. Describe to your loved ones how their hearing loss impacts you, in conjunction with how it’s impacting your relationship. When you make it about your needs and feelings rather than theirs, the reaction is usually better.

Have you had success persuading someone to have their hearing tested? Let us know your approach in a comment.


The six principles of persuasion were developed by Dr. Robert Cialdini, and can be found in his book titled “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.”

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