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 about to get their hearing checked and treated.

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

It turns out that it’s not as straight forward as just telling them that they need their hearing tested. They won’t see the need, and you won’t get very far using threats, ultimatums, or other coercive strategies.

Even though it may seem like an impossible situation, there are other, more subtle techniques you can employ. In fact, you can draw from the massive body of social scientific research that proves which techniques of persuasion have been discovered to be the most consistently effective.

In other words, you can use tested, researched, and validated persuasive strategies that have been shown to actually work. It’s worth a chance, right? And browsing the techniques might help you 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 basic principle of reciprocity is straight forward: if someone does a favor for you, you’re highly motivated 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 don’t you render the request just after you’ve done something special for them?

2. Commitment and Consistency

What it is:

We all have a deep psychological motivation to think and behave consistently.

How to use it:

The trick is to begin with smaller commitments prior to making the final request. If you start by ordering your loved one to get a hearing test, you likely won’t see much success.

Alternatively, ease into the subject by casually sharing an article on hearing loss and how universal it is. Without mentioning their own hearing loss, get them to confess that hearing loss is a much bigger issue than they had thought.

Once they concede to a few basic facts, it may be easier to talk about their own specific hearing loss, and they may be more likely to accept that they have a problem.

3. Social Proof

What it is:

We are inclined to think in terms of “safety in numbers.” We have a tendency to conform to the crowd, and we assume that if lots of other people are doing something, it must be safe or beneficial.

How to use it:

There are at a minimum two ways to make use of this approach. One way is to share articles on the many advantages of wearing hearing aids and how hearing aids raise the quality of life for millions of individuals in the U.S. and globally.

The second way to use the technique is to schedule a hearing test for yourself. Explain to your loved one that you want to confirm the well being of your own hearing, but that you would feel better if they went with you and had their own exam.

4. Liking

What it is:

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

How to use it:

Solicit the help of individuals you know your loved one likes or respects. Attempt to find that one person whom your loved one always seems to respond to, and have him or her talk about and recommend a hearing test.

5. Authority

What it is:

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

How to use it:

Share articles on how celebrities, professional athletes, and other prominent figures wear and benefit from hearing aids. You can also share articles from trustworthy sources that show the importance of having your hearing tested. For instance, the World Health Organization recently published an article titled “1.1 billion people at risk of hearing loss.”

6. Scarcity

What it is:

Scarcity establishes 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 immediately, we may lose something on a permanent basis.

How to use it:

The latest research has connected hearing loss to many different dangerous conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, memory impairment, and accelerated cognitive decline. Hearing loss also gets worse through the years, so the sooner it’s corrected, the better.

To employ scarcity, share articles, such as our preceeding 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 heightens the risk of developing more serious conditions.

If all else fails, just give it to them straight. Tell your loved ones how their hearing loss affects you, together with how it’s affecting your relationship. When you make it about your needs and feelings rather than theirs, the response is usually better.

Have you had success persuading someone to have their hearing tested? Let us know your methods 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.”

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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