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We don’t need to tell you the signs of hearing loss; you already know them all too well. You have a completely different kind of challenge: persuading someone you care for to get their hearing screened and treated.

But 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 examined. They won’t understand the need, and you won’t get very far using threats, ultimatums, or other coercive methods.

While it may seem like an impossible scenario, there are other, more discreet techniques you can employ. In fact, you can draw from the enormous body of social scientific research that signifies which strategies of persuasion have been determined to be the most consistently successful.

This means, you can use tested, researched, and confirmed persuasive methods that have been shown to actually work. It’s worth a chance, right? And scanning the strategies might enable you to think of additional ideas.

With that said, the following are 6 scientifically tested methods of persuasion and how you might use them to persuade a friend or family member to get their hearing tested:

1. Reciprocity

What it is:

The principle of reciprocity is straight forward: 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 shortly after you’ve done something special for them?

2. Commitment and Consistency

What it is:

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

How to use it:

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

Instead, ease into the subject by casually sharing an article on hearing loss and how common it is. Without mentioning their own personal hearing loss, get them to admit that hearing loss is a larger issue than they had believed.

As soon as they confess to some basic facts, it may be easier to discuss their own specific hearing loss, and they may be more likely to admit that they have a problem.

3. Social Proof

What it is:

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

How to use it:

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

The second way to use the approach is to set up a hearing test for yourself. Tell 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 test.

4. Liking

What it is:

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

How to use it:

Enlist 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 discuss and recommend a hearing test.

5. Authority

What it is:

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

How to use it:

Share articles on how celebrities, athletes, and other notable figures use and benefit from hearing aids. You can also share articles from credible sources that show 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 creates 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 quickly, we may lose something permanently.

How to use it:

Recent research has coupled hearing loss to a great number of serious 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 dealt with, the better.

To employ 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 each day spent with untreated hearing loss exacerbates the hearing loss, deteriorates health, and increases 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 impacts you, along with how it’s impacting your relationship. When you make it about your needs and emotions rather than their own, the reaction 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.