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

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

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

While it may seem like a hopeless situation, there are other, more subtle approaches you can employ. In fact, you can tap into the sizable body of social scientific research that reveals which practices of persuasion have been determined to be the most consistently successful.

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

With that in mind, 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 concept of reciprocity is simple: 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 examined at some point anyway, so why don’t you render the request 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 trick is to start with small commitments ahead of making the final request. If you start by ordering your loved one to get a hearing test, you most likely won’t see much success.

Rather, 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 problem than they had thought.

As soon as they concede to some basic facts, it may be less difficult to discuss their own specific hearing loss, and they may be more likely to disclose that they have a problem.

3. Social Proof

What it is:

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

How to use it:

There are at least two ways to make use of this technique. One way is to share articles on the benefits of using hearing aids and how hearing aids heighten the quality of life for millions of individuals in the U.S. and around the globe.

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 well being 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 those you personally like than by either a stranger or by someone you dislike.

How to use it:

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

5. Authority

What it is:

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

How to use it:

Share articles on how celebrities, athletes, and other prominent figures use and benefit from hearing aids. You can also share articles from trustworthy sources that describe the necessity 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 produces a sense of urgency when what we want is perceived as limited or in short supply. Scarcity creates the perception that, if we don’t act promptly, we may lose something on a permanent basis.

How to use it:

The latest research has coupled hearing loss to a multitude of dangerous conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, memory impairment, and accelerated cognitive decline. Hearing loss also gets worse through the years, so the earlier it’s corrected, the better.

To utilize scarcity, share articles, such as our previous 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 worsens 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 affects you, combined with how it’s impacting your relationship. When you make it about your needs and feelings 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.
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