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

But just how are you expected 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 recommending to 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 techniques.

Even though it may seem like a hopeless scenario, 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 methods of persuasion have been discovered to be the most consistently successful.

This means, you can utilize tested, researched, and validated persuasive strategies that have been established to actually work. It’s worth a shot, right? And browsing the strategies might enable you to think of additional ideas.

With that said, the following are 6 scientifically tested techniques 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 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 requesting your loved one to get their hearing tested at some point anyway, so why not make the request soon 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 start 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.

Rather, ease into the topic by casually sharing an article on hearing loss and how prevalent it is. Without mentioning their own personal hearing loss, get them to admit that hearing loss is a much bigger problem than they had thought.

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

3. Social Proof

What it is:

We have a habit to think in terms of “safety in numbers.” We are inclined to follow the crowd, and we assume that if plenty 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 strategy. One way is to share articles on the benefits of wearing hearing aids and how hearing aids enrich the quality of life for millions of people in the U.S. and around the globe.

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

4. Liking

What it is:

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

How to use it:

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

5. Authority

What it is:

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

How to use it:

Share articles on how celebrities, athletes, and other notable figures wear and benefit from hearing aids. You can also share articles from reliable sources that describe the necessity of having your hearing tested. For 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 perception 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 a multitude of serious conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, memory impairment, and rapid cognitive decline. Hearing loss also gets worse through the years, so the earlier it’s dealt with, the better.

To employ 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 every 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. Convey to your loved ones how their hearing loss impacts you, combined 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.”