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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 different type of challenge: persuading someone you care for to get their hearing screened and treated.

But exactly 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 simple as just telling them that they need their hearing tested. They won’t understand the need, and you won’t get very far with threats, ultimatums, or other coercive techniques.

While it may seem like an impossible scenario, there are other, more discreet strategies you can employ. In fact, you can tap into the sizable body of social scientific research that teaches which methods of persuasion have been determined to be the most consistently effective.

This means, you can utilize tested, researched, and validated persuasive strategies that have been established to actually work. It’s worth a chance, right? And examining the strategies might make it easier 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 friend or family member to get their hearing tested:

1. Reciprocity

What it is:

The concept 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 right 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 smaller commitments ahead of making the final request. If you start by telling your loved one to get a hearing test, you probably won’t see much success.

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

As soon as they confess to a couple of basic facts, it may be less difficult 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 have a tendency to conform to the crowd, and we assume that if lots of other people are doing something, it must be trusted or effective.

How to use it:

There are at a minimum two ways to use this strategy. 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 people in the U.S. and globally.

The second way to use the technique is to schedule a hearing test for yourself. Tell your loved one that you want to check on the health 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 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 those you know your loved one likes or respects. Attempt to find that one particular person whom your loved one always seems to respond to, and have him or her discuss and recommend a hearing test.

5. Authority

What it is:

We tend 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 famous figures use and benefit from hearing aids. You can also share articles from reliable sources that outline the advantages 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 brings about 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 quickly, we may lose something once and for all.

How to use it:

The latest research has connected hearing loss to a great number 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 dealt with, 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, deteriorates health, and heightens 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 affects you, in conjunction with how it’s affecting 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.”