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

But exactly 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 simple as just recommending to them that they need their hearing tested. They will not see the need, and you won’t get very far using threats, ultimatums, or other coercive tactics.

Even though it may seem like a hopeless situation, there are other, more discreet strategies you can use. In fact, you can tap into the sizable body of social scientific research that reveals which methods of persuasion have been determined to be the most consistently effective.

In other words, you can utilize tested, researched, and confirmed persuasive techniques that have been established to actually work. It’s worth a chance, right? And exploring the techniques might help 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 principle of reciprocity is straight forward: if someone does a favor for you, you’re strongly 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 make the request right 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 key is to start with small commitments in advance of making the final request. If you start by ordering your loved one to get a hearing test, you probably won’t see much success.

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

As soon as they confess 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 are inclined to think in terms of “safety in numbers.” We tend to stick to the crowd, and we assume that if a number 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 using hearing aids and how hearing aids heighten the quality of life for millions of people in the U.S. and across the globe.

The second way to use the approach 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 have more confidence if they went with you and had their own examination.

4. Liking

What it is:

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

How to use it:

Solicit the assistance of individuals 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 discuss and recommend a hearing test.

5. Authority

What it is:

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

How to use it:

Share articles on how celebrities, athletes, and other respected figures wear and benefit from hearing aids. You can also share articles from legitimate sources that show 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 once and for all.

How to use it:

The latest research has coupled hearing loss to a variety of serious conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, memory impairment, and rapid cognitive decline. Hearing loss also gets worse as time passes, so the earlier it’s dealt with, the better.

To use 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, weakens health, and increases the risk of developing more dangerous conditions.

If all else fails, just give it to them straight. Explain to your loved ones how their hearing loss affects you, along with how it’s affecting 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 approach 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.”