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

But exactly how are you supposed 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 simplistic as just recommending to them that they need their hearing checked. 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 subtle strategies you can employ. In fact, you can tap into the enormous body of social scientific research that proves which strategies of persuasion have been found to be the most consistently successful.

This means, you can utilize tested, researched, and proven persuasive methods that have been demonstrated to actually work. It’s worth a chance, right? And exploring the strategies might help you 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 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 tested at some point anyway, so why not render the request just after you’ve done something special for them?

2. Commitment and Consistency

What it is:

We all have a deep psychological need to think and behave consistently.

How to use it:

The key is to start with small commitments prior to making the final request. If you start by telling your loved one to get a hearing test, you most likely won’t see much success.

Alternatively, ease into the topic 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 more prominent problem than they had assumed.

As soon as they concede to a few basic facts, it may be easier to talk about their own personal hearing loss, and they may be more likely to confess that they have a problem.

3. Social Proof

What it is:

We tend to think in terms of “safety in numbers.” We tend to stick to the crowd, and we assume that if plenty of other people are doing something, it must be safe or beneficial.

How to use it:

There are at least two ways to use this approach. One way is to share articles on the benefits of using hearing aids and how hearing aids enhance the quality of life for millions of people in the U.S. and across the world.

The second way to use the method is to arrange for a hearing test for yourself. Explain to your loved one that you want to confirm the health of your own hearing, but that you would feel better if they went with you and had their own test.

4. Liking

What it is:

You are more liable to be persuaded by individuals you personally like than by either a stranger or by someone you dislike.

How to use it:

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

5. Authority

What it is:

We are inclined to listen to and respect the suggestions of those we perceive as authority figures.

How to use it:

Share articles on how celebrities, professional athletes, and other popular figures use and benefit from hearing aids. You can also share articles from credible sources that show the advantages of getting your hearing tested. For instance, the World Health Organization just 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 right away, we may lose something forever.

How to use it:

The latest research has connected hearing loss to a variety of dangerous conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, memory impairment, and rapid cognitive decline. Hearing loss also gets worse over time, so the sooner it’s corrected, 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 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, along 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.”