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

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

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

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

With that in mind, here are 6 scientifically tested techniques 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 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 immediately 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 act consistently.

How to use it:

The trick is to start with smaller commitments before making the final request. If you begin by ordering 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 widespread it is. Without pointing out their own personal hearing loss, get them to disclose that hearing loss is a bigger issue than they had assumed.

Once they confess to a couple of basic facts, it may be easier to talk about their own personal hearing loss, and they may be more likely to accept that they have a problem.

3. Social Proof

What it is:

We are inclined to think in terms of “safety in numbers.” We have a tendency to conform 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 minimum two ways to utilize this technique. One way is to share articles on the benefits of wearing hearing aids and how hearing aids enhance the quality of life for millions of individuals in the U.S. and across the world.

The second way to use the approach is to schedule a hearing test for yourself. Inform your loved one that you want to confirm the health 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 are more inclined 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 people you know your loved one likes or respects. Try to find that one 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 respect the opinions of those we perceive 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 legitimate sources that outline the importance of getting your hearing tested. As an example, 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 causes a sense of urgency when what we want is perceived as limited or in short supply. Scarcity creates the feeling 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 wide array of serious conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, memory impairment, and accelerated cognitive decline. Hearing loss also gets worse over the years, so the sooner 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 increases the risk of developing more dangerous conditions.

If all else fails, just give it to them straight. Tell your loved ones how their hearing loss affects you, together with how it’s impacting 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 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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