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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 completely 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 tested. They won’t understand the need, and you won’t get very far with threats, ultimatums, or other coercive strategies.

Even though it may seem like a hopeless scenario, there are other, more discreet techniques you can use. In fact, you can draw from the enormous body of social scientific research that shows which techniques of persuasion have been discovered to be the most consistently successful.

In other words, you can make use of tested, researched, and confirmed persuasive methods that have been established to actually work. It’s worth an attempt, right? And examining the techniques might help you think of additional ideas.

With that in mind, 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 principle of reciprocity is simple: if someone does a favor for you, you’re powerfully 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 render the request right after you’ve done something special for them?

2. Commitment and Consistency

What it is:

We all have a deep psychological motivation to think and act consistently.

How to use it:

The key is to start with smaller commitments prior to making the final request. If you start off by ordering your loved one to get a hearing test, you almost certainly won’t see much success.

Instead, ease into the subject 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 bigger problem than they had thought.

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

3. Social Proof

What it is:

We have a tendency to think in terms of “safety in numbers.” We are inclined to stick to the crowd, and we assume that if a number of other people are doing something, it must be trusted or effective.

How to use it:

There are at minimum two ways to make use of this technique. One way is to share articles on the many advantages of using hearing aids and how hearing aids raise the quality of life for millions of people in the U.S. and across the world.

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

4. Liking

What it is:

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

How to use it:

Enlist the help of individuals you know your loved one likes or respects. Attempt to find that one person whom your loved one always seems to respond to, and have that person discuss and highly recommend a hearing test.

5. Authority

What it is:

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

How to use it:

Share articles on how celebrities, professional athletes, and other prominent figures wear and benefit from hearing aids. You can also share articles from reliable sources that summarize the advantages 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 feeling that, if we don’t act promptly, we may lose something permanently.

How to use it:

The latest research has connected hearing loss to a wide array 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 corrected, the better.

To implement scarcity, share articles, such as our preceeding blog post titled 8 reasons hearing loss is more dangerous than you think, with your loved one. Show them that each day spent with untreated hearing loss worsens the hearing loss, deteriorates health, and heightens the risk of developing more serious conditions.

If all else fails, just give it to them straight. Explain to your loved ones how their hearing loss impacts you, along with how it’s impacting your relationship. When you make it about your needs and emotions 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.”