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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 very different type of problem: persuading someone you care about to get their hearing tested and treated.

But just 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 simple as just telling them that they need their hearing examined. They will not see the need, and you won’t get very far using threats, ultimatums, or other coercive methods.

While it may seem like a hopeless scenario, there are other, more discreet approaches you can employ. In fact, you can draw from the sizable body of social scientific research that signifies which methods of persuasion have been discovered to be the most consistently successful.

This means, you can utilize tested, researched, and proven persuasive practices that have been demonstrated to actually work. It’s worth a chance, right? And browsing the strategies might make it easier to think of additional ideas.

With that said, the following 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 very simple: 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 tested at some point anyway, so why don’t you render 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 small commitments prior to making the final request. If you begin by telling your loved one to get a hearing test, you most likely won’t see much success.

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

As soon as they concede to some basic facts, it may be less difficult to discuss their own personal hearing loss, and they may be more likely to disclose that they have a problem.

3. Social Proof

What it is:

We tend to think in terms of “safety in numbers.” We tend to conform to the crowd, and we assume that if a number 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 strategy. One way is to share articles on the many advantages of wearing hearing aids and how hearing aids amplify the quality of life for millions of individuals in the U.S. and globally.

The second way to use the method is to schedule a hearing test for yourself. Explain to your loved one that you want to check on 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 inclined to be persuaded by individuals you personally like than by either a stranger or by someone you dislike.

How to use it:

Enlist the assistance of individuals 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 have the tendency to listen to and have respect for the suggestions of those we think of as authority figures.

How to use it:

Share articles on how celebrities, 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. As an 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 generates 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 permanently.

How to use it:

Recent research has connected hearing loss to many different serious conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, memory impairment, and rapid cognitive decline. Hearing loss also gets worse as time goes by, so the earlier it’s dealt with, the better.

To utilize 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 exacerbates the hearing loss, degrades health, and increases 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 impacts you, together with how it’s impacting your relationship. When you make it about your needs and feelings rather than theirs, the response 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.”

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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