We don’t need to tell you 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 about to get their hearing screened 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 easy as just recommending to them that they need their hearing checked. They won’t see the need, and you won’t get very far with threats, ultimatums, or other coercive approaches.

Even though it may seem like a hopeless scenario, there are other, more subtle strategies you can employ. In fact, you can draw from the sizable body of social scientific research that signifies which practices of persuasion have been determined to be the most consistently successful.

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

With that said, 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 powerfully 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 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 trick is to start with smaller commitments ahead of making the final request. If you begin by telling your loved one to get a hearing test, you almost certainly won’t see much success.

Rather, ease into the topic by casually sharing an article on hearing loss and how common it is. Without mentioning their own hearing loss, get them to disclose that hearing loss is a larger issue than they had believed.

Once they confess to a couple of basic facts, it may be less difficult to talk about 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 tend to think in terms of “safety in numbers.” We are inclined to conform to the crowd, and we assume that if a lot of other people are doing something, it must be safe or effective.

How to use it:

There are at least two ways to utilize this technique. One way is to share articles on the benefits of using hearing aids and how hearing aids amplify the quality of life for millions of individuals in the U.S. and around the world.

The second way to use the technique is to arrange 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 feel better if they went with you and had their own test.

4. Liking

What it is:

You’re more likely 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 those 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 him or her discuss and 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 wear and benefit from hearing aids. You can also share articles from credible sources that show the advantages of having 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 creates 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:

Recent research has coupled hearing loss to a number of 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 corrected, the better.

To employ 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 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. Convey to your loved ones how their hearing loss impacts you, combined with how it’s affecting your relationship. When you make it about your needs and feelings rather than theirs, 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.”