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

But how are you supposed to get through to someone who denies there is even an issue, or that simply shrugs it off as “just part of getting old”?

It turns out that it’s not as simplistic as just telling them that they need their hearing examined. They will not understand the need, and you won’t get very far using threats, ultimatums, or other coercive strategies.

Even though it may seem like a hopeless situation, there are other, more discreet approaches you can employ. In fact, you can tap into the enormous body of social scientific research that proves which strategies of persuasion have been determined to be the most consistently successful.

This means, you can utilize tested, researched, and validated persuasive techniques that have been shown to actually work. It’s worth a shot, right? And browsing the strategies might enable you 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 concept of reciprocity is simple: 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 requesting your loved one to get their hearing examined at some point anyway, so why don’t you make the request shortly 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 trick is to begin with smaller commitments prior to making the final request. If you start by ordering your loved one to get a hearing test, you 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 larger issue than they had believed.

Once they concede to a few basic facts, it may be less difficult to discuss their own specific hearing loss, and they may be more likely to disclose that they have a problem.

3. Social Proof

What it is:

We have a habit 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 a minimum two ways to use this method. 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 all over the world.

The second way to use the strategy is to arrange for a hearing test for yourself. Tell 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 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:

Solicit the assistance of those you know your loved one likes or respects. Try to find that one person whom your loved one always seems to respond to, and have that person talk about and recommend a hearing test.

5. Authority

What it is:

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

How to use it:

Share articles on how celebrities, athletes, and other famous figures use and benefit from hearing aids. You can also share articles from credible sources that show the importance of having 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 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 quickly, we may lose something once and for all.

How to use it:

Recent research has connected hearing loss to a large number of serious conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, memory impairment, and rapid cognitive decline. Hearing loss also gets worse over time, so the earlier it’s corrected, the better.

To use 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 every day spent with untreated hearing loss worsens the hearing loss, weakens 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, combined with how it’s impacting 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.”

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.