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

But just 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 simple as just recommending to them that they need their hearing tested. 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 an impossible situation, there are other, more discreet approaches you can employ. In fact, you can tap into the enormous body of social scientific research that teaches which methods of persuasion have been found to be the most consistently successful.

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

With that said, the following 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 principle of reciprocity is straight forward: 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 requesting your loved one to get their hearing checked at some point anyway, so why don’t you make the request after you’ve done something special for them?

2. Commitment and Consistency

What it is:

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

How to use it:

The trick is to begin with small commitments ahead of making the final request. If you begin by telling 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 widespread it is. Without pointing out their own hearing loss, get them to confess that hearing loss is a larger problem than they had believed.

As soon as they concede 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 admit that they have a problem.

3. Social Proof

What it is:

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

How to use it:

There are at a minimum two ways to make use of this approach. One way is to share articles on the many advantages of wearing hearing aids and how hearing aids elevate the quality of life for millions of people in the U.S. and around the globe.

The second way to use the strategy 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 assessment.

4. Liking

What it is:

You are more likely to be persuaded by those 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 particular person whom your loved one consistently seems to respond to, and have that person discuss and recommend a hearing test.

5. Authority

What it is:

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

How to use it:

Share articles on how celebrities, athletes, and other distinguished figures use and benefit from hearing aids. You can also share articles from trustworthy sources that show the advantages 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 establishes 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 promptly, we may lose something permanently.

How to use it:

The latest research has coupled hearing loss to a wide array of dangerous conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, memory impairment, and rapid cognitive decline. Hearing loss also gets worse as time passes, so the earlier it’s dealt with, the better.

To apply scarcity, share articles, such as our previous 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 heightens 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 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 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.