How to Persuade Someone to Get a Hearing Test

Hearing Health Blog

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 about to get their hearing assessed and treated.

But just how are you supposed to get through to someone who denies there is even a problem, or that merely 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.

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

In other words, you can utilize tested, researched, and validated persuasive methods that have been demonstrated to actually work. It’s worth a shot, right? And scanning the strategies might enable you to think of additional ideas.

With that in mind, here 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 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 requesting your loved one to get their hearing tested at some point anyway, so why not render the request just 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 small commitments before making the final request. If you start by telling your loved one to get a hearing test, you likely won’t see much success.

Alternatively, 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 disclose that hearing loss is a more prominent issue than they had assumed.

As soon as they confess to a couple of basic facts, it may be easier 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 have a tendency to think in terms of “safety in numbers.” We tend to stick to the crowd, and we assume that if lots of other people are doing something, it must be safe or effective.

How to use it:

There are at least two ways to make use of this method. 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 individuals in the U.S. and across the globe.

The second way to use the strategy is to set up a hearing test for yourself. Inform your loved one that you want to check on the health of your own hearing, but that you would feel better if they went with you and had their own examination.

4. Liking

What it is:

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

How to use it:

Enlist the assistance of people you know your loved one likes or respects. Try to find that one particular 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 tend 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 respected figures use and benefit from hearing aids. You can also share articles from legitimate sources that show the necessity 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 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 immediately, we may lose something permanently.

How to use it:

Recent research has linked hearing loss to a number of serious 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 dealt with, 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 exacerbates the hearing loss, deteriorates 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 impacts you, combined with how it’s affecting your relationship. When you make it about your needs and emotions rather than their own, 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.”

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