How to Persuade Someone to Get a Hearing Test

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

But exactly how are you expected 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 straight forward as just telling them that they need their hearing tested. They will not understand the need, and you won’t get very far with threats, ultimatums, or other coercive techniques.

Even though it may seem like an impossible situation, there are other, more discreet strategies you can employ. In fact, you can draw from the enormous body of social scientific research that teaches which techniques of persuasion have been found to be the most consistently successful.

This means, you can use tested, researched, and validated persuasive methods that have been demonstrated to actually work. It’s worth an attempt, right? And exploring the strategies might help you to think of additional ideas.

With that in mind, 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 straight forward: 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 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 behave consistently.

How to use it:

The key is to start with small commitments ahead of making the final request. If you start off by telling your loved one to get a hearing test, you almost certainly won’t see much success.

Alternatively, ease into the subject by casually sharing an article on hearing loss and how common it is. Without pointing out their own personal hearing loss, get them to confess that hearing loss is a larger problem than they had believed.

As soon as they confess to a couple of basic facts, it may be easier to discuss 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 habit to think in terms of “safety in numbers.” We tend to conform to the crowd, and we assume that if plenty of other people are doing something, it must be trusted or beneficial.

How to use it:

There are at least two ways to use this strategy. 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 globally.

The second way to use the technique is to set up a hearing test for yourself. Explain to your loved one that you want to confirm 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:

Solicit the help of people you know your loved one likes or respects. Attempt to find that one particular person whom your loved one always seems to respond to, and have him or her discuss and highly recommend a hearing test.

5. Authority

What it is:

We tend to listen to and respect the opinions of those we perceive as authority figures.

How to use it:

Share articles on how celebrities, professional athletes, and other prominent figures use and benefit from hearing aids. You can also share articles from legitimate 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 quickly, we may lose something permanently.

How to use it:

Recent research has linked hearing loss to several serious conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, memory impairment, and accelerated cognitive decline. Hearing loss also gets worse over time, so the earlier it’s dealt with, the better.

To utilize 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, weakens 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, in conjunction 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.”

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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