How to Persuade Someone to Get a Hearing Test

Contra Costa Hearing Blog

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

But how are you supposed 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 won’t see the need, and you won’t get very far with threats, ultimatums, or other coercive methods.

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

This means, you can use tested, researched, and proven persuasive strategies that have been established to actually work. It’s worth a shot, right? And browsing the techniques might enable you to think of additional ideas.

With that in mind, 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 concept of reciprocity is very 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 examined at some point anyway, so why not make the request 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 act consistently.

How to use it:

The key is to start with small commitments in advance of making the final request. If you begin 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 hearing loss, get them to confess that hearing loss is a much bigger issue than they had thought.

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

3. Social Proof

What it is:

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

How to use it:

There are at least two ways to utilize this strategy. One way is to share articles on the many advantages of using hearing aids and how hearing aids heighten the quality of life for millions of individuals in the U.S. and across the world.

The second way to use the strategy is to arrange a hearing test for yourself. Reveal to 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 liable 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 those you know your loved one likes or respects. Attempt to find that one 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 feedback of those we think of as authority figures.

How to use it:

Share articles on how celebrities, professional athletes, and other distinguished figures use and benefit from hearing aids. You can also share articles from trustworthy sources that summarize the importance 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 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 promptly, we may lose something forever.

How to use it:

Recent research has coupled hearing loss to several serious conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, memory impairment, and rapid cognitive decline. Hearing loss also gets worse as time goes by, so the sooner it’s corrected, the better.

To utilize 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 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. Explain to your loved ones how their hearing loss affects you, in conjunction with how it’s affecting your relationship. When you make it about your needs and feelings rather than their own, the response 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. Schedule an appointment to see if hearing aids could benefit you.