Hearing Care Specialists - Hopkins, Glencoe, and Watertown, MN

We don’t need to inform you of the 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 screened and treated.

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

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

While it may seem like an impossible scenario, there are other, more discreet approaches you can employ. In fact, you can draw from the sizable body of social scientific research that reveals which methods of persuasion have been determined to be the most consistently successful.

This means, you can employ tested, researched, and validated persuasive methods that have been demonstrated to actually work. It’s worth a shot, right? And examining the strategies might allow 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 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 tested at some point anyway, so why don’t you make the request soon after you’ve done something special for them?

2. Commitment and Consistency

What it is:

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

How to use it:

The key is to start with small commitments before making the final request. If you start off by ordering your loved one to get a hearing test, you in all likelihood won’t see much success.

Instead, ease into the topic by casually sharing an article on hearing loss and how common it is. Without mentioning their own hearing loss, get them to admit that hearing loss is a larger problem than they had thought.

As soon as they confess to a couple of basic facts, it may be less difficult to discuss their own personal hearing loss, and they may be more likely to disclose that they have a problem.

3. Social Proof

What it is:

We are inclined to think in terms of “safety in numbers.” We have a tendency to follow 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 make use of this method. One way is to share articles on the many advantages of using hearing aids and how hearing aids improve the quality of life for millions of individuals 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. Explain to 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’re more inclined to be persuaded by individuals you personally like than by either a stranger or by someone you dislike.

How to use it:

Enlist the help of people 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 him or her talk about and recommend a hearing test.

5. Authority

What it is:

We have the tendency to listen to and have respect for the opinions of those we think of as authority figures.

How to use it:

Share articles on how celebrities, athletes, and other popular figures wear and benefit from hearing aids. You can also share articles from reliable sources that outline the advantages of getting your hearing tested. For 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 perception that, if we don’t act immediately, we may lose something on a permanent basis.

How to use it:

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

To employ 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 exacerbates the hearing loss, weakens 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 impacts you, together with how it’s affecting your relationship. When you make it about your needs and emotions rather than theirs, 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.”

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