We don’t need to tell you the signs and symptoms of hearing loss; you already know them all too well. You have a different type of challenge: persuading someone you care for to get their hearing checked 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 simplistic as just recommending to them that they need their hearing examined. They will not understand the need, and you won’t get very far with threats, ultimatums, or other coercive tactics.

Even though it may seem like an impossible scenario, there are other, more subtle approaches you can use. In fact, you can tap into the massive body of social scientific research that shows 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 chance, right? And scanning the techniques might enable you to think of additional ideas.

With that said, the following 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 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 right after you’ve done something special for them?

2. Commitment and Consistency

What it is:

We all have a strong psychological desire to think and behave consistently.

How to use it:

The trick is to begin with smaller commitments ahead of making the final request. If you begin by ordering your loved one to get a hearing test, you probably won’t see much success.

Rather, ease into the topic by casually sharing an article on hearing loss and how widespread it is. Without mentioning their own personal hearing loss, get them to admit that hearing loss is a more prominent problem than they had believed.

As soon as they concede to a few basic facts, it may be easier to talk about 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 have a habit to think in terms of “safety in numbers.” We have a tendency to conform to the crowd, and we assume that if lots of other people are doing something, it must be safe or beneficial.

How to use it:

There are at a minimum two ways to use 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 around the globe.

The second way to use the technique is to arrange a hearing test for yourself. Explain to your loved one that you want to confirm the well being of your own hearing, but that you would feel better if they went with you and had their own exam.

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. Attempt to find that one particular person whom your loved one always seems to respond to, and have that person talk about and highly recommend a hearing test.

5. Authority

What it is:

We are inclined to listen to and respect the suggestions of those we perceive as authority figures.

How to use it:

Share articles on how celebrities, athletes, and other respected figures wear and benefit from hearing aids. You can also share articles from legitimate sources that summarize the importance 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 generates 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 right away, we may lose something once and for all.

How to use it:

The latest research has connected hearing loss to a number of dangerous conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, memory impairment, and accelerated cognitive decline. Hearing loss also gets worse over time, so the sooner it’s dealt with, the better.

To apply 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 every day spent with untreated hearing loss exacerbates the hearing loss, degrades health, and increases the risk of developing more dangerous conditions.


If all else fails, just give it to them straight. Tell your loved ones how their hearing loss affects you, combined with how it’s affecting your relationship. When you make it about your needs and feelings rather than theirs, the response is usually better.

Have you had success persuading someone to have their hearing tested? Let us know your methods in a comment.

Source

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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