This article talks about things you should look for in a device for the elderly to listen to audiobooks and offers suggestions for your purchase. If you are in a hurry, the table below gives a quick snapshot or you can scroll down for detailed reviews.
It is common knowledge that physical exercise is good for your health. With age, the stress of including physical exercise in your daily schedule increases. It helps in lowering the risk for health problems that range from cancer to heart disease.
Just like the body, it is also important to give your mind some exercise to protect your cognitive health. Reading is one such exercise that positively impacts your cognitive health. It can be done through physical books, latest e-readers or through the latest trend of listening to audiobooks.
In this article, we will talk about the benefits of listening to audiobooks and showcase some devices that can make listening to audiobooks quite simple especially for the elderly.
How Is Listening to Audiobooks Beneficial for the Elderly?
Protect your cognitive health: Listening to audiobooks protects your cognitive health. You are learning new things and this increase in knowledge helps in giving your brain the much-needed workout to stay healthy.
Reduce your stress levels: Stress is linked to negative behaviors like overeating, smoking, and excessive drinking. Getting immersed in an audiobook distracts you from these negative activities and also acts as an avenue to forget your troubles for a while.
Improve your memory: Listening to audiobooks require you to focus on the content of the book. This means you will need to remember the details and thereby it contributes to maintaining and improving your memory.
Connect with other older adults: This is also an opportunity for you to find like-minded people who enjoy a good book. You can get involved in discussions around the recent book that you have been listening to get recommendations on your next listen.
Getting Started With Audiobooks
Most audiobooks are available to listen to on your personal devices. You can access them on your smartphone, tablet, desktop or laptop, or smartwatch. How to listen to an audiobook primarily depends on the device that you intend to use for the experience. Both Apple and Android devices provide you access to virtually every audiobook app.
If you are concerned about where to get audiobooks, you have a plethora of options. Most online sellers let you listen to audiobooks on multiple devices. A lot of subscriptions also offer you free trials. This gives you an opportunity to experience audiobooks without paying for the full subscription, thereby helping you decide whether it is worth your time or not.
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What Should I Look For in an Audiobook Player for a Great Experience?
Although the perfect audiobook player will vary from one person to another, there are some common factors that you should consider when looking to buy one.
Most of us like to listen to audiobooks while taking a long walk or driving in the car. The size and weight of the device are thus basic factors to consider. Unless you are using the device at the home, office, or in the classroom, you should ensure that the device that you choose is light in weight and compact in size.
You might not need to watch the screen all the time while listening to audiobooks. However, having a big screen gives you a more user-friendly experience. This is helpful in operating the player and controlling the playback.
However, you should remember that big screens are generally heavier and expensive. Devices with small screens are cheaper and not necessarily low quality.
Large storage space ensures that you do not have to carry heavy books with you when you are on the go. While a standard song can take up several MB of space, an unabridged audiobook can be several hours in length and several GB in capacity.
It is a good idea if your device supports an external SD card so that you can have more audiobooks stored in it.
A good audiobook player would be able to avoid any form of harsh noise or sound effect thereby making listening to audiobooks a better experience.
This becomes important especially for seniors or blind people who have high audio sensitivity.
Audiobook files are longer in duration as compared to Music files. A good battery life thus becomes an essential parameter while searching for your audiobook player. When you are outside, an audiobook player with a high battery life will ensure that you can concentrate on your other tasks instead of worrying about the low battery indicator.
The Bluetooth feature in your audiobook player can enable you to stream the audiobook to other Bluetooth-compatible devices like speakers. A WiFi capability will let you download audiobooks directly to your device without relying on connecting to computers.
File Format Compatibility
Most of the MP3 Audiobook players can support audio formats like MP#, AAC, WMV, etc. However, many audiobook sources like Audible, iTunes, etc. come with their own proprietary formats and DRM protection.
To listen to these audiobooks, you should ensure that your audiobook player should support these formats. In case the player does not support these formats, you can convert the files to the formats supported by the player.
We understand that finding the perfect audiobook device is not an easy task. We have thus highlighted some audiobook playing devices for you highlighting their features and specifications.
5 Best Device for the Elderly to Listen to Audiobooks
#1 HumanWare Victor Reader Stratus12 M Daisy MP3 Player
The Victor Reader Stratus is a simple and easy-to-use player. It comes in a new look enclosure that is lighter and smaller on the outside while being smarter and better sound from the inside.
The model features tactile, large, high-contrast keys with a speaker that is built-in and a headphone jack. This is one of the friendliest audiobook players in the market as it has self-voicing controls.
The model works on a rechargeable battery that can last up to 10 hours in one charge. You can take it out and operate it anywhere at your convenience.
It also features a simple 4-arrow keypad that helps in navigating through books easily. The telephone-style number pad is useful in navigating to specific pages in the books. If you prefer a simple layout, you can hide all but the essential keys using a keypad cover to imitate a cassette player that is traditional.
The Stratus M model supports CDs and additional media sources that include USB flash memory and an SD card. With its built-in text-to-speech capability, one can play computer text documents that are stored on these external media.
In addition to this, the player features a sleep timer, a key describer describing the function of each key, and the ability to increase the playback speed to read more quickly.
- Plays mp3 books and DAISY and also supports SD cards, CDs, and USB Flash Drives
- Built-in text-to-speech function can play computer text documents
- A bit expensive
- You cannot download Kindle ebooks directly on this device
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#2 AGPTEK A02S MP3 Player
The AGPTEK A02S mp3 player has a built-in internal capacity of 16 GB that gives you adequate space to store 4000 songs. In addition to this internal storage, the device supports a Micro SD card capacity of 128 GB.
The player is designed with 5 operating buttons that are very easy to use for seniors. With its suitable size and lightweight, it can be put into the wallet or pocket.
Playing files is very easy on this device. You can just drag and drop the files or folder directly when connected to the computer. The device works perfectly in your car with the usage of an additional male-to-male AUX cable.
With its built-in Lithium-ion polymer 420 mAh battery, the device offers up to 70 hours of playback when charged fully with a full charge time of 1.5 hours. It can also be charged with a computer or a general charger with an output of 5V, 0.5-1.0 A.
It adopts an intelligent digital noise reduction chip that ensures a high sampling rate and offers support for audio formats that include MP3, APE, WAV, FLAC, etc. It does not support Audible and WMA DRM file formats directly.
The device also comes with a key to lock and unlock the screen with independent volume controls.
- Long battery life and a short charging cycle
- Physical buttons are convenient and easy to navigate
- A good purchase for an affordable price. Works for basic requirements
- No direct support for Audible and WMA DRM files but supports audiobooks in mp3 format
#3 Victor Reader Stream (New Generation)
The New Generation Victor Reader Stream is compact in design and lightweight and is far more than just an audio player. It is 28% smaller as compared to its predecessor. The new design is sleeker, thinner and features rounded shapes, which makes it more easy and comfortable to hold.
The new Stream comes with an improved recording, better text-to-speech features, and a louder speaker,. It is one of the easiest to use hand-held players in the market that offers a robust, high-contrast and tactile keypad complemented with the Victor Reader bookshelf navigation which is popular.
The Victor Reader Stream supports up to 32 GB of removable SD Card storage along with external USB flash drives. You can read books from DAISY libraries and also enjoy music from iTunes. You can also play text documents with built-in text-to-speech features from Acapela.
The device is exceptionally user-friendly. It offers self-voicing controls that allow you to read at your own pace by controlling the playback speed. The sleep key stops the playback if you fall asleep.
The Where am I key announces the reading position such as the respective page, chapter, or song title. The key described says the functions of each key.
You can use the built-in mono microphone or your own stereo microphone for recording voice notes, to-do lists, or from a line-in device.
- User-friendly features like a built-in speaker, self-voicing control and sleep key
- Read books from DAISY libraries including NLS, Learning Ally, Bookshare
- Built-in text-to-speech function can play text documents
- Does not work with Bluetooth speakers
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#4 SanDisk Clip Jam MP3 Player
The SanDisk Clip Jam MP3 Player is lightweight and portable with wearable storage options of 8 GB and 16 GB that allow you to store 2000 and 4000 audiobooks respectively. The wearable storage allows you to clip it on and carry your audiobook collection anywhere.
In case you are in requirement of more storage, you can make use of the built-in microSD card slot to add more storage.
The device allows you to enjoy audio from almost any source as it is compatible with many popular audio formats. This includes MP3, WMA (no DRM), WAV, AAC and Audible (DRM only).
The SanDisk Clip Jam Player provides rich sound quality that allows you to increase the volume without having to constantly look at recharging your player. The battery lasts up to a duration of 18 hours on a single charge.
The player comes with a very comfortable set of earphones and a built-in FM tuner. It has a bright white OLED display screen with large buttons meant for easy navigation.
- Easy to use with bright and clear display
- Supports Audible audiobooks
- SD card extension allows for additional storage
- Lack of Bluetooth and Wifi connectivity
- No bookmarking feature
#5 Creative Zen MP3 Player
The credit card-sized Zen MP3 player features a 2.5-inch TFT colour display with 320×240 pixel resolution. The device weighs just 2.1 ounces with an internal battery that can power up the player for up to 25 hours of continuous audio playback.
It has a handle built-in microphone for capturing notes. The internal storage is 32 GB with an SD slot to expand your storage for audiobooks. It supports iTunes Plus tracks, AAC, WAV, MP3 and WMA file formats along with audiobooks from Audible, Overdrive, etc.
The best feature of this device is bookmarking, which makes it very convenient to enjoy listening to audiobooks. However, the device does not support WIFi or Bluetooth
- Good battery life of up to 25 hours
- Easy to carry and lightweight
- Memory can be expanded with an SD card
- Audiobook bookmarking supported
- Lack of Bluetooth and Wifi connectivity
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People like listening to audiobooks for different reasons. Some prefer the ease of multitasking that it offers. People can enjoy doing other things like exercising or cooking while listening to their favourite audiobook. Others may prefer them solely because they can listen with their headphone at any location, within the comfort of their home or while taking a walk in the park.