Audiobook Players for Seniors (Enjoy Great Stories Again!)

scott grant ATP

Certified Assistive Technology Professional
Medical Equipment Guru
Mobility Specialist
Senior Advocate

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Books are a huge part of our lives. We use them for entertainment and knowledge they provide us and often take for granted everything they give us. But some people are not able to read conventional books like they used to. Audiobooks are voice recordings of books you can listen on an mp3 player, tablet, cell phone or computer. But what is the best device for audio books for seniors?

Many elderly people develop problems with eye-sight or arthritis for example, which impairs them from reading among other things. Audiobook players are very handy for these people. However, there are many players for elderly that meet their specific needs.

Devices can be difficult to master for some seniors who are not accustomed to using modern gadgets. Either the screen is too small, the buttons are too close together or it’s easy to accidentally touch something and mess up the playback. So, the most important thing for seniors is that the player is easy to use.

I am going to recommend a few audiobook players for seniors which can meet almost everyone’s specific needs. Because there is no reason not to enjoy a great book!

Quick Picks: Top AudioBooks for Seniors

In a hurry? Here are my top recommendations for seniors who want to start enoying audiobooks. Keep on scrolling to read reviews of each model.

Images, Ratings, & Prices from Amazon Product Advertising API - Updated on 2019-04-22 at 18:57 - contains affiliate links (see footer).

  1. Victor Reader Stream

Victor Reader Stream (New Generation)

The first player on my list is specially designed for visually impaired people. It is able to play DAISY books, mp3, mp4, epub and many other formats. This great player has two built-in human sounding voices which can provide a nice text-to-speech experience. You can listen to audiobooks on the player’s speaker or you can connect headphones to it.

It also supports wireless networking, so you can stream your entertainment directly from the web. There are many audio books, magazines, radio stations, and audio described films available. An additional benefit is a sound recorder, so you can record voice and media with a built-in microphone. The buttons on the device are physical and easily palpable.

Customers are very satisfied with this device. They say that the player is loud enough and the large database of media to choose from is great. The text-to-speech function works very well. On the other hand, it takes some time and practice to be able to use this audio player properly.

What I like:

  • Designed specifically for visually impaired people
  • It is small but with good battery life
  • Plenty of options to listen to, both audiobooks and other audible media

Possible downside:

  • Some people have complained it’s too difficult to learn to use, since it can be hard for elderly to use the menu on the player

Buy at Amazon

  1. Amazon Fire HD 8

Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa, 8' HD Display, 32 GB, Black - with Special Offers (Previous Generation...

The next item is a tablet, which many people think are the best device for reproducing audiobooks. It is a great device which can provide all-around entertainment for seniors, not just as an audiobook player. The reason I chose Amazon’s tablet is that it comes with pre-installed Audible app so it’s very easy to navigate and find your favorite books.

It comes with a strong battery which lasts for 12 hours, a nice 8-inch display and Dolby Audio speakers which sound great and are very handy if you or your loved one don’t like to wear headphones while listening to media. This one comes with 16 or 32Gb storage which is plenty, and can be expanded.

Possibly the best thing this tablet has to offer to seniors are accessibility features. It has a personal assistant, Alexa, which enables you to do almost everything hands-free. It is now easy for elderly to navigate through menus and find what they need without accidentally clicking on things. This tablet also has an award-winning text-to-speech voice.

Customers who use this tablet claim it is a fantastic product which provides everything that was promised. For your money, you get a reliable device which looks great, has a decent screen and good speakers, everything for $80.

What I like:

  • Alexa is amazing and can make your experience fantastic
  • Battery life is very good
  • Sound is understandable and great for listening to audiobooks

Possible downsides:

  • Some people have pointed out that it isn’t great for multitasking, which shouldn’t be a problem for most seniors

Buy at Amazon

  1. Apple iPad

Apple iPad with WiFi, 32GB, Space Gray (2017 Model)

An alternative tablet option, the Apple iPad is a great device with many different accessibility features. It’s an overall quality device which can serve as a great audiobook player. It has a large 9.7-inch screen and a battery that lasts for 10 hours of active use.

A feature I find especially interesting is VoiceOver, which can really make a difference in senior’s experience while using this device. This function reads to you what’s underneath your finger, so you can navigate through menus more easily. Like other Apple devices, it has a virtual assistant named Siri, which you can control with your voice to help you find what you want as well as play or stop your audiobooks.

Customers are very satisfied with this tablet, and they claim it’s an amazing device for multimedia purposes. The sound output is very loud so you don’t have to use headphones. It is also noted that it has great value for money compared to other Apple tablets.

What I like:

  • Easy to use and navigate
  • It’s lightweight
  • Great screen and sound

Possible downside:

  • If you want to use it as an audio player only, it is a bit pricey

Buy at Amazon


AGPTEK MP3 Player A20BS (Black)

This is a classic mp3 player I chose for its simplicity. If you don’t want all the functions previous devices offer, this might be a good choice for you. It is small and affordable. The player has physical buttons which may come in handy to some users. It has a key to lock and unlock screen and independent volume control.

The battery is great, it is able to play back for up to 70 hours, and needs just 3-4 hours until fully charged. This player supports many audio formats, so you don’t have to worry if it will play your audiobooks. It also supports lossless sound quality for the best possible experience. It has a large 16GB memory which can be expanded, and earphones are included in your purchase.

People are very satisfied with this device since it does what it’s supposed to. It’s a versatile player which is very easy to use. You simply load audiobook files into it using your computer and you’re ready to go. The sound quality it produces is very good so you can understand the book narrator very clear.

What I like:

  • Extremely long battery life
  • Interface and buttons easy to use
  • Audiobook and FM support is great

Possible downsides:

  • Earbuds are uncomfortable for long periods of use
  • Doesn’t connect online like others from this list

Buy at Amazon

How Can Seniors Benefit from Audio Books?

pair of black headphones laying on a white deskAudiobooks are a wonderful way to keep the elderly mind busy and in shape. They are engaging, and elderly can listen to their favorite books again or learn new things that interest them. Audiobooks are especially good for people with impaired sight since they can enjoy great stories again. They are also beneficial for people who suffer from arthritis and can no longer hold a book in their hands.

Another positive aspect of audiobooks is fighting loneliness. Many seniors tend to get lonely, especially if they are living by themselves. Combined with difficulties mentioned before, things can quickly get depressing. Here audiobooks can make a huge impact because a comforting voice reading a great story is just a few clicks away.

At last, the general benefits of audiobooks now benefit seniors too. You can listen while taking a walk, doing things around the house or other activities. It is much easier if you just absorb the material that is delivered to you. You can get exposed to new topics, learn new things or just make your imagination more vivid.

Audio Book Apps

In addition to everything mentioned, there are apps available for both Android and iOS that make audio books more enjoyable for seniors. Homer Player for Android is an audiobook player designed with elderly people in mind. It has a simple interface (just a list with a start button), you can flip the device to stop and the reproduction speed can be adjusted. The BookPlayer for iOS is also highly recommended, reliable and simple audiobook player for seniors to use.

Features to Consider When Shopping for an Audio Book Player

Not all elderly are the same, and some may have more specific needs than others. That being said, audio playing devices should have a simple user interface. It is important for elderly to be able to navigate and use the audio player easily. It is also good if they are lightweight and volume is easily adjusted.

Depending on their preference, seniors can get devices with large screens so they can identify the track being played more easily. If you choose a tablet, for example, make sure you install an app that is easy to use and can’t be disrupted with imprecise gestures. On the other hand, some seniors have suggested that tablet screens can be too sensitive and that they prefer smaller players which have physical buttons.

Where Can You Get Audio Books for Your New Device?

portrait of senior man in headphones listening to music and showing his thumb up while standing against grey backgroundThere are many ways of acquiring audio books, but the most common one is through digital music stores. They can be paid for and downloaded the same way as other files. Many websites and apps provide these services, and you can even get a certain number of audio books free of charge.

Audible is possibly the most famous source to get audio books online. When you register you get one month of free access and then you pay a monthly subscription of $14.95  for access to a huge amount of book titles in every genre. They also offer some audio books for free, so you can search for those too. You can listen to them on your Amazon Fire tablet or simply download the app on your iOS or Android.

Another interesting option is OverDrive. This is a free service provided by your library for which you just need your ID-card. They make it possible to borrow audiobooks the same way you would a regular book, anyplace and anytime. They have apps which are compatible with iOS, Android, Windows and Kindle. So, give it a try.

The free sources I mentioned are Open Culture, Project Gutenberg, and LibriVox. They offer a large number of great audiobooks completely free of charge. Most of the audiobooks they offer are classics, because the copyright for those has expired. They make everything possible with help of thousands of volunteers.

Bonus: Recommended Audio Books for Seniors

As a bonus, I am going to recommend a few audiobook novels which Goodread users marked as interesting to seniors. All three suggestions are available on Audible.

A Man Called Ove (Fredrik Backman)  – A feel-good story about a cranky old man, whose life takes a turn when a new family moves in next door. After a few events, it is revealed that his grumpiness is a mask for sadness, and this heartwarming story shows us how friendships can be formed where least expected.

Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen)  – A thrilling story told by Jacob Jankowski, who recalls his youth when he entered a second-grade circus during the depression era. When he was nearly graduated as a veterinarian he became orphaned and penniless and entered a strange and exciting world. This is a story about life and love in a very dangerous time and place.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand (Helen Simonson)  – The story details the life of Major Ernest Pettigrew, a 68-year-old widower living in a village located in England. The Major leads a quiet life valuing honor, duty and a properly brewed cup of tea. An unexpected friendship sparks with a woman with whom he finds many things in common. But different problems arise since he lives in a small community and is expected to behave a certain way.

Summary and Final Recommendations

I am sure you will be able to find the best audiobook player for you or a person you care about, so you can step into an exciting new world audio books offer. This is an amazing field which can really enrich your life. Happy listening!

Do you have another audiobook player you recommend? Or other tips for enjoying audiobooks? Please share your thought in the comments below!

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