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The Best MP3 Players for Seniors and the Elderly: (Simple, Easy to Use With Large Buttons)

Summary (TL;DR):

Seniors enjoy music as much as the rest of us but small buttons and difficult to use players may keep them from it. The best MP3 players for seniors have big tactile buttons, large clear screens, and headphones that are bright and clear.

Here are my Top Picks:

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It just makes sense!

For many elderly people, listening to music triggers happy memories. And, these memories, lead to a stress-free and relaxed mind. Seniors who live alone or are unable to move about their homes due to limited mobility or vision, often turn to music as a source of entertainment.

Some seniors like listening to their favorite radio shows. Others prefer to listen to music. MP3 players are especially good for this because they do not have to worry about bad signals or the station not playing their favorite songs. So, here are a few of the best MP3 players for the elderly and seniors.


Video Guide: MP3 Players for Seniors

Video created using InVideo video creator.

Reviews

Looking for more details? Here are my reviews for each device and the reasons I recommend them for seniors.

Features

  • NEXT GEN WALKMAN: Simple & hassle-free MP3 player features next generation audio processing technology for hi-res lossless stereo music playback
  • DIGITAL AUDIO POWER: 2’’ HD true-color digital LCD display screen features a user-friendly control interface and simple button controls for on-the-go MP3 audio ease
  • PORTABLE PRO SOUND: Compact pocket-sized MP3 music player with built-in long lasting rechargeable battery for 30+ hours of play time - charges via included USB cable
  • COMPUTER CONTROL: Works with PC & Mac - Connects to your computer to manage your music files and create audio playlists quickly accessible on your digital MP3 player
  • MUSIC PLAYER SUPPORT: Versatile audio music file playback compatibility for high resolution digital sound formats including MP3, WMA, WAV, FLAC, APE, ACC, OGG, AIFF, DSD

The PYLE PDAP18BK.5 is a digital audio player that seniors will love because it has a retro look and feel, even being marketed as a ‘next generation walkman’. This is a hassle-free and large button MP3 player with easy to use buttons that will give tactile feedback. Many elderly people vastly prefer this to ‘touch sensitive’ devices with a smooth surface.

I also like that this player has a little more “heft” to it. It doesn’t feel delicate like many MP3 players I have reviewed. It is a bit thicker and you are really able to feel it in your hands. This is important for seniors with arthritis or poor dexterity in their fingers and hands.

The LCD color screen is crystal clear, but at just 2in diagonally some users may feel that this is a little small. The good news is that it is easy to learn how to use the device, so you don’t have to pay too much attention to the screen once you are used to it.

You can charge the player via USB or the included wall charger, and the battery should last for about 30 hours of playback. Loading songs is simple, and songs are sorted by artist or by album.

Most popular audio formats are supported, and the player can even be used as an external drive for some other systems. It supports wired headphones only, not Bluetooth ones, however the lack of Bluetooth support is likely a non-issue for most users. Wireless headphones add extra hassle, meaning more devices to lose, and more things to have to charge.


Features

  • Clip-on Design: perfect for exercise / gym use, stick it with you anywhere for all kinds of outdoor sports. Come with a sweatproof silicone case.
  • One Click to Shuffle: The player designed with FM / Music switch slider and repeat / shuffle mode switch slider. Intuitive and simple to operate.
  • Features: 8GB internal memory capacity, support music formats: MP3 WMA and WAV; support FM Radio, FM Frequency Range: 87MHz-108MHz
  • Battery Life: Built-in 160mAh rechargeable battery, 10 hours of audio playback at medium volume for about 2.5 hours of full charge (Shortened when listening to FM radio).
  • Mini and Compact: Weighs only 0.49 oz. Size: 1.97 x 1.43 x 0.61 inches. There is no earphones in the package.

The AGPTEK G02 is a compact MP3 player that supports MP3 WAV and WMA formats, has 8 GB storage, an FM feature and a battery that supports more than 10 hours of playback.

Here is a list of some of the unique features that make this MP3 a perfect fit for senior and elderly users.

For starters, the AGPTEK G02 MP3 player comes with a large control surface that’s made possible by the device’s wider and thicker build. This makes volume control and track selection much easier. This is great for users who have larger fingers. Skipping tracks and controlling the volume is much easier even when the device is clipped on.

Since the MP3 player features LED Backlight, all the controls are easier to see in all light conditions. Users suffering from eyesight problems can use the MP3 player with ease and convenience.

The AGPTEK G02 MP3 player produces great sound quality with regular running headphones so that users can enjoy their music using their favorite brand.

Overall, the AGPTEK G02 8GB Clip MP3 Player is easy and simple to use. It features a number of simple controls including volume up and down as well as track skipping. Adding tracks to the player from a computer is a simple drag and drop process.


Features

  • Delivers in-depth detailed high resolution audio: Equipped with renowned Texas Instruments PCM5102 DAC for distortion-free hi-fi music; supports all popular audio formats, including FLAC, WAV, WMA, ALAC, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, AIFF, APE, DFF,Native DSD64(2.8MHz) DSD 128(5.6 MHz), etc.
  • High-quality Hardware Equipment: 2 inch high definition display screen offers clear and vivid image; CNC aluminum alloy body provides a smooth and comfortable hand feel; Distinctive scroll control wheel enables fluent and agile operation.
  • Bi-directional Bluetooth 4.0 transmission: Either work as a signal transmitter to play music wirelessly (via Bluetooth headphone, speaker, etc) or as an amp to listen music wirelessly(from smart phone, etc). Features good fault tolerance and fast transferring speed without delay.
  • Stores up to 14999 songs: Micro SD card slot supports memory card up to 256GB and the system can handle up to 14999 songs. Plus provided OTG port can achieve larger storage expansion via USB-OTG cable(not included). With the lineout port, able to connect with car stereo or home audio via Auxiliary Audio cable(not included).
  • Long playback time: In medium volume, supports 22-24h music playback time via headphones and 8-10h music playback time via Bluetooth after fully charged for 3.5-4h. Please note the player do not have internal storage.

Music can be therapeutic for anyone. This is especially true for an elderly person. If you are looking for a good music player that can offer a lot to a senior, the AGPTEK H3 HiFi Bluetooth MP3 might be the best bet.

One of the main things that you want to find is a large screen. This particular MP3 player comes with a plentiful 2-inch high-definition screen which makes it easy to read the artist and song title.

The equipment itself is also near perfect. Not only does it have a durable build quality which makes it strong enough to withstand occasional drops from a loss of dexterity. It also features a distinctive scroll wheel for controls which makes it extremely tactile and easy to control even for those that might have trouble seeing clearly.

The actual system is extremely easy to use with physical buttons for everything that you could possibly want. You can pause, play, go back, go forward, or even repeat songs with a single physical button press. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about touchscreen sensitivity issues or having an awkward user-interface to interfere with the user. But, the buttons are the same color as the background which is a bit harder to see.

All in all, this is a very value oriented MP3 player available at an affordable price point with exceptional sound quality due to the inclusion of a Texas Instruments DAC. It makes for an even better option for an elderly person given its tactile feedback and large screen display.


Features

  • Bluetooth 4.2: With bluetooth mp3 player, you could keep away from cables, which reduce the delay but speed up the transmission wirelessly, it could reduce the power consumption, you could also fast donwload the data from Android mobile via OTG without trouble.(Note:This device can only pair with Bluetooth headphones or speakers, cannot pair with phones or computers.
  • Sensitive Touch Button: High sensitive touch button, with fashion blue backlight for night, make it easy to operate quitely in every place. Unprecedented 2.4 inch large screen, easy to operate, gives you a good visual feast.
  • Hi-Fi Lossless Sound: Providing Hi-fi class sound that is close to the original, support most audio formats, perfect sound makes it an essential device for enthusiastic listeners and make your work and life more enjoyable.
  • Fashionable Design: Scratch-proof shell and smooth screen provides you comfortable hand-feel, and metal case has strong resistance to pressure and impact, touch button makes it easy to operate the player, you could enjoy music at anytime and anywhere.
  • Multi-function: Support music playback(WMA, OGG, APE, FLAC, WAV format playback), video playback(AMV, AVI, requires conversion tool to convert), record, FM radio, picture browsing(JPEG, BMP format), E-book, folder, alarm clock, stopwatch and so on.

The MYMAHDI MP3 Player is a 16GB lossless digital audio player with Bluetooth support, which can accept an additional 128GB memory card to allow for additional storage.

This player is perfect for budget-conscious seniors who are looking for a high-quality player with a built-in radio. It is slim and compact, and all of the key controls are at your fingertips, so you can start, stop, skip and rewind songs with ease. The clear screen lets you browse your music library easily too.

I chose this one for seniors who are familiar with MP3 players and want a more cool looking design. The screen is larger (taller) than most of the others. The button print is small but easy to see because of the contrast of black print on white buttons. But, this isn’t the best MP3 player for every senior.

The player can be used with most file formats, including OGG and FLAC for those who are true audiophiles and can also play back some videos, as well as open ebooks. The 2.4-inch screen is clear and the menu options are easy to read, however, seniors may find that the screen feels a little small when it comes to extended viewing such as watching a video.

The battery life is quite impressive, with up to 60 hours of playback time for audio files if you use headphones. The blue backlight allows people to operate the device at night, and the built-in radio will appeal to those who still have a favorite FM station that they enjoy listening to.


Features

  • ♪ BLUETOOTH 4.0: Enjoy wireless music without delay. Support listening radio via Bluetooth, background music playback, music fast forward/backward, playing from playlist. Support connection to Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth speaker II audio, JBL speaker/headphone and car audio (compatible with cars of 0000 PIN code --not with random PIN).
  • ♪ 16GB AND MORE: 16 GB intrenal capacity and expandable up to 128GB Micro SD Card( not included), which allows you enjoying music up to 4000. There is no limit to the number of songs if you read through the folder.
  • ♪ BORN FOR SPORTS: Small size and super lightweight with wearable clip. Coming with armband,special design for sport and music lovers.
  • ♪ LOSSLESS STEREO SOUND: Audio format supported MP3/ WMA/ APE / FLAC / WAV/ /DRM / ACELP. Support FM Radio, voice/FM recording, shuffle, folder view.Take your ears to travel with real lossless sound ! Not support Audible directly .
  • ♪ LONG BATTERY LIFE & FAST CHARGE: Only need to charge for 1.5 hours, up to 30 hours of playback time with wired earphone, 10H for FM radio, about 6 hours in bluetooth mode.

This 16GB lossless sound digital audio player from AGPTEK is ideal for discerning senior citizens who want a durable MP3 player at an affordable price point. The player can be worn in an armband while doing sports, or attached to clothing with a robust clip.

The overall size of the player is small. This is a good thing for seniors who are active and want a smaller player. But, it can be hard to hold onto if there is any arthritis or hand weakness.

The buttons are flat with no tactile feedback but the arrows on them are easy to see. The play button is recessed and easy to find though. The screen is about 2″ high and is clear and easy to see too.

It comes with 16GB built-in storage and a memory card slot which can accept up to 128GB memory cards. The player can be used with wired or Bluetooth headphones, and the clear, intuitive buttons on the front make it ideal for elderly users who do not want to have to navigate complex menus to control their audio experience.

With up to 30 hours of playback time on a single charge and a charging time of just 1.5 hours, this really is a ‘grab and go’ player. Just load up your favorite music and enjoy.

The player can support MP3, FLAX and other common audio formats, however, it does not support AAC (iTunes) or Audible files directly. Those who are tech-savvy can work around this, however it could be a point of confusion for those who are not experienced with the different types of DRM and different audio library managers that are on the market today.


Features

  • Affordable, water-resistant1 MP3 player
  • Bluetooth wireless technology lets you go wireless for even more freedom in your workout
  • Lightweight and durable, clips to your clothes or gear
  • 16GB* capacity stores up to 4000 songs
  • Built-in FM radio3

This no-frills digital audio player is aimed at runners and other athletes, but it is a great choice for seniors too. It is easy to use with a clear screen and simple controls on the face of the device. It has a clip that you can use to attach it to your belt, which means that it won’t fall out of your pocket when you’re on the go.

The buttons are well-contrasted and easy to see. But, they use symbols instead of words. So, the user must be familiar with the arrow meanings to use it properly. Actual words like “play” or “stop” is a better choice for users with dementia or those not tech-friendly.

The player has built-in FM radio, and supports Bluetooth headphones too. If there’s any downside, it’s that it has only 16GB of storage space. That’s enough for 4,000 songs at 128kbps, however many people down use FLAC files or much higher bitrate MP3s.

The player has a 20-hour battery life, making it ideal for long journeys. It is compatible with most modern computers, including Windows PCs, Linux and Mac OS. Managing your audio library is easy, and making playlists is easy too.

One of the best things about this device is that it is water resistant, and quite rugged. This means that it’s a nice choice for an older person who likes gardening or other outdoor pursuits, since it will be able to handle ‘light abuse’, such as being dropped, or getting wet during inclement weather.


Features

  • Easy handling with "Plug and Play"; Can also be used as a Micro SD Card reader or for file storage; User-friendly 1.7''LCD screen and built in high speed Mini USB 2.0 cables.
  • Compact and portable; Slim, lightweight, portable MP3 player MP4 player with 3.5mm Audio Jack port. Various Play Modes: Normal, Repeat Once, Repeat All, Random.One full charge can support about 3-4 hours.
  • Economical MP3/MP4 player with fashion and delicate design.; Simple files management, simply copy and paste the files from computer and you are ready for the MP3 player.
  • Built in Audio,flash memory disk,E-book support TXT format/ photo view / Play music with MP3/FLAC formats/ video with AMV format (not support MP4 format)/ games function nature, speakers, rock, pop, classic, live, jazz and bass.
  • Large Memory: a 16 GB Micro TF memory card is included. (Supports up to 64 GB TF / Micro SD Card for Maximum). Support music playing, video playing, E-book reading, and more. The version of this product is RH-305

The RHDTShop MP3 player is an easy-to-use MP3 player that is compact and lightweight. It is ideal for elderly music lovers who want a reliable and quality MP3 player, but who don’t want to spend a fortune.

The buttons are an ok size and have a tactile feel to them. The print on the buttons is easier to read on the colored models – the buttons are white with black print. The screen size is 1.7″ which is one of the smaller sizes I reviewed.

This MP3 player has internal storage of 16GB, and users can expand that by adding a TF card to enjoy up to an additional 32GB. This MP3 player also doubles as an FM radio and a voice recorder, so it’s ideal for senior citizens who want to record their shopping lists or ‘to-do’ lists on the go.

Another useful thing about this player is that it has support for variable speed playback. That can be handy for those who want to listen to learning materials or learn a foreign language.

The player is slim and light, however the battery life is just 3-4 hours, which is less than many other models available at this price point. The size and convenience, and the support for multiple file formats, may be enough to make the player appealing in spite of the shorter battery life, especially for those who only wish to use the player for short journeys or while they are out for a walk at the park.


Buying Guide: Important Features for Seniors

Most seniors should look out for easy to use MP3 players that have a large display screen. This allows them to read the name of the song that is currently played. Look for a large button MP3 player with buttons and controls that are easy to see and easy to understand. However, those with Alzheimer’s or dementia need an simple music player with very simple controls. And, the fewer of them the better.

Big, Easy to Read Buttons

For many seniors to use a player properly, a large button MP3 player that is easy to read is usually the best choice. What makes buttons easy to read? Two things: size of the print and color of the print. The font should be as large as possible. But, also look at the contract. The color of the print on the buttons should stand out from the color of the button itself.

Another consideration is how the buttons are labeled. If the user has some dementia or isn’t tech-friendly, choose buttons that have actual words on them like “play” or “stop”. This group may not understand the meanings of forward and reverse arrows.

Tactile feedback is important for buttons too. What do I mean by this? Many seniors will prefer a button that they can feel a “crunch” or “click” when they press it. This lets them know they selected the function they wanted. Touch screens and many other electronic devices today have flat buttons that give you no feedback you actually pressed the buttons. Look for an MP3 player that has this.

RELATED GUIDE: Lightweight Headphones for the Elderly

Large, Bright, and Clear Screen

Most of the screens on today’s music players are the LCD type which are nice and bright. Brighter screens are easier to read because they offer better contrast. Look for bold, basic fonts or icons too.

Screen size is important although limited by the sizeof these devices. Most of them have 2″ screens which are adequate unless there are severe vision deficits. Look for an HD screen which is going to provide more clarity on these smaller screens.

RELATED GUIDE: Best TV Headphones for Seniors & Elderly

Sometimes Thicker, Chunkier MP3 Players Are Best

Electronic devices are shrinking. They are getting more powerful and smaller too. Many people appreciate this.

But, seniors and the elderly who have arthritic or weakening hands will have trouble holding onto a thin, tiny MP3 player. But, there are still some larger options out there.

The thickness of the player is important for these folks. If the player is thicker, their hands wrap around them easier which means they are more secure and less likely to drop.

Another advantage of larger players is that the screens and buttons are often larger too!

Of course, more active seniors will prefer a smaller player they can clip onto their clothing for exercise. Consider the activity level and medical condition of the user.

Easy to Use and Understand Menus and Functions

Consider the technology experience of the user. Some devices have complicated, nested menus the user has to negotiate to get to their favorite song. Others use scroll wheels to quickly select a song. The more simple music players for elderly people allow the user to scroll through songs with buttons.

For more elderly seniors, avoid players that have too many options like videos, alarms, calendars, etc. Stick to a more basic simple MP3 player.


Why are MP3 Players a Good Idea for Seniors?

old style ipod mp3 player from apple

MP3 players, also known as a Digital Audio Players, are more versatile and functional than the portable CD player or the Tape Walkman. One reason for this is that most are quite easy to use. You connect the player to your computer and then upload the songs (or your favorite audiobooks or podcasts) in MP3 format from your computer to the player. Usually, this step is done for the senior by another family member.

However, not all devices offer the same functionality. Different models offer different features depending on the brand and the cost of the player. Some only play music and nothing else. Others play MP3 songs plus FM Radio while others even play video files. The device you choose usually depends on your budget and what features are important to you.


Wrapping Up

With the right MP3 player, your loved ones can enjoy hours of great music and happy memories. You or another family member can load any of these machines with the user’s favorites. Then, take a few minutes to show them how to play the music. They will like controlling their own music. You’ll enjoy knowing they are happy.

If you are a senior, how do you enjoy listening to your favorite music? Do you have a particular model you recommend? Tell me about your experiences with MP3 players in the comments below:

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About Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

Assistive Technology Professional, Custom Wheelchair Specialist, Medical Equipment Guru, Dad and Grandfather | I am a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not working as a custom wheelchair specialist at a regional home medical equipment company, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's.

9 thoughts on “The Best MP3 Players for Seniors and the Elderly: (Simple, Easy to Use With Large Buttons)”

  1. One thing to mention on top of the above advice would be the headphones. Those provided with the players are usually in-ear, while many seniors wear hearing aids/devices which makes it impossible to use in-ear headphones/earphones and points towards over-ear types.

    Reply
    • Hello Romek – excellent point that I didn’t cover adequately in this article. The type of headphones and earphones are very important. I’ll put that on my research list and report back once I have found some good recommendations. Thanks for pointing out this oversight.

      Reply
  2. Scott, another point: When reviewing mp3 players, consider that a senior might use the device to listen to audio books. (I do). Some MP3 players are not compatible with Audible audio books.

    Reply
    • Hey Linda – this comment is timely because I have a post in mind about using Audible for people who have low vision. I haven’t sat down to do the research yet. Feel free to share any thoughts you have about this here on the comments or contact me privately. I do appreciate your comments of Graying With Grace!

      Reply
  3. Scott,
    I suppose you have to review what is available and there is very little available for this purpose. Your first pick hits the mark for listening to music, but is not good for someone who wants a portable device and it is not good for an audiobook because you cannot go backwards. All your other picks are totally unsuitable for seniors. Most seniors do not want an FM radio or voice recorder. Having these functions just provides the opportunity to get into the wrong function. What seniors need is a player that does nothing but play MP3 files, has very few buttons that are in different places and have different shapes. The player needs a display and a way to navigate to albums, chapters, books, etc. This gets complicated, but most seniors have someone who can read the display and do the navigation for them. The navigation menu should require a key combination to get into so the user does not stumble into it by mistake. I guess there is just not enough demand to build the perfect player, which is too bad.

    Reply
    • Hi Jim – Thanks for your comments. I agree with some of what you are saying and disagree with some of it. First, the intention of this article was to highlight MP3 players that are simple for seniors and the elderly to use. I chose units with large bright displays that are easier to see, larger buttons that are clearly labeled, and as few functions as possible. So, I disagree that these are “totally unsuitable.” I chose the best of what I had to choose from. You are correct about some features not being needed. But in this digital age, manufacturers are always looking to add features to distinguish their products from the competition. You are correct that these choices are not the best for an audiobook – you need a more advanced display for that. (I have put this subject on my research list to see what I can find.) Unfortunately, the market for these products are the younger generations so the needs of seniors aren’t a major consideration. So, I tried to find the best mp3 players for seniors among my limited choices. If you find a better option out there, you are welcome to share it here anytime. Thanks again for taking the time to reach out and express your opinion. Comments like these only make my site better and more helpful.

      Reply
  4. Hi, My dad recently had a stroke and loss his vision. What he is saying would be most helpful is a player that has very tactile buttons, whether they be raised rubber buttons or a very raised plastic push-down button. For someone that is visually impaired, it’s much easier to learn how to use something that is very tactile instead of minimal-looking. Would be great if you ran into any models like this!

    Reply

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