Monday, December 1, 2008

Finding an MP3 player for the visually impaired - Monday, Dec. 1, 2008

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Monday, Dec. 1, 2008

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Finding an MP3 player for the visually impaired

QMy 88-year-old mother has macular degeneration and very bad vision. She listens to books on tape from the Library for the Blind. The machines are quite cumbersome. So, I would like to buy an MP3 player for her. It needs to be very simple. I was thinking about an MP3 player made for children. Do you know of anything that would work?
—Lori in Universal City, TX, listening on WOAI 1200 AM

AAn MP3 player would seem to be an ideal solution. You can buy digital audiobooks through iTunes and Audible. You can also find free ones online. Additionally, many libraries offer digital audiobooks.

Unfortunately, though, most MP3 players are not designed for the visually impaired. Sure, anyone can listen to an MP3 player. But, navigating through tracks is still largely visual.

There are some mainstream players that might work. Look for ones that don't have a screen. All your mother needs do is memorize the button locations. Then, she can use the player much the same as others would.

Some players to consider are Apple's shuffle and Creative's Zen Stone. The shuffle is available with one or two gigabytes of storage. The prices are $50 and $70, respectively. The Stone is $35 for a 2 GB model. Creative appears to have discontinued the 1 GB version.

Both of these players will accomplish what you want. You will also find off-brand players that might do the trick.

Even though these players will work, I can't wholeheartedly recommend them. That's because the buttons are quite small. The elderly often have trouble with small buttons. So, these players may frustrate your mother.

Your best bet is to buy a player designed specifically for the visually impaired. These can be quite pricey, but they would be ideal for your mother.

Just what is a sightless person to do? Click here and I'll tell you!

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