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Music is an integral part of our lives – this applies to the elderly too! While many seniors may enjoy using a senior-friendly radio, others prefer to listen to music that they choose themselves.
Many seniors prefer to play their music on basic CD players that don’t require the complications entailed with streaming services.
The best CD players for an elderly user will have large buttons, with big and bold print. They should also have basic controls like play, rewind, stop, and fast forward (but few other options to keep things simple). The digital screen should be large enough to display large and bold fonts—having a backlight is a nice bonus too!
CD players with built-in speakers (which may be better described as “boom boxes”) are among the most suitable choices for the elderly, as many dislike putting earplugs in and usually like music playing in the background.
If you can find a senior-friendly CD player that integrates radio or alarm features, even better!
Why Seniors Will Appreciate a Compact CD Player
Music has proven to be a reliable aid for memory and cognition issues in the elderly. A song from early childhood can generate moments of lucidity even for seniors with dementia, with many elderly individuals recalling moments from the time and place where they used to hear the familiar tunes.
Despite the inherent value of music for seniors, it’s not always easy for them to access their beloved songs. Most seniors find it more convenient to use a CD player than use modern music streaming services like Spotify, which can be complicated for an elderly senior not accustomed to digital technology.
Many seniors are also likely to have amassed a CD collection of their favorite music over the years they want to continue playing.
Elderly sufferers from Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Low vision, Parkinson’s, or visual impairment can greatly benefit from a compact CD player to bring a burst of memory and joy into their lives.
Five Major Benefits of Music for Seniors
Memory Support Through Music & Lyrics
Melody and lyrics can be recalled by elderly seniors long after faces, names, or dates are forgotten. Music uses both hemispheres of the brain and is stored and processed in varying locations within the mind, making it more accessible even for those with memory impairment.
Allows for Emotional Expression
When verbal communication can prove to become difficult in later life, music allows impaired elderly individuals to to communicate non-verbally. Tapping, clapping, rocking – any such responsive behavior is an opportunity for communication.
Triggers Specific Memories
Music often accompanies the most emotional and memorable moments of our lives. From an individual’s first date, first dance, and first kiss—music can trigger powerful memories for seniors with dementia and help them recall their past.
Although every kind of music is powerful, studies have revealed a senior’s favorite style of music is the most effective for generating a sense of calm and sparking joy. If a caregiver can play music that matches a senior’s personal taste, the listener is more likely to benefit.
Channels Social and Emotional Needs
Music has been an aspect of human civilization almost from the beginning. Our deeply-seated need for connection, comfort, inclusion, and attachment can be easily met with personalized music. This is particularly relevant in these times of shielding and self-isolating due to Covid.
What to Look For in a CD Player for a Senior
The best CD players for the elderly are designed to be simple and uncomplicated. It’s always preferable to buy a music player that has large or well illuminated individual buttons for every operation. In addition, seek out buttons with lettering and labeling that is easy for seniors to read.
You’ll also want to avoid CD players with a plethora of unnecessary selection options and extra buttons. Simplicity is always best for seniors.
Large, Easy-Press Buttons
CD players with large, easy-to-press buttons are ideal for elderly fingers that offer suffer from arthritis. Tactile buttons that produce some slight feedback when pressed will ensure that the user has a sense of confirmation when they perform an operation.
Large, Clear Print Lettering
Many seniors suffer from sight issues, so CD players with big and bold letters on the screen, as well as the buttons, will make them easy to read.
Other Considerations for Senior-Friendly CD Players
In addition to the features mentioned above, the best CD players for elderly music lovers should also excel in the following areas:
Lightweight CD players offer the benefit of portability. Taking your CD player with you from the living room to the kitchen is often more preferable to turning it to full volume to hear it around the house. Portable CD players can also accompany a senior on a pleasant walk through the neighborhood.
ot all CD players include a decent pair of headphones in the packaging, so be sure to consider what kind of headphones will work best for an elderly user.
Look closely at the quality of headphones. Do they need to be hearing aid compatible? In most cases, older adults prefer over-the-ear headphones to earbuds. Noise-cancelling headphones can be pricier but provide the best sound quality.
Quoting the famous line from the Queen song – “Radio, someone still loves you.” Radio is still the preferred music option for many elderly users. A familiar DJ’s voice can provide jokes, gossip, popular genre-specific music, and company. Therefore, it’s worth looking for in-built AM/FM capability when choosing a good senior-friendly CD player.
Best CD Players for Elderly Reviewed
1. Magnavox MD6924 Portable Top-Loading CD Boombox
Considering the price, this feature-loaded portable CD Boombox is justifiably our top pick of best CD players for the elderly. Although it doesn’t come with a rechargeable battery pack, it can be plugged into a wall socket or powered by 6-cell batteries.
The built-in AM/FM stereo radio and the compatibility with CD-R and CD-RW make it versatile, able to play a senior’s favorite radio stations as well as burned CDs. It also supports AUX input which allows it to connect to a pair of headphones when required.
Some customers complain about the speaker quality, but this is the best you can get at this price point. Plus, an elderlysenior’s ear doesn’t detect the nuances of sound like a youngster’s ear, so there’s likely no need for pristine clarity. The sturdy handle and light-weight design allows for easy movement from room to room, should the user wish to move the CD player around.
This CD player also has just six simple buttons, which can be pressed down, providing feedback sensation for the user that’s easier for a senior to use compared to a touchscreen.
The illuminated LED screen in the middle keeps track of the song number, staying clearly visible for seniors.
- Dimensions: 8 x 8.52 x 4.6 inches.
- Weight: 2.79 pounds.
- Batteries: C batteries required.
- Good value for money
- Built-in stereo radio.
- Compatible with CD-R and CD-RW.
- AUX input for headphone attachment when desired
- Speaker quality could be better
2. NAXA Electronics NPB-251BK Portable CD Player
This CD player has a look that comes straight out of the 1990s and boasts a built-in AM/FM radio. It’s portable and offers a sleek black-and-white design that looks great.
The LED digital screen makes it easy to identify what number track is playing, and users praise how the white control buttons contrast against the black background, making them clear to see. Plus, the player has only six of these buttons, with a raised press design that provides tactile feedback. While the “repeat” and “program” buttons may be unnecessary, the core “fast forward”, “rewind”, and “play/pause” buttons are all on one side of the device, allowing a senior to largely ignore the non-essential extras.
The soft-open CD compartment is at the top while two speakers, one on each side, are sufficient enough to fill the room with music. This CD player also comes with a built-in AM/FM stereo radio.
While it’s not the most significant feature, it’s convenient that this CD player has a built-in-handle.
A few users complained that this CD player would sometimes overheat and not turn back on until it cooled down However, this wasn’t the case for all users.
- Dimensions: 9.03 x 8.11 x 5.39 inches.
- Weight: 2.5 pounds.
- Batteries: Dual-power option with the support of a DC battery or AC power
- Dual-power options (AC power or C-batteries)
- Large tactile buttons.
- Retro design
- Built-in handle for portability
- Some reported overheating issues
3. MONODEAL Rechargeable Personal Compact Disc CD Player
The MONODEAL rechargeable personal compact disc CD player has a dark, sleek design with an XL backlit LCD screen and illuminated buttons. It boasts advanced anti-skip and anti-shock technology to avoid songs skipping while the user is on the move.
The top-rated features of this CD player are its unique ability to favorite certain songs and only play those songs you like, while skipping others. You can also rearrange the song tracks in a different order. With last memory function, the player will resume where you stopped, which can be convenient. You can turn On/OFF the resume function manually by long press the PROG Button .
It comes with five sound modes for enhanced listening (although the effects of these settings are debatable), and it supports most formats like CDs, CD-R, HDCDs, and MP3 CDs.
The five playback modes allow for a lot of customization. The users can play the CD in order, repeat one track, shuffle the song list, repeat all the tracks, or play the first 10 seconds per track.
However, this compact CD player’s most significant disadvantage is that it doesn’t come with in-built speakers. While some of the more unique options to favorite certain songs and skip others are interesting, they may be needlessly complicated for some seniors and could often go unused.
With all these extra features packed in, this portable CD player is quite expensive, but we still think it’s worth consideration.
- Dimensions: 5.6 x 5.6 x 0.75 inches.
- Weight: 8 ounces.
- Batteries: 1 Lithium-ion battery.
- Multiple playback modes
- Backlit LCD screen
- Backlit buttons
- Doesn’t have in-built speakers
- Most beloved features may be too complicated and unnecessary for seniors
- Buttons are not raised so are slightly less tactile than others
4. HOTT CD511 Portable CD Player
HOTT portable CD player boasts shockproof protection and exceptional sound output, making it a fan favorite for many users.
Aesthetics are subjective, and while this CD player’s design is on the sober side, the buttons are quite large and tactile.
Moreover, the LCD screen is large and comes with backlight support to make it readable in the dark.
Control buttons are embossed with the usual standard icons, which are clear to see.
The player comes with five playback modes, including Shuffle, Repeat, and Repeat All. It also has five sound modes, including Pop, Jazz, Rock and Classical. This makes the CD player ideal for seniors who might need enhanced sound.
However, the headphones provided are earbud-style. Considering the product reviews, most older users didn’t like them. So, we recommend you purchase an additional pair of senior-friendly earphones.
- Dimensions: 6.81 x 6.73 x 1.77 inches.
- 14.9 ounces.
- Batteries: 2 x AA Batteries.
- Large LCD screen with backlight
- Multiple play modes and sound modes
- Battery only
- Comes with poor pair of headphones
5. GPX, Inc. Portable Top-Loading CD Boombox—Best Raised Buttons
Many users agree that the GPX Portable CD Boombox is among the best portable CD players for the elderly as it has large, easy-to-see tactile buttons and comes with 40-second anti-skip protection.
The CD player’s LCD screen shows volume level, battery status, and the currently playing song. For those wanting to play music from external devices such as an mp3 player or phone, the device has a 3.5mm line-in socket that allows for other devices to play music through this unit’s speakers.
It also has AM\FM radio.
This senior-friendly CD player has an AC power cable provided, or you can use 6 x C batteries to power it up.
Note: The Amazon page shows two different images for the one product in black and a different image for the product in red and black. This review is for the primary black model shown.
- Dimensions: 8.03 x 9.29 x 4.17 inches.
- Weight: 2.51 pounds.
- Batteries: 6 x C batteries required.
- Value for money
- Large LCD
- Anti-skip protection
- Not rechargeable
- Slightly disappointing sound quality
Best CDs for Seniors
This 50s Jukebox Hits package contains three CDs that pack in all the rock ’n’ roll hits and ballads from the big music names of the 1950s.
A superb compilation of 60s hits includes Motown hits from The Supremes and The Four Tops, along with pop classics from The Turtles, The Monkees, The 5th Dimension, and many other number one artists from the 60s. This CD from UTV RECORDS comprises a total of 26 songs. Most of the reviews indicate that customers were delighted to buy this disc.
This three-disc collection of discs brings back memories of the era’s great number one hit songs that influenced the shape of popular music. Each CD is packed with 25 great songs.
CD Player Alternatives for Seniors
With the increased popularity of the internet and smartphones, music streaming services have mostly replaced the conventional way of listening to music via CD.
Music streaming services are popular among millennials and Gen Z, but most older seniors are unlikely to be comfortable with streaming.
Seniors usually don’t want to be forced to adapt in new ways of accessing music, as the user interfaces are unfamiliar and often complicated. Also, seniors don’t tend to consider smartphones or tablets as devices for listening to music as, over time, they have acquired a library of their favorite songs on CDs.
CDs may have already replaced vinyl and cassette collections of their past, so paying for the music yet again is not something worth considering in their minds.
However, if it’s something that seniors are open to, there are a few music streaming apps that you might want to consider before you make your move to buy a CD player.
- Apple Music
- Youtube Music (Google)
Pros of Music Streaming Apps
- Can access anytime via the internet or cellular data connection.
- Does not require additional hardware other than a smartphone.
- No need to buy individual records.
- Updated with latest tracks.
- No storage or space concerns
Cons Music Streaming Apps
- Requires learning a new technology.
- The user interfaces are geared to young listeners.
- May not have all their favorite tracks from the 50s or 60s.
One easy way to make streaming services more accessible to seniors is to sign up for a Spotify family plan, that will allow a caregiver to help create and save a playlist for a senior, made up of their favorite songs.
Then, once a senior has an Alexa device or similar smart-device, the senior can simply say a simple command such as “Alexa, play my retro hits playlist on Spotify” to get the music flowing!
It can definitely be a bit of a hassle to get an elderly individual set up with a streaming service, but if a caregiver or family member who is already familiar with the service is open to doing some initial set-up and writing down or recording some basic usage tutorials for the senior, it can be a viable option.
Another alternative for CD players is the radio. AM/FM radio used to be a trend up until a decade ago. With the internet revolution, radio lost its lead, and some believe analog radio will completely disappear before too long, although governments keep delaying this.
However, nowadays, people have started using DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) radios to listen to music and to stay tuned to local and international news while they’re on the go.
DAB radio players are less costly than they used to be, and the choice of genre-specific stations is massive, but you still have to listen to the music playlist and scheduled programs the radio stations provide.
- Easy to switch on and listen to
- Has multiple already-scheduled programs
- Lots of genre-dedicated stations
- The music isn’t personalized
Among all the alternatives we’ve discussed before, a record player is the nearest alternative to a CD player and is likely the music player seniors are most familiar with.
Most seniors are comfortable using the classic retro vinyl record player since they are well-accustomed to using one from their youth. It’s fun to use a nostalgic, familiar device. And in fact, vinyl record players have made quite a comeback in recent years with younger generations.
Although record players and vinyl albums today can be expensive compared to compact CD players and CDs, many from the baby boomer generation still have a vinyl collection stored away in the attic, making a record player a suitable CD player alternative.
There’s a lot to consider before buying a CD player for an elderly user. Any senior-friendly compact CD player should be easy-to-use with clear control buttons and display. The ability to read several types of CD media is helpful, and an included radio can be crucial for those who will use it.
On these small devices, some users complain about the speaker quality. But, at these reasonable price points, these devices are likely the best you’ll find while still staying simple enough for seniors.
And also, the more senior ear is not as critical as a younger one.
The Magnavox MD6924 Portable Top Loading CD Boombox is our top pick as the best CD player for the elderly. Our runner-up is the NAXA Electronics NPB-251BK Portable CD Player with its LED digital display and soft-open CD caddy.
We chose these CD players as a top picks by factoring in the price, features, useability, quality, and durability, along with careful attention to user ratings and reviews.
Have you ever used a CD player as a senior, or do you have an elderly loved one who uses a CD player? What features do you consider essential? Let us know in the comments!
Last update on 2021-04-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API