Are you having problems picking out a radio for someone with a visual impairment? Are you unsure about what factors are to be considered, the features you need to look out for safety and how you can ensure the said individual gets the most satisfaction from using the radio? We have all these and more in this product review. We have considered customer reviews, product information, and varying individual preferences to arrive at the best radios for the visually impaired.
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Considerations for choosing radios for the visually impaired
Choosing a radio for individuals with visual disabilities is never easy, as they are, in many cases, unable to accurately describe what they would want in a radio. The onus is on you to carefully choose a device that offers aesthetics, durability and just the right amount of functionality. In an industry with many manufacturers and radio models to choose from, it becomes even more difficult to make that choice. To aid that choice, we have listed the following factors for your consideration. They are:
The size of the products is one factor you can not overlook. You want the radio to be small enough to be nimble and easy to carry around and big enough that it houses all the right features and functions. The goal here is to find the sweet spot so the user can enjoy both benefits unless the user clearly indicates the size and weight preference. If the individual wants a loud radio, one with long battery life, then you have to consider a significantly larger radio so it can house all the required features.
The style talks about the radio design, build quality, construction, arrangement of the radio components, the overall outlook and feel of the radio. Different people are used to different radio shapes and styles and have different expectations of how and what they want the radio to feel to the touch. Some people prefer dials and knobs, while others prefer the radio with easy-to-use buttons. So when choosing, you need to consider the user’s preference for how the radio should look, act and behave when used.
Ease of Use
It is advantageous when the radio bought is easy to use. The buttons, dials and knobs must be relatively larger, easily accessible, give some mechanical and audio feedback when tuned. Suppose the radio is being bought for a radio enthusiast. In that case, it will come in handy if the radio features some functions that would make it an overall enjoyable experience. Some of these features include but are not limited to the following, a sleep timer, an LCD display, an alarm timer, station presets and the ability to auto scan stations.
Many times the radio is only as good as the power source and how much battery life it offers to the user. For the user to get the most out of the device, there should be no need to constantly worry about swapping batteries or looking for an AC outlet to plug in the radio. It is important that the device offer the user multiple power sources, which are usually the AAA or AA batteries, C batteries or rechargeable battery packs. The higher-end radios with energy-consuming features like the LCD display also offer the user battery saving function. That means you get more out of every charge and an overall better user experience.
It should be no surprise that these radios might occasionally fall off the table or come in contact with dust or water. This is why it is Germaine that these radios are of durable construction and can withstand shock. Most radios offer the user protection against shock, dust and water, which translates to being able to use the radio for longer and get the most value for money spent.
People want to be able to listen to their favorite radio stations without having to adjust and readjust the radio antenna. It is pivotal that your choice radio has good reception and allows the user to access many radio stations with little to no tuning.
Popular opinion is that you have to spend a lot of money to get a worthwhile radio, and also this is true many times; there are still many radio models that offer functionality similar to the higher end radios while only costing you a fraction. On this list, we have radios from both ends of the spectrum to ensure that you would get just the right radio regardless of your budget.
15 Best Radios for the Visually Impaired
1. LoopTone Retro Radio
The Looptone retro radio is one of those devices with technologically advanced features. Still, it has a retro vibe to it, from the color to the knobs and the dials. It gives you the traditional feel. This manufacturer built it to show users that they can enjoy a vintage device with futuristic features and can be used by the visually impaired.
- The knobs are easy to navigate for elders.
- It has Bluetooth to pair with third-party music players.
- It is a small and very portable radio.
- Its sound performance is below par; users have complained of humming sounds.
2. Sangean PR-D17
The Sangean radio comes with helpful audio prompts that help the visually impaired adjust to using the radio. The device comes with large yellow controls and preset keys for easy ad swift identification.
It comes with an alarm timer and buzzer, and easy to read backlit LCD screen, and the audio prompt can speak either English or Spanish.
- Reliable reception
- Quality stereo audio performance
- Variety of connectivity options for third party audio devices
- It is very portable
- The voice is prerecorded and preset and cannot do any extra.
- The batteries are sold separately.
3. Retekess TR604
The Retekess TR604 is easy to carry portable radio. It is everything you would expect when you think of buying a traditional radio. It is battery-powered but also comes with a long power cord for uses that want to use it at home.
- Great Sound Quality
- Easy to use and navigate
- Comes with earphone jack
- Great reception and also has an inbuilt 24-inch antenna.
- It is very portable and easily transportable.
- Large easy to read control knobs
- You would need to buy extra batteries.
- It doesn’t come with dial lights for night use.
4. One Button Radio
This Radio was built to help the disadvantaged, people with dementia, Alzheimer’s, poor dexterity or visual impairment. It has a retro old school vibe, and it is uniquely designed to be controlled by one button. It was built to be really large and noticeable so that it would be hard to misplace or forget.
- It is easy to use and navigate, especially by elderlies.
- It is tamper-resistant
- It allows you to switch from radio to USB without hassle.
- It is expensive
- It is very basic and doesn’t have a lot of features.
5. SMPL One-Touch Music & Radio Center
This wooden made retro radio device comes with 10 programmable stations, and a USB stick of 8GB with 75 throwbacks hit songs, and you can also add songs of your own. The product engages the mind. It is simple to navigate with just one touch large power button, and a large switch to change from radio to recorded music.
- Live Customer Technical Support
- Quality Speaker audio quality
- 8GB rewriteable USB stick
- Portable and easy to navigate
- It does not have a variety of features
6. PRUNUS L-238
This PRUNUS radio device was built to let its user enjoy listening to the radio the good old fashion way without the complication of all the new technological features. The pocket-sized device is the perfect radio for a person to use on the move as it can be charged with any power source as long as it’s USB supported.
- Big-sized, easy to operate buttons
- Automatic scanning that helps you to get every available station
- Uses the Aux-in and other mp3 related features
- Quality Audio sound output
- Variety of connectivity options
- The battery life is not very impressive.
7. HDi Portable Radio
The HDi radio is a portable radio with earphone jacks. It has easy to read and easy to navigate dials. It offers great reception with its telescoping FM antenna. The radio device can either be charged or battery powered. The manufacturer went for the old school look with its aesthetic design; it also has a light indicator for when the reception is good and when it is not.
- Quality and Premium built-in speakers
- A Portable radio device
- Can be used for both outdoor and indoor use
- The batteries have to be bought separately.
8. Studebaker SB2000TG
The big-sized analog knobs on this portable allow you to adjust to switching between channels easily. The classic retro radio comes with an aux-in port that lets you connect to your iPod, smartphone or any third-party audio devices. This radio device doubles as an independent speaker and as an AM/FM portable radio.
- Very portable and durable
- It comes in 6 different colors to fit your fashion style.
- Comes with a telescopic antenna for quality reception
- Foldable handle making it easy to move around.
- The batteries are sold differently.
- There’s usually a hassle picking up stations around.
9. SEMIER AM FM Portable Radio
The Semier portable radio comes with a telescopic antenna that gives it impeccable radio reception. It is very portable and easy to move around if you’re the type of user that is on the go. The radio device comes with simple controls, easy to read dials and an earphone jack for people who love to listen to music privately.
- Analogue Tuner with big and clear dials that are easy to read
- It is easy to navigate and understand, especially by seniors.
- Telescopic Antenna for good reception and clear sound
- Poor sound quality
10. Sangean Tabletop Radio
The Sangean WR-15WL elegance is enough to catch your attention at first glance. It is a very simple tabletop with two rotary knobs, one of the knobs doubles as both the power knob and volume knob, while the other helps to switch from AM, FM to AUX. The aux-in is compatible with iPods, iPhones, and other third-party audio devices.
- A led indicator that helps you know when you are getting good radio reception
- AUX-IN dock and cable that also doubles as an earphone jack
- Easy to read dials
- It is very expensive compared to similar products.
11. Greadio Vintage Radio
This vintage design radio device has installed one of the latest sound technologies that give it’s audio a surround feel; it is small and very portable but surprisingly loud for its size. It is the perfect device to use if you want to have a cool, calm and warm moment with your family, whether indoors or outdoors.
- Quality Sound System
- Aesthetically pleasing design
- It is considerably small and portable.
- Unique vintage design
- Seamless connectivity with your mobile device
- Latest Sound technology
- Its battery life is not completely reliable compared to other similar products.
12. Panasonic RF-2400D
If you are looking to get yourself a traditional old school radio, then the Panasonic RF-2400D is the right buy for you. You get a size ‘4’ speaker, earphone jack to give you the preferred quality music experience. It also has a 10-centimeter speaker and ferrite antenna for good reception and to avoid static noise.
- Quality Audio Output
- Analog FM/AM tuner
- 10-centimeter antenna for quality radio reception
- Easy to navigate and easy to read dials
- Long-lasting and very durable.
- Batteries and AC cord would have to be bought differently
- Unreliable battery life
- Limited connectivity options
13. Rolton W405
This portable radio set comes with a USB port, compact stereo. It can also be used as a travel speaker, which easily connects with your smartphone and any other third-party music device. It comes with a child-lock feature that makes it safer for your child to play with. Built-In Amplifier for quality sound output and a flashlight that will come in handy when there is an emergency.
- This radio for the visually impaired has large, easy to read buttons.
- LED display
- Small and portable and easy to move around
- Upgradeable firmware
- Bad radio reception
- The battery type is scarce to replace
14. Sangean PR-D18RD
This very compact radio device comes with 10 stations presets, easy to read LCD display and a functioning alarm and clock feature. This device has a Humane Wake System that gradually increases the alarm buzzer’s volume and intensity so that the user does not wake up abruptly.
- Very Durable
- Very Portable and can be easily moved around.
- Can serve both indoor and outdoor purposes
- It has an adjustable tunning step.
- LCD display with backlight
- Long-lasting battery life
- Quality sound output
- It is expensive compared to similar products.
- Too complicated for seniors
- Unreliable radio reception
15. Victrola Radio
The Victrola tabletop radio is made from real wood with beautiful metal faceplates. This retro-looking stereo system is Bluetooth enabled and can play up to about 33 feet away. It has a backlit analog tuner and 3 large control knobs. It has an aux-In jack that is compatible with laptops, smartphones, tablets and any other mp3 player.
- It is aesthetically pleasing.
- It is very portable
- It is very affordable.
- Quality audio output
- Telescopic antenna for good radio reception
- This radio for the visually impaired does not have rechargeable batteries.
- The control dials are not legible enough.
Overall Best Buy
If you are or you have someone with a visual impairment, the radios on this list would makes for a good user experience. These radios would help alleviate their visual problems when using these intelligently crafted radios. Of all the radios on the list, one stands out as the easiest to use, the simplest and most straightforward design and that is the One button radio.
This radio was designed to help people with visual problems, poor dexterity and memory loss. The radio has been designed to be controlled with only one button, the radio is able to achieve this feat because the caretaker would have preset the radio to the preferred broadcasting options, and set the volume. This allows the user to use that one button to power on or off the radio, and tune in and out of stations.
Best Budget Buy
coming in at under $25, the PRUNUS L-238 radio is without doubt the top pick when you consider your budget and functionality. The radio has a simple design that allows everyone use it without a hassle. It also features large buttons so anyone can transverse the interface without much help. The radio can store up to 297 radio stations, and the portable design means it can be packed to be used on the go.
It’s USB charging capability means it can be charged using power banks, and this means the radio can be used anywhere and by anyone. So if you have your eyes on your pocket and also want a quality radio, look no further than this intelligent radio.
What is the difference between DAB and FM radio?
If you are looking to buy a new radio, the chances are that you would have been confronted with the age-old DAB or FM radio question. Aside from the fact that the FM radio system is much older than the newer DAB radio system, there are other important differences to note. We have listed the important dissimilarities below:
Mode of transmission
In traditional radios, there are two ways of adding a program. The first involves altering the wave size, also known as the amplitude. The other involves altering the frequency of the carrier waves. The first method is known as Amplitude Modulation (AM), and the other is known as Frequency Modulation (FM). AM radio stations transmit AM signals, and FM radio stations transmit FM signals. Analogues radios (like the traditional radios you are used to) can pick up these signal types.
Digital radios for the visually impaired, on the other hand, processes information into binary (ones and zeros), sends it to your receiver, which then decodes the data to replay the pleasing music to your ears.
Digital Audio Broadcasting solves one major problem that comes with using FM radio. Different FM radio stations in the same area usually see their waves crashing into each other, causing frequency distortion, which ultimately leads to distorted sounds.
DAB radios, on the other hand, encodes the signals into binary, allowing only the receiver to decode the transmission. This operating system means more radio stations can operate in the same area without interfering with each other’s signals or distorting the sound.
One advantage that comes with using FM radios as regards the quality of sound produced is that tweaking the antenna can provide for better reception, and this means better sound quality.
The FM coverage far outnumbers the DAB mainly because these stations have been around for much longer, but at the pace with which DAB radios are developing, they are very likely to outnumber traditional analog transmissions.
Where to buy radios for the Visually impaired
Choosing what radio to buy is many times as difficult as getting where to buy it. And for this, you have two options, the physical store or the online store, with either option having its upside and downsides.
If you decide to go with the online store, you would have the device sent to your delivery address. If you have any issue with the product or the service, you can always contact customer service. In times like this, when it is important to limit your physical interactions, online stores might be the best choice. The only downside that comes with using online stores is that you would not be getting your product delivered on the same day.
On the other hand, in physical stores, you would walk in, pick out your product off the shelves, and go home with it as soon as paid for. The problem with this option is that the products available on sale are limited compared to the online platforms. The chances are that you would not find the product of your choice and end up settling for the next best thing.