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Best Digital Voice Recorders For The Elderly. Dictaphones for History and Family Memoires

Updated on October 1, 2019

Best Digital Voice Recorders For The Elderly. Dictaphones for History and Family Memoire

I just recorded my family history with my mom telling me how life went for us all from the beginning until now. This is something you need to do right now if you still can. You need to take the time to sit with your family and hear about your heir life, your life and history. This can easily be done with your smartphone and you don’t really need to complicate matters by searching for a digital voice recorder, to be honest with you.

In a hurry, here is the most recommended digital voice recorder for use by an elderly person.

If however, you are not able to be with them at the moment and you want a digital voice recorder that can be used on the regular record pieces of your history and family story, then here below are some of the most recommended DVR is the easiest to use for the elderly. I have taken into consideration the size of the buttons and the ease of the use of menu navigation. 

All you need is something that can easily start and stop or pause the recording and store the recorded audio safely. This is a situation in which we don’t care about mono or stereo microphones. All we need is an input device with the big red button to start pause and to stop recording whenever something comes to mind.

As I said before, any smartphone will do. But we all know that a lot of the elderly don’t want to mess with that complicated technology. This is where a simple digital voice recorder comes in. It can be easily placed somewhere Around the house and can be reached at any point in time when someone wants to speak into it to add a few more sentences or chapters to your history.

Very important factors to consider when buying a digital voice recorder for an elderly person.

Here below are some of the very important things keep in mind whenever you looking to buy a dictaphone for an elderly person. In simple terms, it should be simple (no pun intended) and straightforward to use.

  • Minimal but big and clearly marked buttons. This is the biggest thing to pay attention to. You absolutely do not want the recorder to be full of many tiny buttons on the front. Keep in mind those phones specifically created for the elderly, they come with big clear buttons on the front. While most recorders on the market today are not specifically created like this, you just need to find the closest to this possible.
  • Simplicity and ease of use of the navigation menu. The menu and navigation of the recorder should be easy to use. The user should be able to choose the right settings required and also be able to find recorded files for playback.
  •  Easy connection to a computer. This is an important point. The user of the digital voice recorder should be able to transfer the files from the device to the computer for storage, backup or for further transfer on to a recipient. Most DVRs today have integrated USB plugs that can be simply slid out of the recorder and the device can then be plugged into the computer for file transfer. This will help avoid the problem of “lost cables”, especially with the elderly.
  • The recorder should have hooks for a wristband or a lanyard for the neck. Digital voice recorders are very small devices. In fact, they are tiny compared to most of our smartphones today. For this reason, it is important that the device is securely held on by the user. An attached wristband or neck lanyard will help keep the recorder tied to the user. Even if it were to slip out of the hand during use, it won’t fall down and get broken. this also gives a form of hands-free use. With a lanyard, the device can be worn on the neck even while doing other things. When something comes to mind, the user can just reach out to it when it’s time to record.

Main benefits of using A digital voice recorder for family history record.

The use of paper for recording the story, especially family history memoirs, cannot be overestimated. Technology, however, keeps simplifying all parts of our lives. These reasons make the use of the digital voice recorder beautiful way to store your family history and stories.

A digital voice recorder can simplify the collection of your family history and stories simply because it’s much easier to speak than to write or type. 

Stories dictated into a voice recorder can be transcribed into words at any time needed. It’s also more authentic and real because listeners will be able to hear the voice of the storyteller and the emotions as the story is being recounted. 

Keeping the record of the voice of your dear family member is even more important than a photo. The picture says a thousand words, but a real-life audio recording the voice of the storyteller says so much more. listening to the story being played back will feel like the directories in the room with you. This is a powerful emotion feeling which can be replicated simply by reading the story off of paper or a computer.


What is the best format in which to record your family history using the digital voice recorder?

When it comes to the technical aspect of recording vocal family history, the format in which you record is quite important. It has to be a format that is popular and reproducible in a variety of digital audio players. One of the most popular audio recording formats is MP3. 

While audiophiles and aficionados may scoff at mp3, especially because of its compression of the audio file, it still remains the most reproducible format. Most digital music players are even called “MP3 players” even though most of them can play most other formats.

MP3 files compress the audio into smaller size while keeping most of its properties. For this reason, you can record for much longer using an MP3 format when compared to an uncompressed format like WAV. You won’t need to invest in bigger sd cards for storage or need big sized external hard disks to back up these audio files. As long as the user of the voice recorder keeps transferring the files into a computer for storage, the 2-8GB of internal storage of the voice recorder itself will always be enough.

Smartphones vs dedicated voice recorders for oral family history recording.

Here below are some short and sweet points that differentiate the use of a smartphone vs a dedicated digital voice recorder.

A DVR will be easier and quicker to start recordings compared to a smartphone. The record, pause and stop buttons are always within reach.

A DVR can be used as a dedicated tool for voice capture that won’t be disturbed by incoming calls or other disturbances.

The batteries or a digital voice recorder usually last a very long time compared to a smartphone. I have used my recorder to record a full night of sleep when I was studying the right position to sleep to reduce my snoring. I bearly used up half of the battery life over a period of many days of recording.

A DVRs screen won’t go to sleep like smartphones’ and there won’t be any need to unlock a phone to access the record, pause and stop button.

A DVR is usually much smaller and lighter than a modern smartphone. Most digital voice recorders will be way smaller than a smartphone and are almost weightless. 

When I was considering if I really needed a dedicated voice recorder when I already had a smartphone that could record voice very well, I weighed all of the factors above and came to the conclusion that a dedicated and undisturbed to for this task will be much better than using the Jack of all trades smartphone. That being said, if you currently have a smartphone, you have no excuses to start right now recording your family history with it.

How to provide structure to a digital voice recording of family history when interviewing them

Here are some ideas that will help put you on your way to recording a detailed oral history of your family. If you are interviewing them then you can bring along the following below. If you won’t be present to interview them, you can send what you have over to them for inspiration.

Here are the things you’ll need.

A recording device which could be a smartphone, a digital voice recorder or a computer. Anything with a microphone input. You will need to set it to interview/meeting scene and or hold it close to the speaker especially if they speak with a low voice.

A script of questions to guide you and keep the flow. It’s best to prepare a written guide of questions and other relative information needed to keep the story flowing. This will bring out the most significant details in the story especially at the start. Once the story starts to flow, then it’s up to you if you want to follow the script or not.

Family pictures and other documents. Pictures will help stimulate the mind especially because there is a story behind each picture. You won’t imagine the various tangents you’ll be drawn into by different photos so it’s very important to have some.

Points to note 

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