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How to listen

You don’t need any new equipment to enjoy your playlist. We encourage you to use whatever works best for you: CDs, cassettes and record players all work well if this is what you normally use to listen to music.

If you don’t have any equipment to hand, simply singing together – in person or over the phone – can be a lovely way to connect through music. It’s also worth noting that the way someone listens to their playlist might change throughout their dementia journey, so don’t be afraid to try out new ways of listening and see how your loved one reacts. 

The short video below will give you some ideas on how to listen to your playlist.

Headphones or speakers?

Use whatever is best for you – and remember you may want different things on different days.

Speakers are simple, and make it easy for everyone to listen together. Headphones can be good if you want to listen in a crowded space or block out background noise. This can be helpful if your dementia is making it hard to distinguish between sounds.

Headphone top tips:

  • Padded, wipeable, over-ear headphones are more comfortable than the little ‘buds’ that go inside your ear.
  • Look for lightness and flexibility in the joint between the earpiece and the headband, and how much padding there is.
  • A ‘splitter cable’ allows you to listen with other people. This lets you plug in two (or more) sets of headphones to your device at once. 

Making your playlist portable

If you’d like to take your playlist on the go with you, why not try a portable music player, such as an MP3 player? This is a small music player that can be carried around, allowing you to have a playlist of personally meaningful music with you at all times without having to connect to the internet.

Check out our top tips and recommendations for MP3 players for people living with dementia here.

Streaming vs. Downloading

Music accessed through the internet can be a good option if you would like access to millions of tunes or if you want to make your playlist portable.

Downloading
If you don’t have regular access to the internet, then downloading music is probably the best option for you. This is when you buy individual songs from an online music store and then save them on to your device.

Streaming
If you have internet at home and would like to access a huge library of music, then streaming may be suitable for you. Streaming means that you pay a monthly subscription (usually around £10/month) for unlimited access to music.