Audio Books for Vision Impaired Seniors: Free Library Service

audio books for vision impaired

Seniors with low vision or disabilities can still enjoy reading

Many older adults still enjoy reading even though their eyesight may have declined with age, they become blind, or they develop a physical disability.

If that happens, traditional books won’t work anymore. And it’s no fun if they’re forced to rely on someone to read to them. Audiobooks or braille books allow these seniors to continue reading independently.

It’s a great activity because reading engages and stimulates the brain. That reduces the risk of cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.


Free service sends audiobooks and braille books to the house

We found a service that sends audiobooks and braille books straight to the home. The National Library Service (NLS) is a free braille and talking book library service for people with vision impairments or physical disabilities that prevent them from holding traditional books.

The free service works through local libraries that mail the NLS talking or braille books and magazines. They also provide the easy-to-use playback equipment designed for people with low/no vision. (yes, all FREE!)

The NLS offers:

  • Braille or audio book formats
  • Free mailing to your door or instant downloads
  • A wide variety of the most current reading material, including best sellers, biographies, fictional works, how-to books, magazines, and music scores
  • Mobile app for download and playback anywhere


Who is eligible for NLS books

Who’s eligible (summarized, full details here):

  • Blind persons with 20/200 vision or less in the better eye with correcting lenses
  • Persons whose visual disability with correction is certified to prevent reading of standard printed material
  • Persons certified as unable to read or use standard printed material due to physical limitations

Who can certify eligibility (summarized, full details here):

  • Doctors of medicine or osteopathy
  • Ophthalmologists or optometrists
  • Registered nurses
  • Therapists
  • Social workers
  • Professional librarians (in some cases)


How to sign up for NLS books

To apply for NLS, fill in a brief online form and a local NLS representative will contact you. Seniors can apply on their own or you can apply on their behalf.

If you’d prefer to speak to a local librarian, call 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323) toll free. Your call will be connected to a participating library near you.


Bottom line

The National Library Service provides an excellent free service that allows vision impaired or physically disabled older adults to continue reading independently.


Next Step  Apply online or find out more about the National Library Service


By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: Salford Community Libraries


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