What did I Learn After Speed Listening for 3 Years?

Sometime in 2019, I decided to dismount my pedestal and give audiobooks a try. To be frank, it was one of the best decisions in my life and I have not looked back since. Do not get me wrong, I still love reading and I do both every now and then, with a preference to read more than I listen. However, in these last 3 years, I have been able to improve my listening speed, which helped me consume a lot of audiobooks, podcasts and YouTube videos along the way. Here are some of the things I learned after three years of speed listening!

➕ More Consumption

It is no doubt that the faster you listen, the more you consume. Most audiobooks are almost 10 hours. I listen at 2x speed most of the time. So, I can finish the book in 5 hours, within 2 to 3 days. It means that I can finish around 2 books a week. This helps me cover more content and read a plethora of books throughout the year. While many may argue with me regarding quality versus quantity, I’d say that balancing both is the key to success! Yes, the quality matters. But, we are living in an age of information overload. There is an endless stream of content for us to consume. Some of them are good and some of them are bad. Faster consumption accounts for more quality content!

🎧 Greater Cumulative Outcome

The faster we listen to an audiobook, the more we consume content. Inspiration strikes when there’s fodder.

In this case, content = fodder

Therefore, for the creative juices to start flowing, you need to seek inspiration. More consumption leads to more experimentation, so you will have enough fodder for your art!

⌛ Reduction of the Time Cost

As stated earlier, the obvious advantage is the reduction of the time cost. In the last 3 years, I have been able to listen to a lot of books and that has increased my appetite for ‘reading’ books! My TBR list is slowly but steadily coming under control and I have been able to ‘read’ more!

Are There Any Drawbacks to Speed Listening?

Like everything else, speed listening can pose certain cons. Some of them are listed below:

❌ Missing Something

Speed listening is no child’s play. We are conditioned to consider active reading as more effective than listening. Therefore, we focus more on reading during our growing years than listening. As a result, our listening capabilities are not as evolved as our reading ones. Therefore, when we start speed listening, we tend to miss bits and pieces. Some of us can also have problems with our attention span. It might drift while listening to an audiobook or podcast. It happens to the best of us. And a little bit of practice can beat this in no time!

🙁 Less Enjoyable for Amateurs

Speed listening from start is never a good solution. Our comprehension level takes time to build and that is why it is better to start slow. Building muscle memory is the key. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Humans have been reading for only about 4,000 years. However, we have been listening for 150,000 years. Evolution doesn’t move that quickly. Therefore, nobody expects you to start listening to 2x speed at first. It requires time and practice.

How to Develop Your Listening Speed?

🆕 Start First

Starting is the hardest part. And, if you do, you are halfway there. If you are a newbie, it is better to start at 0.5x to 1x speed. Most audiobooks are slow at that pace. It might be a different story for podcasts, as it happens to be a record of real-time conversation. However, in general, starting slow is the key.

⏩ Gradually Increase Speed

Now that you have started listening to audiobooks and podcasts, the key is to increase the speed gradually. It is better to not do so drastically. If you are new to this, then it will take some time to get used to the new normal. After a week or so, you will start to feel comfortable with the acquired speed. When that feeling hits you, you’d know it’s time to bump up the speed!

💪 Push Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone

As you get used to speed-listening, your growth will be exponential instead of linear, which means that if it took you a week to master comprehending 1x speed, it would take you less to get comfortable at, say, 1.5x speed. This is because you have already garnered the momentum by starting. Therefore, when you feel a little too comfortable, it’s time for you to push yourself a bit further!

📲 Speed Might Vary in Different Cases

As simple as this is, it took me a little time to understand this. I used to use the RBDigital app to listen to audiobooks (thanks to my local library). I used to listen at 2x speed and I was too comfortable with it. Unfortunately, that was the maximum speed and so, I had to stop there. When it comes to podcasts, I use Spotify. And I saw that 2x speed was too much for me, and tend to listen at 1.5x to 1.8x speed. I believe audiobooks are recorded at a slower pace than real-time conversation. That is why a podcast at 1x speed is faster than an audiobook at the same speed. You have to be aware of that. Change your speed according to the app you are using.

🙌 Practice Makes Perfect

Lastly, nothing can be done without practice. The more you listen and push yourself, the faster will you be able to adapt to the speed. Speed listening is great — it is like a superpower! Not only will you be able to save time, but you will also be able to increase your comprehension power along the way!


Now that I have put forward my arguments, did it convince you enough to start listening to audiobooks and podcasts at faster speed? Comment below!



4 thoughts on “What did I Learn After Speed Listening for 3 Years?”

  1. Wow I didn’t know speed-listening was a thing! Given my terrible attention span and complete unability to listen to a podcast I’m pretty sure this practic is not for me (or at least not yet) but it is so itneresting! Do you listen to all types of books this way or are some genres preferable? 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh trust me, even my attention span is terrible! But my hatred for chores actually fueled my desire to start audiobooks on the first place. I could combine them together and have a better time! I mainly listen to fiction, because it does not require much annotation from my side. With non-fiction, annotation is whole another story (this is where audiobooks are truly limited). I particularly love listening to psychological thrillers because the narrators are good at capturing the tense atmosphere in the storyline!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have the same issue with missing stuff! Also, it didn’t help because English is my third language. But, with time, it gets easier!

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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