Want to become a speed listener? Read on to learn more about speed listening tests and speed listening practice.
The modern world bombards us with information. This is especially true for English speakers, and there’s no shortage of content in English to consume. Speed listening is one of the best ways to stay on top of the latest news.
Whether you’re practicing for the IELTS listening practice test or doing schoolwork, speed listening can help you significantly improve your performance. Not only will you be able to finish podcasts and audiobooks faster, but you’ll also be able to implement this skill into other areas of your life.
Read on to find out how speed listening can benefit native English speakers and learners studying it as a foreign language.
Techniques to improve speed listening
YouTube videos, podcasts, and audiobooks can be full of valuable information. However, it takes time and effort to go through long-form content, and many people don’t have time to listen to a full video. Speed listening allows you to consume content faster without disrupting your routine.
Unfortunately, not everyone is a natural speed listener. Faster listening speeds may confuse the average person, resulting in poor listening comprehension.
The good news is there are a few practical ways to hone your speed listening skills.
Practice with varying speeds
One complaint many novice speed listeners have is that their concentration decreases when they choose a faster speed. The goal isn’t just to finish a podcast episode or an audiobook. The primary aim is to retain the most useful information. When you’re struggling to pay attention, you’ll become less motivated and give up on listening to the end. But have you considered tinkering with the “playback” options?
The simplest way to bypass this issue is to experiment with varying speeds and find a pace that works best for you.
The average person comprehends approximately six to seven syllables per second, but you can rewire your brain to process more information.
Start with your normal speed. When you feel comfortable, adjust the playback and switch to a faster rate. After approximately 10 minutes, try listening at an even higher pace.
If you’re practicing with episodes of your favorite TV shows, it may take a while to get used to the fast speech. After you select a higher listening speed, you may struggle to understand what Native English speakers in a show are discussing. But you can train your ears and brain to recognize words with regular listening practice.
After a week or two, you’ll find a higher speed that suits your needs.
Skimming written content before listening
If you’re studying for the IELTS listening practice test, now is the time to become an auditory learner.
You should always familiarize yourself with the content before listening. While this isn’t always possible for audiobooks, you can practice with videos with subtitles and transcripts. Skim the content without trying to memorize too many details. Focus on the beginning, middle, and end. Your brain will identify keywords and use them to comprehend concepts you hear from the audio file.
This is the principle behind IELTS exams. You’ll receive a set of multiple-choice questions and listen to an English conversation. Despite the fast speech, you’ll have to skim the options and identify the correct answers.
You may be dissatisfied with the outcome the first time you practice, but your listening comprehension will soon improve with perseverance.
Pushing past your comfort zone and then slowing down
If you’ve become comfortable listening to your playlists at 1.5x, why not set a new challenge?
See whether you can handle a higher speed of 2x. You’ll likely feel frustrated at first, but that feeling will disappear once your brain gets used to the new pace.
After about 10 minutes of going past your comfort zone, switch to 1.7x. It’s slightly higher than your standard listening rate but not so high that you’ll struggle to understand certain sections.
You can practice every day in a distraction-free environment. Some speed listeners enjoy practicing in the morning right after they wake up. They’ll then check their social media accounts and tackle the day ahead.
Issues you may experience with speed reading
Although speed reading is an invaluable cognitive skill, many people struggle with forming this habit.
We remember information from the content we find enjoyable. Although you may like the narration of an audiobook, the quality may decrease once you select a higher playback speed.
Moreover, the platform where you listen to podcasts and audiobooks may not have enough playback options.
But mastering speed listening doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if you use a text to speech (TTS) app like Speechify.
How Speechify can help with speed reading
Speechify is one of the most advanced TTS programs on the market. You can use the Speechify app and turn text to speech with a few simple clicks. The program reads aloud any document you’ve stored in an electronic format, from Google docs, web pages, and PDF files to research papers, news articles, and social media posts.
The app is highly customizable, and you can choose from over 30 top-quality voices. It supports over 20 languages and dialects, allowing users to listen to content in American English, UK English, Portuguese, Spanish, and more.
Try Speechify for free
Speechify is also suitable for people with learning disabilities like dyslexia and ADHD As the app reads the text, it highlights the appropriate sections, ensuring you stay focused and motivated. Try it today for free and become a speed listener without difficulty.
Does speed listening work?
While skeptics doubt speed listening is effective, it’s an excellent method to get more work done in less time. You can use this skill to learn a new language, quickly complete school assignments, or improve your work performance.
Which is faster reading or listening?
The average person can consume more content through listening than reading. However, try combining the two methods for maximum information retention.
Is it possible to practice listening as fast as reading?
Each person is unique and has a different listening speed. With regular practice, you’ll surpass your reading pace in no time.
How long does it take to get to a higher listening speed?
Expect to see progress within a few days.
What are some good resources to practice speed listening?
You can practice speed listening with YouTube videos, CNN clips, and audiobooks. Consider using a TTS app like Speechify for high-quality narration.