Train Your Brain to Listen Faster With This Speed-Listening App

Rightspeed allows users to play audiobooks and podcasts at up to ten times the normal playback speed. 

Medium/Max Deutsch

Audiobooks and podcasts are popular ways to pass the time during commutes to work or other tedious activities, but have you ever felt like you could be consuming the content at a much quicker rate? Maybe you wish you could devour your hour-long podcast in 30 minutes or that the narrator of the gripping detective novel you’re listening to would resolve that cliff-hanger a bit faster. Well, app developer Max Deutsch has created your new favorite app: a speed-listening program called Rightspeed that helps you train your brain to listen to podcasts and audio books at up to ten times the playback speed.

The Rightspeed app is based on an immutable scientific truth: people can listen quicker than they can speak. A Human Factors International study about human interaction speeds found that people can comfortably listen at a speed of up to 210 words per minute without sacrificing any comprehension, while people tend to dictate at 105 words per minute. Based on that information, people can listen up to twice as fast as they can speak, which is why it may be anxiety-inducing to slug along with a narrator as they read content at a speed you could comprehend in half the time.

In an article on Medium, Deutsch outlines how he was inspired to create an unprecedented speed-listening app. Initially inspired to figure out if he could get through a five-hour audiobook in only 30 minutes (10x the normal playback speed) without compromising comprehension, Deutsch came across a study which found that blind people could comprehend audio at up to 8 times the speed of the average audiobook. While those results may reflect the instance of blindness heightening other senses, Deutsch set out to develop an app that could train his brain to listen to audio at increasingly rapid speeds, which would help him accomplish his goal of listening to more content overall.

The Rightspeed prototype allows users to choose any playback speed between 1.0x and 10x in 0.1 increments. Deutsch created the capability to gradually increase the speed in small increments with the hope that the transitions to quicker audio comprehension would be seamless, until users were eventually listening to an audiobook at several times the normal speed without noticing a major change had taken place.

To make it easier for the listener, Deutsch added an Audio Speed Ramping button, which automatically increases the listening speed by 0.1x every two minutes as long as it’s activated. Deutsch maintains that he has surprised himself many times when he’s looked at his phone to see that he was listening at up to 5.4x the normal playback speed without sacrificing his level of comprehension at all.

The advancement of technology has undoubtedly made us more impatient, but it’s useless to lament our abandonment of patience. The fact of the matter is that we will continue in that direction as long as technology keeps developing, and Rightspeed has acknowledged that trajectory in a revolutionary way.

The speed-listening app allows you to consume podcasts or audiobooks at your preferred faster speed, but it also helps you improve cognition by training your brain to listen and comprehend at quicker paces.

If we’re able to digest more information in a shorter amount of time, imagine how much more we could get done. Well, there’s no need to imagine anymore as Rightspeed makes our most impatient hopes an achievable reality.