The pace of life gets faster. Sometimes I’ll listen to things online at a faster than normal speed. It works best when I’m already familiar with the speaker.

Most platforms let you speed things up. On YouTube, for example, just click on the gear icon in the lower right and select “speed.” The other side of this coin is being able to slow down videos – really handy when you’re learning a new song for the guitar.

There’s a subculture of “fastcast” listeners who generally listen to all their  podcasts at faster speeds so they can keep up with the long list of podcasts they follow. Here’re a couple of interesting points from an article on these fastcasters

A Princeton neuroscientist has pointed out that even at normal speed, most people don’t catch every single word. “If you make it one-third faster, it’s almost perfect — they don’t lose a lot,” he said.

Because recordings played at higher speeds are at a higher pitch, they’re actually easier to hear. Low-frequency noises, like street noise, vacuum cleaners, or airplanes, get in the way of our understanding of people talking. Playing podcasts at a higher speed, the listener is creating a greater acoustic differentiation between the words and lower-frequency background noises.

The brain is able to easily adapt to different speaking speeds. “Your brain responses become slower when I speak slowly, and brain responses become faster when I speak faster.” But, he cautioned, comprehension starts to break down around 2x.