I don’t hear the printed word as such but I learned during research for a bio engineering course paper that when we read, the visual signals go to the visual cortex and to an area on the side of the brain where audio signals go. Printed words there are processed as audio signals and feed into our brain in that fashion. If that area is damaged you can see the words but no longer read.
So it would appear that there is a basis for what you experience.
At the time (1971) it occurred to me that since we only speak at around 160 or so words per minute and many of us read much faster, that it might be possible to speed up a recording and process it so that the voice frequencies remained the same, then we might be able to absorb speech much faster than normal.
My professor wanted me take this on as a class project, but with more research I found that some folks at Cornell had already worked it out.
There were such machines available later (in the late 70s maybe?) but as I recall doubling the speed was about the maximum for good comprehension.