Bandwidth of different senses

Our brain loves distractions and multi-tasking gets bored easily. When we read text or watch a photo, it engages us visually, a video (with audio) engages us even more. The bandwidth of eyes is much larger than the bandwidth of our ears. When we are viewing something it utilizes more bandwidth and hence occupies more of our attention span. Also, given the way our eyes work, we can focus more on the interesting aspect of the visual feed. Compared to that, audio (hearing) not only underutilizes our brain’s bandwidth but also, the unidimensional flow of audio data at a linear speed does not mimic our ability to process it. Contrast forced linear listening with how non-linearly humans read.

How eyes jump forward and backward while reading

And that’s why video games are even more engaging than a video, they utilize the bandwidth even further by forcing us to think and act in the game.

Since audio underutilizes our brain’s bandwidth, it leaves spare bandwidth for distractions, including eating food, driving, and exercising. No wonder most audio consumption is passive and happens as a secondary activity as opposed to being a mainstream activity like reading or watching movies.