What happens when you hear a text rather than read it? The obvious thing is that you can do something else with your eyes. That is why I can listen to books when I garden. My hands and eyes can work. And so listening to a book is a different sensory experience than reading it. The inner imagining of the story becomes commingled with the outer senses — my hands on the trowel, the scent of tansy in the breeze.
—T.M. Luhrmann, Audiobooks and the Return of Storytelling—http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/opinion/sunday/luhrmann-audiobooks-and-the-return-of-storytelling.html
I've always been curious about audiobooks but my primary activities—working (i.e. coding), reading, making music—require my full attention. When I'm really working, even regular conversation can be a huge distraction. And my longest commute is a 10-minute walk, which offers little opportunity for listening.
I wish I had a hobby that required my hands but not my conscious attention. I know I'm missing out on a lot—not just audiobooks but NPR and other podcasts that I hear about from friends. Theoretically, I could sit and listen attentively to NPR or a book, but somehow I never make the time.
Maybe I'll try listening to This American Life next time I'm cooking a big meal.