Which Is Better for Communication, Audio or Text Messages?

Do you prefer audio or text messages? Although it's true that in our daily digital interactions we tend to use both types of communication, experts tell us that one of them is better than the other.
Which Is Better for Communication, Audio or Text Messages?
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 09 October, 2022

Do you prefer calls, audio, or text messages? According to several studies, a large number of millennials experience anxiety when talking on the phone. Therefore, it’s better to connect with them through messages. On the other hand, baby boomers tend to avoid long conversations on WhatsApp and prefer to call. 

Some people prefer typed dialogues, emojis, and constant exchanges of stickers and memes. Others delight in audio messages that can sometimes even be as long as a podcast. Whatever the case, it’s clear that today, we don’t even conceive of communicating without the help of a device.

Noam Chomsky stated that new technologies, such as social media, would erode human relationships in the long term. As a matter of fact, this may already be happening. Indeed, we’ve replaced biological (and face-to-face) communication with mechanical (and digital) which has been a remarkable change for our society. Furthermore, it’s not always necessarily problematic.

What we need to do is to make good use of this kind of technology and learn what mechanisms are most suitable for connecting emotionally with each other.

Text messages tend to generate misunderstandings and we don’t always obtain valid information from who we’re talking to.

Woman looking at social networks wondering what is better Audios or text messages
Nowadays, we opt more for text and audio messages than for calls.

Audios or text messages

When you buy a cell phone, the last thing you worry about is that it’ll help you make calls. You’re interested in other aspects such as the resolution of the camera, its processors, its memory, how compact it is, and if you have confidence in the brand. However, what you do most with your cell phone is communicating with other people.

One of the apps on your devices you probably use the most is WhatsApp. This leading communication tool allows you to connect with others in various ways. You can make calls and video calls, write to others, and even broadcast your current status.

The field of psychology has been considering which channel of communication is more beneficial; audio or text messages. Although both are normally used, one of them is especially beneficial. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology reveals what it is and why.

Voice messages are more intimate and sincere than text messages. In addition, they confer greater closeness.

Audio is more comfortable with a greater emotional connection

Any interaction that includes the sound of the human voice favors the social and emotional bond. WhatsApp included an audio facility in 2013 and its use reached its highest peak during the pandemic. Millennials and the younger population prefer this resource because it’s a less intrusive method than calls and also offers a better sense of control.

With audio messages, we can choose when and how to listen to them. When it comes to transmitting them, it gives an immediacy with which to speak to someone by way of reflection and introspection when we need it. An audio message is often like a thought out loud that we send to friends, partners, or others we’re close to.

Indeed, we can’t ignore the value of the voice in human relations. Listening to the tonality and vocal expression of another person brings us much closer to them. It’s also easier to emotionally connect with others through this channel.

Text messages are more often misunderstood

When communicating something serious and transcendent, it’s always better to opt for an audio message. Obviously, the ideal would be a call, but since not all the population feels comfortable with them, it’s advisable to lean toward audio messages in these cases.

It’s important to remember that when you send text messages, much of the context is lost, thus the window for misunderstandings is opened. Furthermore, often, negativity bias distorts the general idea that you want to convey. For example, if someone asks you something and you text back with a terse “Yes” or “No,” these types of responses may be seen as threatening.

Monosyllables like “Okay” “Yes” or “No” which aren’t accompanied by emojis or extra words, are seen as too rude and impersonal. However, you don’t always have time to write more. Consequently, text messages are extremely likely to cause anxiety and misunderstandings in social relationships and it’s advisable not to abuse them. Alternatively, choose audio messages.

Sending an audio message ensures that the other person will understand much better the message that you want to convey. On the other hand, if you send a text message, you run the risk that certain aspects will be misunderstood.

boy searching what is better Audios or text messages
Since we use digital communication a large part of the time, we must opt for those channels where the message comes through more clearly.

Audios or text messages

We can all choose the channel we like best, whether it be audio or text messages. That said, just as there are many who feel uncomfortable talking on the phone, there are those who experience anxiety with voice memos. They irritate them and they can’t bear the pressure of having to return them.

However, experts definitely recommend the use of this resource. That’s because voice notes continue to be our own creations. In effect, they’re free expression mechanisms without predictive texts suggesting what to insert, or correctors editing our errors and misspellings.

With audio messages, you express what you want, with pauses, sighs, and stutters, as well as your own inspired reasoning. You speak to your interlocutors, but also to yourself, out loud. It’s an extremely cathartic exercise that you shouldn’t ignore. Both you and your loved ones will appreciate it, no matter how overly long your messages may be.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Kumar A, Epley N. It’s surprisingly nice to hear you: Misunderstanding the impact of communication media can lead to suboptimal choices of how to connect with others. J Exp Psychol. 2021;150(3):595-607. doi:10.1037/xge0000962
  • Schroeder J, Epley N. The sound of intellect: Speech reveals a thoughtful mind, increasing a job candidate’s appeal. Psychol Sci. 2015;26(6):877–91. doi:10.1177/0956797615572906.
  • Schroeder J, Kardas M, Epley N. The humanizing voice: Speech reveals, and text conceals, a more thoughtful mind in the midst of disagreement. Psychol Sci. 2017;28(12):1745–1762. doi:10.1177/0956797617713798

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.