As I mentioned, many sump wet/dry systems (salt and fresh water) drip water through bio-balls or other media (nylon pot scrubbers are often a DIY choice). These drip systems foster a large, healthy nitrifying bacteria colony because of the increased oxygen level that the water has from dropping through air (air has more oxygen than water).
As their name implies, aerobic bacteria are dependent on air (oxygen) and of course, food (ammonia and/or nitrites). We can't drip water through the air in conventional filters, HOWEVER, if we maximize the oxygen level in the water passing through the filter, we may culture a larger, stronger bacteria colony(ies). Organics, ammonia and nitrites may break down quicker and more completely than might otherwise be the case.
As far as time, I just began this experiment this past weekend.
The air stones are suspended at approximately the mid point of the chamber so there is little/no way for bubbles to be drawn into the impeller. Also, there is no water displacement as you can see in the photo, the bubbles simply break the surface in the inlet chamber.
If ceramic and similar bio-media promotes a better infrastructure to support nitrifying bacteria, we might conclude that enriched oxygen in the water column moving through the filter also has benefits. I will admit that I have no way of measuring whether this truly makes a difference - just as I could not measure whether bio-ceramic media provides any more infrastructure for bacteria than say plain old gravel - ? However, it would seem that the theory is sound.
Who knows, one day we may see air induction filter systems and I'll hold the patent
Footnote: I also studied protein skimmers and just wonder if the action of the bubbles alone also has some positive effect in the inlet chamber (however, this is much more far reaching than the increased oxygen levels.)