Well the wealth of Patents that I've uncovered using Sodium Benzenesulfonate as an antioxidant in developers and thermal imaging emulsions plus what you say, and Mason (Levenson) seems to indicate it may have potential duel uses.
The early 30's Agfa Patent is using a wetting agent sodium dibutyl-napthalene-a(alpha)sulphonate in a p-Aminophenol developer to overcome uneven development. This compound is the only link to the Kodak & Fuji patent(s) that cite it, and they all use Sodium Benzesulphonate or other derivatives as well in some..
So what else did the Germans discover about using a sulphonate with a p-Aminophenol developer? Something that Fuji understood (much later), and Kodak (in the 40's). They are being used in ppd colour developers by Kodak at too high a level to be a wetting agent in USP 2618558 other cross citations go to other compounds used as antioxidants like Salicylic acid, andother sulphonic acids etc, USP 2444803 which is about anti-oxidants.
There's to many cross links to just be a coincidence:
Agfa/Bayer manufacture Sodium Benzenesulphonate
A related derivative is in an Agfa Patent, alongside p-Aminophenol.
Then Sodium Benzenesulphonate and derivatives are in Kodak Patent(s) not as wetting agents, there's only a trace of sulphite 0.5g to 5g PPD but 100g of the Sulphonate so it's the preservative. .
More recently they appear again as anti-oxidants in Fuji Patents for developers and thermal imaging products, and also as an anti-oxidant in thermal imaging materials in the US
Finally it's in the RO9 Formula that Pavel postedn and there must be some logic. There so many cross linked Patents Citations in two directions and often just hidden away but important