Noise Control Brings Tab Audio Indicators and Muting to Firefox

So far, this feature is only available as an app in Firefox, but it’s still encouraging to see Firefox catching up with Chrome in the field of audio control. Now if IE would only get on board too …

One of the Chrome features that I like a lot is that the browser displays audio indicators if audio is played in a tab in it. Even better, it offers options to mute that audio with a single click on the tab. Gone are the times where you had to mute the browser’s sound output, go through tabs individually to find the offending page, or even close the browser completely to disable the sound from playing on your system.

Mozilla has been at a disadvantage in regards to that feature. The core reason for that is that Chrome ships with its own native Flash plugin while Firefox does not. This gives Chrome more control over Flash contents so that the developers can integrate code that picks up if audio is playing on a website or not.

The rise of HTML5 changes that. Since HTML5 video and audio don’t require plugins, all browsers supporting the technology can theoretically display audio indicators in tabs or another location.

Mozilla has not added those yet and it is unclear if and when that will happen but a third-party developer has created the Noise Control add-on for Firefox which adds that functionality to Firefox.

noise control firefox

Noise Control works pretty much as you’d expect it to work. It highlights any HTML5 audio or video¬† playing in tabs in the Firefox web browser next to the tab title.

As you can see on the screenshot above, it works on YouTube but should work on any other website playing HTML5 media.

The indicator alone is well worth the installation but that is not all Noise Control offers. As the name implies, it lets you mute the audio as well with a single click.

Just click on the audio indicator icon in the tab to mute the audio in Firefox. A second click unmutes it in the browser.

Please note that muting won’t stop or pause the video or audio file from playing on the target website. If you want the media to pause, you’d need to open the tab and click on playback controls on it to do so.


I’m usually not a fan of integrating add-ons natively in the browser but this time, I’d like to see Mozilla implement Noise Control into Firefox.

It improves the handling of HTML5 media in the browser and since HTML5 is the future, it would future-proof Firefox in this regard and provide users of the browser with valuable information and controls to deal with audio on open websites.

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