From:  Silvia Pfeiffer <>
Date:  11 Nov 2015 05:47:25 Hong Kong Time

Re: Muting web audio when a screenreader is saying something


On Wed, Nov 11, 2015 at 12:52 AM, Chris Mills  wrote:
> I was having an interesting conversation with Henny Swan from The Paciello Group last week - she was saying that a very common complaint from screenreader users that she hears is web-based audio drowning out screenreader output when users navigate to a web page that features audio or video tags, etc. Especially ones set to autoplay.
> I was wondering if it would be possible to write an addon that mutes (or at least reduces the volume of) audio coming from a webpage when a screenreader is saying something. Is there any kind of custom event we can use for this?

For audio and video elements, there is an extensive API that can be
used, including reading and setting volume. That could be exposed
through an extension to a specific key-combination (if there is any
key-combintation still available that the screenreader isn't using)
and thus the user could control the volume manually.

> I am guessing the answer might be no, as screenreaders tend to work on the OS level rather than the browser level, but I might be surprised.

Yeah, the Web page and often also the browser generally doesn't know
that a screenreader is running (except when the screenreader is a
browser extension itself), so anything along these lines is a bit hard
to do. We had been thinking about such a feature also for audio
descriptions that would be read out by a screenreader at the same time
that a video is playing and that requires both: a new API in the
screenreaders and a new API in the browsers.

Would be worthwhile if somebody wants to attack this problem!


> Thanks,
> Chris Mills
>  Senior tech writer || Mozilla
> || MDN
> || @chrisdavidmills
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