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WCAG: 1.4.2 Audio Control (It's Not 1995; Please Keep Your Website Quiet)


Anyone using a screen reader will experience the content on your website as audio. So, if your site contains a sound component that plays automatically, someone with visual impairment who relies on screen reader technology may have a difficult time, as the audio from their screen reader will have to compete with the sound on your site.

Separate Controls

Given this problem, we recommend not including any automatically played audio** that lasts longer than three seconds on your website. In fact, unless you're an intrepid temporal adventurer from a simpler Internet age, we recommend not using any automatically played audio for no other reason than basic human decency and respect for the ears of those who may be exposed to whatever sounds you decided were a good idea to suddenly blast at your reader.

However, if you must, be sure to put a mechanism in place that allows users either to pause the audio or to control its volume independently of the master volume on the user's device. That way, anyone with visual impairment will be able to hear their screen reader clearly and without interference.

**Of course, a notable exception to this rule would be automatic audio placed deliberately to assist the visually impaired; even in this case, an independent volume control should still be installed so as to allow the reader the option of using their preferred screen reader tool.