It's fortunate that modern browsers allow you to enable a "click to play" feature for media plug-ins such as Flash. Being a serial tab-opener, I have this feature active so audio from an auto-playing ad doesn't scary the heck out of me, but I could make do simply knowing which tab is producing the noise and acting from there.
Back in February, Google teased a feature it was planning to add to Chromium, the underlying browser of Chrome, that would add a small icon to a tab that was playing audio. While this functionality was created for internal development, it serves a secondary purpose — locating and subsequently killing websites with bad ad behaviour (among a sea of tabs).
It's August now and this feature has yet to be enabled in the publicly available version of Chrome, however, you can switch it on with a simple command line argument, as Martin Brinkmann explains in a post over at gHacks:
- Locate the Google Chrome shortcut that you use to run the browser. The most likely location is the start menu or the taskbar.
- Right-click the icon and select properties from the context menu.
- Add a space at the very end of the target line and paste the
- Restart Google Chrome afterwards and audio notifications should be enabled.
Unfortunately, as Brinkmann points out, the feature doesn't support all types of media — while it works fine for YouTube, it failed to pop up for a "couple of streaming sites", so your mileage may vary depending on the places you frequent.