Every so often, at irregular intervals, my computer makes a strange beep. I think its a notification sound for something but I can't tell what its notifying me of, or what is even notifying me. Is there a way to determine which program is making this noise so I can put a stop to this?

2 Answers 2


Most Ubuntu installations are using PulseAudio, then it is possible to

List all processes which are connected to your pulse audio

run this command pactl list clients

However, it will give you POSSIBLE sound-making processes, if you really want to:

catch the process making sound then run this command:

watch -n0.5 'pacmd list-sink-inputs | tee -a sound-inputs.log'

and after a while you will see what processes are making sound, they could disappear fast, this is why tee -a sound-inputs.log command is storing/logging in sound-inputs.log all information, and you can review which process exactly is making noise now.

you can review it by less sound-inputs command, an example output is below:

0 sink input(s) available.
0 sink input(s) available.
0 sink input(s) available.
1 sink input(s) available.
    index: 277
    driver: <protocol-native.c>
    flags: START_CORKED 
    state: RUNNING
    sink: 0 <alsa_output.pci-0000_00_1b.0.analog-stereo>
    volume: front-left: 55420 /  85% / -4.37 dB,   front-right: 55420 /  85% / -4.37 dB
            balance 0.00
    muted: no
    current latency: 35.85 ms
    requested latency: 7.52 ms
    sample spec: float32le 2ch 44100Hz
    channel map: front-left,front-right
    resample method: copy
    module: 10
    client: 1884 <Chromium>
        application.icon_name = "chromium-browser"
        media.name = "Playback"
        application.name = "Chromium"
        native-protocol.peer = "UNIX socket client"
        native-protocol.version = "33"
        application.process.id = "2993986"
        application.process.user = "aneutrino"
        application.process.host = "xiexie"
        application.process.binary = "Discord"
        application.language = "en_US.UTF-8"
        window.x11.display = ":0"
        application.process.machine_id = "13335995d81e4f4faf75ac28835b4f8c"
        module-stream-restore.id = "sink-input-by-application-name:Chromium"

in the example, above it was Discord chat application using chrome-browser making noises PID 2993986 I have entered to settings and disabled sounds in it, but alternatively I could simply kill it kill 2993986


I found out just after I posted this. If you go to the "sound settings" menu and click on "applications" you can see which programs are using audio. I just had to wait for the beep to happen again to catch it.enter image description here

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