That is normal. The line linking the two sliders represents the current maximum volume setting of the master (overall) volume control. You can adjust the application volume from minimum (mute) to this level. If you go above this level, the master volume will increase accordingly, upto the maximum. Likewise, if you reduce the master volume to a level lower than that set for an application, then that level control will also lower.
As regards the speakers not muting, have they always done this, or has it just started?