Lessons from Brazil – Loudspeaker


Many, many Brazilans are adverse to quietude. The Brazilian constitution should include a sixth right (aside from health, education, etc) and it should be the right to noise. One way of expressing their right is to place their cell phones on loudspeaker (or “viva-voz” as they say here) when having a conversation. Even worse, calling someone via radio (like with “Nextel”) has become popular, meaning people talk to each other by constantly moving their phone from their mouth to their ear and letting everyone else know exactly what they are discussing. Here’s the thing, though…I don’t care. Obviously, people in a novela-loving culture do…thus I must grin and bear it.


I think because people are still into having their privacy, they prefer talking to each other without broadcasting their conversation to others. Of course, there’s always that one guy who talks loudly next to you and thereby making it possible to make inferences about the rest of the conversation but that’s rare. People still scoff at others who put their conversation on speakerphone and it’s one thing I wish my neighbors would adopt.

On a side note, I realize most of my posts in this series are (sometimes veiled) complaints. I will try to put some positive things in the next one.


6 thoughts on “Lessons from Brazil – Loudspeaker

  1. Hi, being European, I need to say that I find Americans in general much more louder than their Brazilian counterparts. And I am not talking about that ‘one’ ad hoc guy but a large sample on both sides as I am exposed to both a lot. This is a generic comment that I have also heard from MANY Europeans and it refers to Americans vs Brazilians when they are travelling to Europe. So, it might as well be that Brazilians are able to better adapt to the local ‘noise’ standards (?), I don’t know… or that Americans in Brazil are quiter… In any case case, the noise ladder based on my own experiance is: 1. US (loudest), 2. BR, 3. Europe, 4.Asia…

    • Interesting, Dani. I can only speak of my experiences between the US (29.5 years) and Brazil (1.5 years). I’ve heard of the “ugly American” abroad but as far as loudness (or perhaps it’s better to speak of “respecting your neighbors right to peace”), Brazilians are louder (less respectful) by magnitudes.

      In the US, I didn’t perceive Brazilians living there as louder, though. Seems it has more to do with falling in line with the societal norms of where you are, then.

  2. I’m Braziian and I don’t like the loudness in Brazil. I am not only speaking about people and cellphones, but also people and cars (how they blast their soundsystem in their cars). Well, maybe I couldn’t say the whole country, but I can definitely say that Rio is loud. On the other hand I feel I would miss the hassle if I moved to the US.

    Adam, we haven’t met yet!! Where are you, man?

  3. Yeap, I’ve noticed that thing during my travel to Brazil this January. In every bus I took, there was some guy/girl listening to his/her mobile music player on loudspeaker. It’s so much annoying! And in an intercity bus there was a girl sitting two seats behind me, listening to the only one song five times in a row on loudspeaker. I wasn’t able to hear that song one more time (actualy 6th), so I told her to turn it off. But I guess it’s a usual practice for brazilians.

  4. My Brazilian husband thinks Americans are too quiet… well, he used to until he went back to Brazil and now he thinks Brazilians are too loud. It takes him a few days to get used to it and then he loud as well and just fine with it, but I agree, there is a difference here, to be sure. Not that it is a bad difference, just a difference.

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