If you are coming to (or already in) Brazil you had better have a pair of industrial strength earplugs; or be prepared to put up with the constant assault on your senses of the noise people make here.

At times it looks like the entire country is one big competition to outdo your next-door neighbor at making as much noise as humanly possible. It would appear that there is an unwritten law that every neighborhood must have at least one inconsiderate idiot who insists on playing his/her stereo at full volume day and night, non-stop; or one that arrives home at 3:00 am every night and blows his car horn until somebody in his home wakes up and opens the garage for him (because he's either too stupid or too lazy to get out of the car and open it himself). Then too there's the cherished neighbor who is renovating his kitchen and uses power tools in the wee hours of the morning. Oh, and don't forget that nice lady in the apartment above you who starts preparing the evening meal at 4:00 am, before she leaves for work and she begins pounding that steak with the meat tenderizer hammer oblivious to the fact that the sound passes through the whole building. Or maybe she just wears high-heels day and night and all you hear below her is – clop, clop, clop.

As much as I love Brazil and the Brazilian people I've got to confess that they are just about the noisiest people on the face of the earth, worse still they don't even clue in to the fact that their noise might be bothering somebody else. The problem is that they firmly believe that it's their God-given right to make as much noise as they want (or at least until 11:00 pm [23h00]). There is a myth commonly held all over Brazil that there is a Law of Silence “Lei de Silencio” that establishes this as the time beyond which one should not make excessive noise. COMPLETELY UNTRUE!!! SUCH A LAW DOES NOT EXIST. The closest thing to it is the PSIU in the city of São Paulo and that only applies to public establishments such as bars, nightclubs and restaurants – not to residences.

What really applies in this case is the antiquated, but still in effect, Criminal Misdemeanor Law “Lei da Contravenções Penais” of 1941 and amendments thereto:

(updated to the changes produced by Law No. 9521 of 27/11/97)
Criminal Misdemeanor Law.

The President, using the powers conferred upon him by art. 180 of the Constitution, decrees:


Disruption of work or disturbing the peace

Article 42 - Disturbing someone, or the quiet work of others:

I - with shouting or uproar;
II - noisy or disruptive profession, in contravention of the law;
III - abusing musical instruments or sound signals;
IV - causing or not seeking to prevent noise produced by animals that you have in your custody:
Penalty - simple imprisonment, fifteen (15) days to three (3) months or a fine.

(atualizada até a alteração produzida pela Lei nº 9.521, de 27.11.97)
Lei das Contravenções Penais.

O Presidente da República, usando das atribuições que lhe confere o art. 180 da Constituição, decreta:

Art. 42 - Perturbar alguém, o trabalho ou o sossego alheios:
I - com gritaria ou algazarra;
II - exercendo profissão incômoda ou ruidosa, em desacordo com as prescrições legais;
III - abusando de instrumentos sonoros ou sinais acústicos;
IV - provocando ou não procurando impedir barulho produzido por animal de que tem guarda:
Pena - prisão simples, de 15 (quinze) dias a 3 (três) meses, ou multa.


(I have specifically chosen to include the Portuguese language version because I know that some overly sensitive individual will either say that I'm a liar, no such Law exists or that “Law of Silence” really does exist )

The problem, however, is that nobody – especially the police – are willing to enforce it. Unless you happen to be a personal friend of the Police Chief (delegado) you can forget about just phoning 190 and making a complaint. If you are extremely lucky maybe a patrol car might show up, but that too is unlikely. Even if the police do arrive they won't even want to hear the details once they find out that it is a noise complaint. They will not take any action whatsoever.

The only way you might get any kind of action is to actually go to the police station and insist on registering your complaint there. They will not take a B.O. (Boletim de Ocorrência) as is done with any other kind of complaint or crime. You will need to insist that they accept a TCO (Termo Circunstanciado de Ocorrência), this is like a private citizen registering the complaint. In the UK, Canada and many other Commonwealth countries it is known as a “Private Information”. Even then chances are slim to none that the situation gets resolved.

I've lived in Brazil for over ten years, in various cities. I can tell you from painful experience that NO PLACE is immune from the problem of excessive noise. The bitter truth is that some places are even worse than most others. Resort cities are probably among the very worst. You really need to have nerves of steel and endless patience here as far as the constant onslaught of noise goes.

For a nation of people so colaborative and considerate in almost every other sense Brazilians are absolutely clueless when the subject is noise, it is difficult to understand. Even trying to talk to the offender in a civil way will probably end up all wrong and could even put you at risk of being attacked, so don't do it.

Get used to the idea; there is no getting away from the noise. You will have to find your own way of coping with the problem. Brazilians (all of them) have absolute TRAUMA of silence, it is something totally unnatural to them, it makes them extremely uncomfortable and in most cases frightens them.

I find it ironic that in a city like São Paulo, that took the courageous step of banning outdoor advertising and other forms of “visual pollution” and in Rio which is considering doing likewise; that neither of these cities or any other for that matter has the courage to do anything about “noise pollution”, which clearly is much more harmful to your health.

William James Woodward – Brazil Animator, Expat-blog

You are invited to respond telling us about your own "horror story" about the problem you are having with noise. Perhaps just talking about it, getting it off your chest, will help make you feel a little bit better and thus a little more able to cope with it.

If you are reasonably fluent in Portuguese, here's what some Brazilians say about the problem: … e-sossego/

Oh, how I have suffered! I arrived in Rio about 3 weeks ago, and the traffic was mind blowing. Noise all night long. However, after arriving in Resende about 2 weeks ago, I think that barking dogs are much worse than traffic. I would trade trucks and buses for dogs any day.
How can people stand it? Barking in the night leaves me a nervous wreck! I bought some silicone ear plugs and run the air conditioner even when it is not hot at night.
My husband, who is Brazilian, is not as bothered as I am. I am hoping that I get used to it at some point!
Thanks for your post- I may print up a copy of the law and hand it out to my neighbors with dogs! ;)

Hi Jenn,

Welcome to Expat-blog and to Brazil!

I'm sure you will get used to noise like dogs barking, trucks, buses, etc. Most of us do in time. Your husband is living proof of that... like all Brazilians he's immune to noise.

What you won't get used to is the unexpected or constant noises, stereos that play way too loud, the neighbor's party that runs until 3:00am, the couple next door having a blow out of a fight, etc. These things nobody gets used to.

By the way, what supermarket do you buy maple flavoring at????

William James Woodward - Brazil Animator, Expat-blog

Hi Again--
I bought it in the States. Sorry, I should have been more specific. I remember from living here 15 years ago that I missed maple syrup, so now I can make my own.

Well, that explains my Brazilian husband using the drilling machine at 10:00pm in Montreal while I was arriving from work. Couldn't believe it, but it was all normal to him (we lived in a triplex apartment in wood and nothing to cut noise whatsoever).

Now you're getting the idea Em!


City in Goiás decrees zero tolerance to high power sound systems.
What is in place in Aparecida is the latest attempt to combat this national problem.
Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city in the country. Avenida Brasil, the main access to the city.  In the Realengo neighborhood of west zone. Every Thursday a party makes the place shake. The meeting to see who has the most powerful sound system takes place in a parking lot on the edge of the highway, away from the alleys of Realengo.

Now imagine circulating in a residential neighborhood. In Aparecida, in the Metropolitan Region of Goiânia, the 90 decibels is as if the traffic in São Paulo passed inside the apartment.
What is in place in Aparecida is the latest attempt to combat this national problem. Inspectors from the Department of Environment of Aparecida de Goiânia received 15 calls from residents who complained that they were not able to sleep because the sound was too loud. The prosecutors and the police arrived and the party ended.

The limit now in the city, is 70 decibels. Above that, the car is seized. In three weeks, there were 35 arrests. For now, the car owner pays the fine and removes the vehicle. From March onward, when the measure will complete two months, the operator of the vehicle will be charged with the environmental crime of excessive noise and disturbance of the public peace.


Well folks, there's still hope in sight in this country. At least one City Council has the courage to tackle this insidious problem that is spread all across the country. Let's hope that it extends to noise coming from private residences and not just automobiles. Also, we should hope that other Brazilian cities will have the courage to follow their lead.

William James Woodward - Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

Hi William
I could not help laughing when I saw this topic.
Firstly, as a Chinese, I have to admit that you might find China another place annoy regarding the noise but in different manners: speaking aloud regardless the time, kara OK, wingdings, over night playing with mah-jong ... etc. However, in China, almost all the buildings already considered the noise resistance so if you were living in China, you may find it noisy at public places, however when at home, you may not feel the noise as much as here in Brazil.
Today, I would like to share the story about the lawsuit between the Brazilians and my company.
My company has sent lots of expatriates to work here in Brazil. The company rents some apartments in condos for the expatriates. And from time to time, the company receives complaints from local people regarding the noise, and there were lots of lawsuit due to this issue.
I personally donŽt make a lot of noise, and I have my own house so I donŽt even live with the other Chineses, but I had to share the fine because I was registered also in the condo, and there was one room reserved for me as one of the benifit provide by company, after I paid 3 times of fines, I finally managed to cancell this reservation to avoid any more trouble.
But their lovely Brazilian neighbours are keeping having their stereo at full volume and holding parties into midnight without having any trouble.

Please, could you help me to exit from this forum? I dont know how and I am tired to receive emails that I have no interest. Thanks in advance.

If you are only annoyed by the E-mail notification, click `Profile`-- `Privacy` to set up your own filter. These kind of privacy setting is more or less the same for any forum.

Hello JulioCezar. :)

Please, to note that we have put at your disposal a Report button. Do not hesitate to use it for your unsolicited messages

PS: If you really wish to exit, kindly Contact Us privately.

[Sorry for the off topic]

Thank you,

Hi Enzo,

Yeah, while Brazilians complain about being bothered by the noise other people make, they are themselves quite oblivious to the noise that they make. Most of the time if you complain you end up with them wanting to fight, they believe it is their right to make all the noise they want between the hours of 7 am and 11 pm. I have no idea where the myth about the "Lei de Silencio" started, but it's just that a myth. However, no matter how hard you try you will never convince a Brazilian of that.

Could you just imagine standing anywhere near those speakers when the driver of the truck fired up his stereo? God, it would probably blast you out of your clothes. In São Paulo you can be riding on a transit bus when a 'boom car' drives past with the volume cranked up, the whole bus vibrates like it was driving down a rocky road.

William James Woodward - Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

Hi all,

Just an update on a recent news article that appeared on the G1 website, for those of you who can read Portuguese and will thus understand its content: … tajai.html

While I certainly do not condone any kind of violence, threats or discrimination I can certainly sympathize with the plight of the residents of the once quiet town of Brusque - Santa Catarina.

Having myself lived in Porto Seguro - BA for over two years I can tell you from all too painful experience that the description given of Baianos in the threatening letter is spot on. The bairro I lived in was approximately 10 Km. from the city center and even so at nights, if the wind was blowing in the right direction, the noise eminating from the city center (which is constant 24 hours a day) carried all the way out to where I lived. I'm sure it wouldn't have been that noticeable by someone who sleeps like a rock, but for a light sleeper it was traumatic.

On nights when I had to sleep over at my former mother-in-law's home in the largest bairro in Porto Seguro it was pure torture. Street parties that go on 24/7 with a bunch of drunks playing forró at full blast. Nobody can possibly sleep through that yet the residents of the neighborhood tolerate it since lodging a complaint with the police is quite useless and worse still could end up getting you killed. Vengance is the norm in that city, so people just don't report any kind of crimes big or small.

Where I live now in Macaé I have a neighbor who lives directly across the street who is a Baiano, and the constant loud music from boom cars on and in front of his property is just too much to bear. Trying to speak to him respectfully has been futile, it's hard to reason with somebody who is never without a beer in his hand despite already having a belly full. I'm presently looking for a new place to live to get away from the noise. You can be sure that I'm going to check out any prospective neighborhoods six ways from Sunday to see if their are any Baianos living there, and will spend a few nights on weekends especially in the streets to see just what the noise level is like there.

While this character fault is not unique to Baianos, by any means as far as my own personal experience in any of the 5 states in which I've lived they certainly rank up there as the worst offenders by any yardstick you care to use.

Try living in Cairo!  The horns on their cars are attached to the ignition and the amount of traffic it is constant all night and day.  Johannesburg is another on, with the constant, police, fire-engines and ambulances, then add the gun shots, drunken brawling from the shabeens (illegal drinking places) to that melee.

I swear that all my neighbors must have Stetsom Evolution amplifiers with 500W RMS output hooked up to 6 ft. tall speaker towers.

One plays Sertaneja (country) music all day long, another plays Forró day and night and yet a third plays Christian music cranked up to max volume.

You know, even music you like can be a pain in the ass sometimes!!!

You really need to go to China sometime.  I think it might adjust some of your superlatives.

I'll take a pass on that Hailey. It's bad enough here thanks. I'll take your word that it's worse there since we're "buds" and you're there and I'm not you've got a better perspective of the lay of the land.

xxx ooo

I've never been to Brazil, so I can't say that it's worse.  But I know that it's a lot worse than anything most Americans or Canadians are used to.

When I arrived here, a small -ish sized town in Rondônia (aka the middle of nowhere), I thought I would be living in a quiet town... No such luck. We were in a house in a street corner, downtown, with publicity truck and motorcycle passing on both sides and stopping at the corner all day long. At night some random idiot would pass by the street with his car stereo blasting some music in the middle of the night... Of course it's so hot here all the time that we leave our windows open at all times. So I couldn't sleep without my earplugs.

Sadly I have been unable to find a new pair in any pharmacy over here. The Brazilian clerks could not understand why I would need them !

They wouldn't ever understand, since they're immune to noise and in fact have absolute trauma of silence. Regarding earplugs (bloqueadores de som) you might want to try a construction materials shop, they usually sell them for construction workers.

Actually my hubby who is Brazilian finds it pretty noisy too, but then after so many years in Canada where we felt like yelling "where is everybody!!!???" (ha ha), we were bound to have a culture shock. Even in a more "civilized" part of Brazil ! :lol:
(Construction shop, yeah that's an idea)

@James Morning James.

I am an autistic business owner who lives in Sao Paulo. It is absolute HELL for me here. I totally feel you, and if you are not autistic and cannot stand the noise, can you imagine how it is for an autistic person?

I have been living here for over 10 years now and my husband and I have finally decided to move to the country side in hopes of a quieter life. I spent a fortune on headphones, and earbuds and all kinds of equipment in hopes of blocking out the hellish daily sound to no avail.

James, welcome to Brazil. Brazilians in general (not all of them of course) are noisy, selfish and do not care AT ALL if their noise or their party bothers others. They will NOT turn down the sound and this includes bars, churches, private parties and concerts. I tried several times to talk to a neighbor who was making my life hell, to no avail. She wanted to fight me physically after I complained more than once.

Sao Paulo is getting worse as the city seems to have no limits to the amount of music festivals in the middle of the city in open spaces. James, the police do not care and do not want to be bothered with that silly noise violation law. Here we live in a 6th world country so don´t expect the law to work. I read in the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper that the sound decibel level at these parties is WAY above what is permitted to be safe, but the city does not care and no one does anything about it. All these rich people were complaining in Ibirapuera that the open-air music festivals were so loud that their apartments were vibrating, yet nothing has been done to solve the problem. So, you should think about moving. Or spend thousands of dollars trying to sound proof your home (and I do mean be prepared to spend thousands if not tens of thousands).

I teach a lot of students James. One guy is a judge and he explained that it is not that the criminal justice system does not work. It is that the LAWS need to be changed. There are shocking things here in Brazil that until today I cannot accept. He told me for instance that if a teenager commits a Columbine type school shooting, nothing would really happen to him because he is a minor. He will go to a juvie jail for a few years and then probably get out, without ever going to adult prison and he will have his criminal record cleared when he is 18 because by law because under the Brazilian penal code, minors cannot be held accountable for things they do before they are 18. Can you believe that one? I couldn´t and I asked a bunch of my lawyer students and they told me the same thing. No life sentences. The maximum for a Brazilian adult even in brutal, pre-meditated murders, rapes and shootings is 30 years. They can be sentenced to more, but they always get out by less than 30 years. So, if the law treats murderers like this. Do not expect much to be done about the sound problem. Move James. Move. 6th world country.


04/26/23 Good morning Devorah.  This thread has been inactive since 2014, and James died in 2016.  The thread was revived yesterday by a troll (whose post was deleted), and I requested that it be locked, which hasn't happened yet. 

Hello Devorah,

Kindly note that you have commented on a thread that was last active in 2014!

I advise you to participate in more active threads on the Brazil forum.


Yoginee team