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#117 Quiet Concerts

Posted May 16th, 2009 by Peter · 8 Comments

If you’ve ever read our post on Asians being loud (#32 Speaking Loudly), you’ll definitely find this one an anomaly. My sister and I, while at the ServiceAsia Awareness Concert, noticed a familiar signal all the older asian men and women were giving. It reminded us of a wave of children taunting us with their hands plugged into their ears. On second thought, maybe the music was just too loud for them. That’s why this week’s post is #117 Quiet Concerts.


Before you read anything, I personally invite you to test your hearing level by clicking on the play button:

More from Corey at Myxer

Hear anything? If you did, your hearing is that of a 24 old (or younger).

When I play this noise for asians; some young, mostly old, they squeal and pray for me to stop. How is this even possible, you ask? Article 32 shows that Asians (moms especially) have no need for calling cards when they’re trying to reach family and friends overseas. Furthermore, they seemingly break the sound barrier every time they yell at their children for not getting As (as opposed to an A-minuses) or for making mistakes at their music recitals (notice how I said seemingly). Why would they care about a little loud rock music? Better yet, if their ears are so used to this loud noise; why are they covering them at concerts?


The StraitTimes brings up this phenomenon in a news article titled “Four Asian Divas Live concert too loud for the audience.” On the discussion board, Asians who attended the concert confess:

I don’t go anywhere in Singapore without earplugs. I’m serious. They take no space at all, and you often need them in bars, cinemas, dinner and dance events… Invaluable. One shouldn’t have to, but it puts me in control. Unfortunately, those behind the deck often think that louder is always better.”

Smu012 – adds, “I thought I was the only one who brings earplugs with me. I always have to use them in cinemas which are too loud for comfort. For those readers out there who think people using earplugs are oversensitive, I suggest they have their hearing tested in a sound lab. They may not discover that they could be partially deaf. Better do it earlier than later.”

earplugs_fullIn fact, many asians already sport their ear plugs before they go to potentially loud events: “My hair just happens to cover my ears so my friends have told me I am lucky as I don’t have to think about the earplugs showing.”

The Asian Care Center sheds more light on this habit. According to them, the average asian can withstand up to about 95 db of sound before it gets dangerous. The average Asian parent, at their loudest (nagging territory), reaches only about 90 dB (and I use the word “only” conservatively). In contrast, a loud rock concert shatters the barrier and thrusts their virgin ears into about the 115 dB territory, the equivalent of a sandblaster (with a maximum exposure time of 15 minutes before hearing damage occurs). For every 15 minutes someone attends a rock concert, they lose about 1/20th of their hearing capacity. Note: That ringing noise is the sound of your ear cells dying after being annihilated by loud noises.


Asians don’t cite hearing damage as the only reason, though. As you can recall, Asian nagging and yelling tops at 90 decibels. Do you know what an Asian person hates more than listening to 90 decibel noise? It’s listening to something louder than that. It’s quite simple: Loud noises bring back repressed memories of childhood spankings and letter grade-lectures. Being about 20dB on average louder, though, a rock concert would be like having two moms yelling at you at the same time. Let’s keep asians from having mental relapses by lowering the sound levels a bit.

Do you want to try hearing that noise again?

More from Corey at Myxer

If your mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandma or grandpa have ever covered their ears during a loud event or concert, know that you are not alone. Asians everywhere cover their ears without embarrassment due to long hair, fear of hearing loss, and a fear of bad grades. They also want to be able to hear this “Mosquito Ring Tone” noise as well (well, not really… but I have to tie it into the article somehow). Remember, Stuff Asian People Like will continue to bring you the latest and breaking asian stereotypes and habits all summer long. Tune in next week for an earlier post (wednesday-thursday now that finals are over). I can’t believe my first year of college is finally over!

Peter Nguyen
Stuff Asian People Like

P.S. Keep the submissions coming! We’re always in need of contributions. Thank you!

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Tags: People

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 kvietgrl // May 17, 2009 at 2:40 am

    is there a “Like” button for this article? are you sure parents scolding is only at 90 db…to me it always feels like more, id sit through 115 db, forsake my privilege to hear the mosquito ringing sound, anyday than experience nagging. i simply melt at any sound of nagging now…no matter at any volume…it’s usually at moderately high volumes though.

  • 2 Anonymous // May 19, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Is it weird that my sound woke my mom up (and I got yelled at, haha)? She’s 46 or so.

  • 3 blissfulting // Jun 25, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    Hmm…is that a picture of a Show Luo concert? It just really looks like one from his Cruel Stage concerts. And I’m a big Show fan :)

  • 4 Ali // Jun 29, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Parent’s scolding always makes your ears ring. haha.

  • 5 amanda // Jul 1, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    eh, im asian and i LOVE loud music & going to concerts

  • 6 got-rice // Oct 11, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    No wonder I hated going to the Green Day concert…can’t deal with the fireworks either, which were shot literally in front of the pit we were in.

  • 7 huu // Jul 13, 2010 at 10:46 pm

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  • 8 Girl Here // Aug 5, 2011 at 2:11 am

    I would go to a concert IF: people didn’t scream or shout so loud during a song. Sing along please or STFU and listen. A few shouts or woo’s here and there wouldn’t be a bother. They cheer after the song is done, but not DURING it… that’ll never happen. UGH.

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