Brisbane woman wakes up with Irish accent after tonsil surgery
When Angie Yen woke up on April 28, it felt like just another morning.
But when the 27-year-old dentist got in the shower and started singing — something she always did — she was shocked by the sound she heard.
Instead of her normal Aussie accent, Ms Yen was stunned to hear a “foreign accent” that “sounds very Irish”.
“When I started singing I was singing in a different sound and also talking words in a funny accent,” the Brisbane woman told news.com.au.
Panicked, she phoned one of her friends who was in equal disbelief at Ms Yen’s sudden accent change.
“He was the one who actually told me and sent me links later about foreign accent syndrome (FAS) ... "
Fearing she had — or was about to — have a stroke (a possible cause of FAS), Ms Yen went to hospital that day.
But because she was showing no other signs of illness she was discharged and told to go home and rest.
“They couldn’t do anything, I was normal. I just sounded different and (they said), ‘you’re still healing from your surgery so maybe your vocal cords are damaged’,” she said.
On April 19 Ms Yen had gotten her tonsils removed – a simple procedure that had taken just half an hour.
Her ear, nose and throat specialist also suggested Ms Yen wait to see if her voice change disappeared on its own.
But as the days wore on, Ms Yen said her new accent didn’t go away, leaving her friends and family in disbelief. ...
What is foreign accent syndrome?
“Foreign accent syndrome is when someone suddenly develops what is perceived to be a foreign accent,” Professor Lyndsey Nickels, a speech therapist and language impairment specialist at Sydney’s Macquarie University, told news.com.au.
“This is despite the person having never necessarily having spoken that particular foreign language, never necessarily having spent time abroad, nor having mixed with people with that foreign accent.”
Prof Nickels, who is not treating Ms Yen, said she had never heard of an instance where tonsil surgery caused FAS. ...