An Australian woman who was admitted to the hospital for tonsillectomy woke up eight days later to find that she now has an "Irish" accent.
Angie Msien was singing in the shower when she first noticed the change. Since then, she has been documenting her impressions of a strange condition: Foreign Accent Syndrome.
"I woke up this morning. I didn’t do anything else, I had breakfast. I didn’t talk to my neighbors because they’d already gone. I took a shower, and I usually sing when I shower, listening to songs, and suddenly I’m talking to Irish. I can't shake it off. I just had an interview for a job with an Irish accent even though I've never been to Ireland."
Over the next few weeks, her accent changed, becoming less pronounced and "thick". On the second day of her ordeal, she found her voice normal.
"I woke up this morning and spoke with an Australian accent, I called one of my friends and confirmed that my Australian accent was back - but during the phone call, in about five to ten minutes, she saw my Australian accent turn back into Irish, "she said on the second day of the change of accent.
“I don’t know what to do, it’s something completely different. I don’t even try, I’m in complete shock … I thought it would pass when I woke up this morning.”
"I definitely agree that my accent is still terrible. It's called foreign accent syndrome. I share this phenomenon with people to raise public awareness of foreign accent syndrome, its serious neurological consequences and pathology that can change someone's life."
Foreign accent syndrome is extremely rare, with only about 100 people in the world diagnosed with this strange condition. In most cases, this occurs after a traumatic head injury or stroke, which damages the areas of the brain that are responsible for speech. Often this condition is not permanent and will go away, for example, as you recover from a stroke.
Msien wants to make an appointment with a neurologist to find out the reason for the change in his voice, but for now he is considering the possibility of undergoing speech therapy.