Australian woman wakes up with Irish accent after tonsil surgery

Angie Yen.
She says the discovery came about 10 days after tonsil surgery. Photo credit: Angie Yen/TikTok

An Australian woman woke up two weeks ago to find she's now got an Irish accent, she claims.

Angie Yen says the discovery came about 10 days after tonsil surgery when she was singing in the shower and noticed her voice sounded different.

Yen, a dentist from Brisbane, says she was shocked - given she's never been to Ireland and has no Irish relatives.

"I was singing notes that I didn't think I could hit before, even though my throat was quite sore," she told 7 News. 

Yen believes she may have foreign accent syndrome (FAS) - an extremely rare condition that causes people to randomly start speaking with an altered accent, according to Healthline. It's usually caused by brain damage, a stroke, or a head injury.

But Yen is unsure how she may have developed the syndrome given she hasn't had a brain injury or stroke - and she's not convinced her tonsil surgery caused it.

"If it's got to do with the surgery itself, this should have popped up straight away but, it didn't," she told 7 News.

Yen has been using TikTok to talk about her condition and raise awareness.

Language impairment specialist and speech therapist Lyndsey Nickels, from Macquarie University in Sydney, told pathologists and speech therapists can treat FAS.

"They have expertise in this area and will work on improving speech movement and coordination to regain accuracy of speech sounds.

"Many people will also get some spontaneous improvement soon after the injury too," Prof Nickels told the news website.