Foreign Accent Syndrome: Woman With Headache Wakes Up With British Accent

15 February, 2018, 02:02 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • PA Real Life Michelle Myers Cropped

Myers said the accent issue has come up three times in the past seven years.

She's gone from an American English accent to speaking with an Irish, Australian and even a British accent, local United States media reports.

Speaking to ABC Arizona about her rare condition, Myers said: "They send in the psychiatrist at the hospital and make sure you're not a loon".

Meyers wants to make clear she's not faking it or insane.

Rather than picking up the accent while studying overseas, the mum of seven suffers from a rare medical condition diagnosed as Foreign Accent Syndrome - a condition usually associated with neurological damage.

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"I don't know. I just feel that people don't really understand how it feels to have your voice changed", Myers said in an interview.

She has also been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which causes bruising and painful joints, and, for the time being, it's also turned her British.

She's loves spending time with her seven kids, listening to them sing and play instruments.

Myers's situation is especially peculiar since her accent doesn't sound like a speech disruption-on the contrary, it comes across as quite refined. The disorder typically occurs after strokes or traumatic brain injuries damage the language centre of a person's brain - to the degree that their native language sounds like it is tinged with a foreign accent, according to the Center for Communication Disorders at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Meyers told ABC that she has had a busy medical history, with regular visits to the hospital and a stack of medical records stocked at home.

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Because this is such a rare condition, treatments are also lacking. She's been speaking the foreign accent since then. It is usually linked to a stroke or neurological trauma or impairment.

She continued: "At first, they thought I was just joking around, because I am a amusing person". She felt like a different person and it took her some time to define her identity. After about a week it seemed to correct itself on its own, but months later another headache brought about an Australian accent.

In Myers' case, she woke up sounding like she spoke British English, as opposed to the American English she has spoken all her life.

"In the cases of psychosis, the new accent persists throughout the entire episode and may disappear after the psychotic episode subsides", the authors of a 2015 case report identifying a 34-year-old woman who had symptoms of FAS and schizophrenia wrote.

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