A WOMAN who lost her ability to speak after a mystery brain injury is now talking – but with four different accents!
Emily Egan, originally from Essex, had been suffering from headaches before the problem left her unable to speak.
The problem started one day when she was at work at a children’s home she manages in Bournemouth. She had been suffering from headaches for two weeks before her voice suddenly went very deep. Emily then started to slur her speech, a typical sign of a stroke, she also spoke very slowly after that.
Emily was rushed to hospital and immediately underwent extensive CT and MRI scans, after the results were in doctors ruled out a stroke, but were left mystified when they realised Emily had lost the ability to speak completely during her hospital stay.
Finally, in March 2020, and after further tests conducted during the coronavirus crisis, Emily was diagnosed with foreign accent syndrome – a rare speech disorder caused by brain damage. Emily switches from her own Essex accent to Italian, a little bit of Polish, and when stressed, Russian!
Emily described her experience to her followers on Facebook: “This whole experience has been exhausting and totally overwhelming,” Emily said. “It’s not just my accent that has changed – I don’t speak or think in the same way as before this and I can’t construct sentences like I used to.
“I write differently now, my whole vocabulary has changed and my English has gotten worse despite living in the UK all of my life. My dad has said that I don’t sound like me any more in that he’d never imagined me wording things like I do now.
“I’ve even experienced abuse from strangers who think I am foreign – I had a man shout at me in the supermarket saying foreigners like me are the reason we have coronavirus. It’s changed my life completely.”
Emily said: “I’m an Essex girl normally – my accent was really strong and my voice was very high pitched and really recognisable, people always knew it was me calling. On holiday, I started making sounds like a deaf person trying to talk – it is thought that the neuropathways had started to open as my body had completely relaxed.
“By the time I was home, the words were sounding like a foreign language. I was so thrilled when my voice started coming back, but now I don’t even recognise the voice that comes out of my mouth, it doesn’t sound like me.
“I actually used to be so good at putting on accents for my friends before this and I’ve even had people ask if I’m putting it on – as if I could keep it up this long!”