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Woman Who Went Mute Now Speaks With Four Different Accents

Amelia Ward

| Last updated 

Woman Who Went Mute Now Speaks With Four Different Accents

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

A woman who was mute for two months after suffering a mystery brain injury has got her voice back, but she now speaks in four different accents.


Emily Egan, 31, had doctors confused when after countless tests, they still couldn't explain why she had lost the ability to speak.

But when she began to talk again, they were even more confused when she had lost her Essex accent and now spoke in broken English, with mostly a Polish twang.

Her voice can also suddenly change to French and Italian as well.

When she is stressed she can become Russian, and sometimes she can't speak at all when she is tired.

She's finally been diagnosed with 'foreign accent syndrome' - a rare speech disorder which is caused by brain damage.

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

At first, doctors suspected she'd had a stroke, but it was ruled out and they believe her speech disorder was caused by brain damage - but don't yet know what caused it

Emily said: "This whole experience has been exhausting and totally overwhelming.

"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 imagine 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."

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

Emily had been suffering from headaches for two weeks before her voice suddenly deepened while she was working at the children's home she manages in Bournemouth in January 2020.

Her speech rapidly became slow and slurred - a key indication of a stroke - so Emily was rushed to hospital where she underwent extensive CT and MRI scans.

She was discharged to a neurologist after three weeks in hospital but still without a voice, and communicated solely through an app on her phone.

Emily and her partner Bradleigh, 27, had booked a holiday to Thailand before she fell ill and her neurologist encouraged her to take the trip and try to relax as much as possible.

Five days into her holiday in March 2020, Emily slowly began to speak again but with great difficulty and she said she 'sounded deaf'.


Her voice slowly grew stronger as the days passed but Emily was shocked when she realised she had developed an Eastern European accent.

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.

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

"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!"

Since her diagnosis, Emily has been having private vocal therapy once a week over Zoom but there is no indication if she will ever regain her normal accent.

Topics: UK News

Amelia Ward
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