Australian dentist woke up after op with strange Irish accent she’s still got

An Australian dentist said she started speaking with an Irish accent shortly after undergoing tonsil surgery – despite never having visited the country.

Angie Yen's life – and voice – changed following the routine procedure in April last year.

The 29-year-old originally from Taiwan moved to Brisbane when she was eight but noticed she'd suddenly lost her Australian twang while singing in the shower.

Now she's documented her vocal transformation a year on, with her plight even going viral on TikTok.

Angie told 7News: "I still have a light American and Northern Irish lilt. It gets thicker when I’m stressed, tired or rundown.

"I still struggle to pronounce words sometimes in my professional life as a dentist – embarrassing at times, people struggle to understand what I'm saying and I get frustrated being asked to repeat myself."

Angie was 10 days into her recovery from the tonsillectomy when, while singing in the shower, she noticed her voice sounded dramatically different.

But after going to see the doctor, she said she was initially fobbed off.

"I was dismissed, laughed at, mocked but got no answers as to why I sounded like this. It was so crazy and bizarre," she said.

She was referred to an ear nose and throat specialist and later diagnosed with Foreign Accent Syndrome – a rare brain disorder typically triggered by a head injury, stroke or surgery.

However over a year later and her accent still "hasn't completely reverted back".

Angie, who has never visited Ireland nor does she have any Irish heritage, said: "I had no idea this could happen overnight to people…It’s bizarre as I never had speech issues despite English being my second language and I grew up here in Australia."

Angie now faces the "long-term challenge of accepting her new accent, voice and identity" and is sharing her journey on social media to raise awareness as only around 150 people across the globe have been affected by the condition since the first known case in 1907.

She said: "I had no idea how sounding different could change someone’s life for the worst. It's a poorly documented condition with no cure.

"After going viral, I had people from all over the world reach out to me saying how they were glad they finally found another person who has this isolating and rare condition and they felt validated."

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